Skip to main content
Updating results

Illinois

A decade ago the playwright Sarah Ruhl gave birth to twins and lost her smile, all at once. She was still in the maternity ward when her expression stuck, then wouldn’t unstick. “My smile walked off my face,” that’s how she puts it in her new memoir, “Smile: The Story of a Face” (Simon & Schuster, $27), easily one of the best things I’ve read this year. She developed Bell’s palsy, which ...

"Voices From the Pandemic: Americans Tell Their Stories of Crisis, Courage and Resilience" by Eli Saslow; Doubleday (240 pages, $27) ——— "Voices From the Pandemic" is an eerie reading experience: It seems both painfully immediate and an account of a past we’ve already started to forget. The book’s 27 interviews with a wide range of Americans were conducted during the first year of the ...

CHICAGO — Samira Ahmed once owned a golden ball. It was actually rubber with gold-colored flecks, but for the sake of storytelling, picture a gold ball, magic, one of a kind. Certainly, she liked to believe this. Her parents planted a grove of lilac trees in their backyard in Batavia and Samira would roll her golden orb between the trunks, opening a portal into strange worlds. Think Narnia, “A ...

FICTION: Religious idealism confronts a fractured family in Jonathan Franzen's sprawling new novel. "Crossroads" by Jonathan Franzen; Farrar, Straus & Giroux (592 pages, $28) ——— Even with God on their side, the Hildebrandt family at the center of Jonathan Franzen's intermittently powerful new novel are far from redeemed. They live in the Chicago suburb of New Prospect, which despite its name ...

CHICAGO — I told my editor I wanted to start a weekly column about reading and that I wanted to begin with Ray Bradbury and Gene Wolfe. Not because they’re science fiction legends and I’m a committed sci-fi reader — more like an enthusiastic toe-dipper. Not because they are sons of Illinois — Bradbury’s from Waukegan and Wolfe’s from Peoria. Not even because handsome new editions of their ...

CHICAGO — Sandra Cisneros, at 66, firmly ensconced on Chicago’s literary Mount Rushmore, hasn’t lived in Chicago in ages. Not since she made a young, bold splash. If that doesn’t make you feel old, consider: “The House on Mango Street,” her signature, so routinely assigned to students now it’s practically a middle-school textbook, marks its 40th anniversary in a few years. What had once read ...

Poet Amanda Gorman had her sights set on the White House long before it tapped her to help inaugurate President Joe Biden. Her own presidential aspirations started when she was just a hair into her second decade. “I remember being around 11 years old, and I was in class talking very passionately as I do about things I wanted to change in the world,” the nation’s first youth poet laureate, 23, ...

CHICAGO — Dawn Turner describes the Bronzeville of the 1970s as neither here nor there, as an electric, crumbling nexus, that rare Chicago neighborhood where circumstance and destiny could go either way. She grew up here, in this “cradle” of the Great Migration, once the home of both Ida B. Wells and Richard Wright, arguably still the “epicenter of Black business and culture” in Chicago, a ...

FICTION: A Pulitzer Prize winner returns with a robust if uneven novel that encapsulates the American Century. "Late City" by Robert Olen Butler; Atlantic Monthly Press (290 pages, $27) ——— We know this man: From George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" to the ailing documentarian in Russell Banks' "Foregone," he flashes back over the arc of his life when staring down the barrel of mortality. ...

  • Updated
  • 1 min to read

These decadently rich au gratin potatoes reflect the symmetry between the acclaimed chef Carlos Gaytán’s Mexican heritage and his French culinary technique which he brings to the table at Chicago’s Tzuco.

Here she comes again. Country music star Dolly Parton, who’s starred in hit films “Steel Magnolias” and “9 to 5″ and helped fund the Moderna vaccine, is adding author to her impressive resume. The multi-talented, national treasure announced Wednesday she had teamed up with writer James Patterson to pen “Run, Rose, Run” which is fittingly set in Tennessee and tells the story of a singer who ...

During the season finale of “Saturday Night Live” in May, Cecily Strong climbed into a large clear cube marked “boxed wine” and belted Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” lowering herself triumphantly into a pool of red wine as the song crescendoed. She was playing Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro, a frequent highlight of “Weekend Update,” sloshing her booze onto co-anchor Colin Jost while rat-a-tat-tating ...

"Clark and Division" opens with an arresting image of its narrator’s birth in the 1920s. Her older sister, 3-year-old Rose, was so eager for the new baby that she wriggled past the midwife trying to aid the breech delivery and, as “the first one to see an actual body part of mine, yanked my slimy foot good and hard.” Aki Ito, the narrator of Naomi Hirahara’s new historical novel, repays the ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alert