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Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2006 02:32 pm

Jacksonville’s Scott Maruna tells tales of central Illinois

I once had a political-science professor who believed that air conditioning had destroyed the fabric of our society. Before air conditioning, he said, people spent summer nights sitting outdoors on st...
Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006 04:00 pm

New novel tells the controversial First Lady’s story

Mary, a new novel by Janis Cooke Newman, gives Mary Todd Lincoln the opportunity to tell her turbulent life story in a voice that rings true to her bold and unconventional persona. There’s no s...
Thursday, June 15, 2006 09:12 pm

Historical novel about Mary Todd Lincoln among titles you’ll be hearing about

If you like books, if you really like books — if you are the kind of person whose books overrun your house, whose book budget exceeds your food budget, the kind of person who can spend...
Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006 09:48 am

There’s a new kid in town and his name is creative nonfiction.

I used to work in a library, and the person I most envied there was the cataloger. She got to see all of the new books first and decide where they would reside in the cozy confines of the De...
Thursday, Nov. 10, 2005 09:38 am

The story of Mary Todd Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln knew a lot of grief. Her mother died when she was 6. She lost three of her four children and was sitting beside her husband the night he was assassinated. When I picture he...
Thursday, Oct. 27, 2005 04:09 pm

Latest by Martha Miller revives tales of Springfield’s fabled seedy section

Martha Miller’s new book, Tales from the Levee, has its origins in interviews Miller conducted with the lesbians and drag queens who frequented a district of Springfield now vanished i...
Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005 11:58 pm

Lola Lucas has been chronicling the ups and downs of Enos Park since the early '90s

It took a broken leg to get Lola Lucas moving on her book A Home in the Park: Loving a Neighborhood Back to Life, a collection of columns originally published in the Banner, the newslet...
Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005 02:37 pm

Springfield poet takes us to another time and space

I once caught a whiff of a wet woolen overcoat. Before you could say “Sister Mary Magdalene,” I was transported to the winter of 1956 and a grade-school ...
Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005 01:41 am

How to search for "the soul of kindness"

Call me cantankerous, but I didn’t want to like Field Notes on the Compassionate Life. Sure that in the background I was hearing strains from the ’60s musical Hair, I wondere...
Thursday, Aug. 11, 2005 08:01 am

Noir is a travelogue with a twisted sense of humor

Chicago Noir isn’t about a newspaper, although after reading it I kept thinking of the old riddle “What’s black and white and red all over?” The stage sets in th...

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