Category: Reading

Viewing Atticus through today’s eyes

To Kill a Mockingbird has long been my favorite book. I’ve become less vocal about it, however, as Atticus Finch, the white lawyer who defends a Black man falsely accused of raping a white woman in 1930s Alabama, is reevaluated through modern sensibilities.  The hero has been taken down from his pedestal. Critics on the... Read more »

Chicago history in small doses

Being a Chicago Greeter and curious about where I live, I regularly try to learn more about the city. A recently published book, Greg Borzo’s A History Lover’s Guide to Chicago, is a treasure trove of information. If you’re not into reading history, don’t be turned off by that word in the title. A History... Read more »

Reading the book after watching the adaptation

All Creatures Great and Small topped WTTW’s viewers poll this year. No surprise there. Everyone I know who watched the series loved it. We’re looking forward to two more seasons on Masterpiece — it has been renewed through 2024 — and maybe more.  The series is the latest adaptation of James Herriot’s eight books about... Read more »
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Shed the mask, get a cold

Illinois lifted its mask mandate on February 28. On March 9 I came down with a cold. Guess I’m being punished for support of lifting the mandate — although masks were intended as protection against COVID-19, not a cold. (A COVID test was negative.) Although scientists have not come to a consensus about masks’ effectiveness... Read more »

So what if I’m a middlebrow?

A couple of novels my book group recently read have me thinking about my preference for plain, direct writing. The latest was Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, a semi-autobiographical novel by a gay Vietnamese immigrant in the guise of a letter to his illiterate mother. Widely praised by critics, On Earth We’re Briefly... Read more »

Mr. Darcy, step aside for Henry Tilney

Fans of Jane Austen, who is your favorite Austen hero? The repentant Darcy, the honorable Knightley, the gallant Wentworth? Did you think of Henry Tilney? He is overlooked because Northanger Abbey, a spoof of the gothic novel, is not usually ranked near the top among Austen’s novels. As I embark on a rereading of the... Read more »
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A reader’s observations about the Alden-owned Tribune

I kept my daily subscription after the Chicago Tribune was acquired in late May by hedge fund Alden Global Capital, known for decimating newsrooms. Here’s what I’ve noticed about the paper since then: • There are more op-eds from outside contributors, filling space previously taken by Tribune writers. Longtime columnists like Eric Zorn and Mary... Read more »

Growing up with ComEd

With the recent announcement that coal-fired power plants in Waukegan and Romeoville would be shut down in 2022, only four Illinois plants that burn coal to generate electricity remain without closing dates. Gov. J. B. Pritzker is bent on phasing out all coal-generated plants by 2035. Good riddance, of course. Coal pollution damages lungs and... Read more »

What vegetarians eat needn’t be mystifying

I heard a woman say that she was a vegetarian until her husband got tired of eating salads every day. “I could, but he couldn’t,” she commented.  Assuming she meant salads as a main dish, I was surprised. Did she not know about options, from meatless variations of popular dishes to fake meats? Did she... Read more »
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Book group takes on a GAN

You’ve probably heard of the Great American Novel. (Yes, it’s capitalized, and some people even use the acronym GAN.) With my turn coming up to suggest a few novels for our book group to choose from, I looked at books that have been thought worthy of the title.  From visiting a half-dozen websites, I learned... Read more »