iOS app Android app


College Friends Home On Break? Drink This In

Patrick O'Connor | Posted 02.16.2014 | College
Patrick O'Connor

In 30 years as a college counselor, I've never talked with a student or former student about this issue. I guess that's why I wanted to write this column.

Book of the Year: Ashes Rain Down by William Luvaas: Love Stories in the Time of Climate Change

Jeff Biggers | Posted 02.16.2014 | Books
Jeff Biggers

William Luvaas' brilliant new collection of short stories, Ashes Rain Down: A Story Cycle, is a wildly inventive and epic comedy of prophetic visions, and a masterpiece of fiction for our own modern times.

The Ones Who Don't Stay / Los Que No Se Quedan

Soldanela Rivera | Posted 02.10.2014 | Books
Soldanela Rivera

The Ones Who Don't Stay, Paola Mendoza's first novel is a beautiful coming of age story filled with melodic prose, elegant metaphors and a bounty of breathtaking corners of wisdom. Paola brings to life a series of women and imparts each one with depth and sensibility.

In the Shadow of War

Beverly Gologorsky | Posted 02.09.2014 | Books
Beverly Gologorsky

For at least a decade, Americans have been living in the shadow of war and yet, except in pop fiction of the Tom Clancy variety (where, in the end, we always win), there's remarkably little evidence of it.

We Don't Need Your Stories: President Obama and Sensationalizing Surveillance

Deji Olukotun | Posted 02.08.2014 | Books
Deji Olukotun

Whether or not NSA employees themselves are "interested" in reading text messages does not change the fact that they can, and the checks and balances that should in principle limit their ability to do so have failed to work.

When Authors Create Title Characters of the Opposite Sex

Dave Astor | Posted 02.04.2014 | Books
Dave Astor

Do women write the best novels starring women? Do men write the best novels starring men? In many cases, yes. But while there's a lot to be said for "living the gender," there are also some great literary works featuring title characters who are the opposite sex of the author.

The Nightmare of a New Novel

Mark Rubinstein | Posted 01.26.2014 | Books
Mark Rubinstein

Once I barge past that initial feeling of immobilization, the writing assumes its own energy. Many things emerge. They seem to come from some deep mental recess. The experience can seem like a mystifying, dreamlike process, or even a strange form of magic.

For Some Authors, What's Love Got to Do With It?

Dave Astor | Posted 01.25.2014 | Books
Dave Astor

A very frequent fiction theme is "boy meets girl." But some past and present novelists don't pay a lot of attention to romance in their most famous books.

Confession Contamination in Cook County: Demonizing Youth in False Confession Narratives

Steve Drizin | Posted 01.25.2014 | Chicago
Steve Drizin

In Cook County's juvenile false confession cases, police officers and prosecutors have taken confession contamination to a new level. Not only did they feed facts to suspects, they scripted entire narratives for them.


Kristin Meekhof | Posted 01.25.2014 | Books
Kristin Meekhof

Margot has a compulsive fixation in being non-Jewish. She obsessively worries that someone will notice her arm, tattooed by the Nazis, so she literally with a sweater, keeps herself under wraps. The sweater serves as a thin veil to keep her apart from others.

Déjà Vu Can Happen to You

Dave Astor | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Dave Astor

Ever read something in a novel and feel you've read something similar in a novel by a different author? I'm not talking about plagiarism, but a variation on a scene or theme.

A Ghost Story: Philly's Bishop Francis Kenrick Revisits the Scene of AntiCatholic Riots

Thom Nickels | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Thom Nickels

I, Bishop Francis Patrick Kenrick, was blessed with a fine clerical career. In my hometown of Dublin, I was selected, at age 18, to study in Rome. In Rome I spent many summers reading on the Spanish Steps and praying in St. Peter's.

A Book Itself Is a Little Machine: Emily Short's Interactive Fiction (Part 2)

Illya Szilak | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Illya Szilak

Interactive fiction makes the game-like quality of language overt. In this, it shares an affinity with poetry and with political rhetoric.

19 Tips to Keep Your Writing Career in High Gear

Tom Lowery | Posted 12.31.2013 | Business
Tom Lowery

Anyone who's a writer will tell you it does have advantages but can be tough. For many, the challenges are nearly insurmountable. Whether an author of books, articles or a blog, the best of us embrace those challenges and allow them to shape us.

A Book Itself Is a Little Machine: Emily Short's Interactive Fiction

Illya Szilak | Posted 12.30.2013 | Books
Illya Szilak

When I was first approached to write a piece about interactive fiction (IF), my first thought was of a bunch of geeky teenage boys playing text versions of Dungeons and Dragons on their computers in a moldy rec-room.

The Value of Reading Novels

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Powerful novels demand that we slow down and process how we are creating and destroying in our lives. The rabbis taught that amidst so much destructive behavior we must stop and reflect upon the world we exist in.

Another-Chance-at-Love Literature

Dave Astor | Posted 12.25.2013 | Books
Dave Astor

I'm partial to novels featuring characters getting another chance at love. Those protagonists may or may not do better in their next relationship, but at least the "happily ever after" potential can put a smile on a reader's face.


Jana Lee Frazier | Posted 01.23.2014 | Good News
Jana Lee Frazier

It is October and I am enthralled with fall, with black cats and cauldrons and crystal balls. I close my eyes but I do not see the future swirling in the mist. Only the past.

The Bad Guys

Derek Sherman | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Derek Sherman

I don't mean to blow the ending of your book or movie for you, but it's very possible that the villain is a drug company. In today's entertainment, they are the bad guys.

Neil Gaiman Tells Us Why Our Future Depends on Reading

Denise Cummins, Ph.D. | Posted 12.17.2013 | Impact
Denise Cummins, Ph.D.

A crucial issue was how to project the number of prisoners in 10-15 years. As it turns out, there was a simple algorithm for that: What percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds currently cannot read? "And certainly couldn't read for pleasure," he added.

The Violent Life of a Crime-thriller Writer

Mark Rubinstein | Posted 12.14.2013 | Books
Mark Rubinstein

The potential for violence lives within all of us, and I'm no exception. Violence in my novels is contrived--it's pure fiction--but reflects a core truth about human nature. It's never meant to be gratuitous, but rather serves the story.

Kevin Barry. Read Him.

Anne Margaret Daniel | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Anne Margaret Daniel

Two books positively straining at their bindings are in your local bookstore right now; pick them up, and you'll be glad you did.

Jungle Beat: Alice's Fantasy and Tragedy

Barbara Fahs | Posted 01.23.2014 | Hawaii
Barbara Fahs

Alice hung herself today. I didn't know her well -- in fact, I met her just once, at her home on Mango Grove Road in Hawaii. But her story moved me.

On Teaching the Work of Alice Munro

Daniel Pena | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Daniel Pena

Alice Munro's writing, like all great writing, teaches us to be human. It engages big questions in small spaces: What does it mean to be regional? What does it mean to be Canadian? What does it mean to be a mother? What does it mean to be betrayed?

Fictional Characters We'd Hate to Meet

Dave Astor | Posted 01.23.2014 | Books
Dave Astor

Among the fictional characters we might want to avoid (if they somehow came to life) are murderers, liars, hypocrites, busybodies, racists, male chauvinists, militaristic men, rotten bosses, the money-obsessed and people who are just plain boring.