WBEZ | Books http://www.wbez.org/sections/books Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Emanuel ribs Clinton over 'dead broke' comment at book tour stop http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/emanuel-ribs-clinton-over-dead-broke-comment-book-tour-stop-110328 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Hillary Rahm WBEZ Alex Keefe.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In an hourlong talk that touched on foreign policy, economics and her Chicagoland upbringing, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday still did not answer the question that has generated political speculation for months: Will she run for president in 2016?</p><p>Clinton sat down to be interviewed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for her first public appearance on a nationwide tour to plug her new book, Hard Choices. Emanuel, who had served as a top adviser to her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and was the White House Chief of Staff under President Barack Obama while Clinton was secretary of state, mostly stuck to softball questions.</p><p>But he ribbed Clinton about a controversial comment she made in a recent <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/hillary-clinton-defends-high-dollar-speaking-fees/story?id=24052962" target="_blank">ABC News interview</a>, when she said she and her family were &ldquo;dead broke&rdquo; when they left the White House.</p><p>&ldquo;&lsquo;Dead broke?&rsquo; Really?&rdquo; Emanuel asked.</p><p>&ldquo;Well that may have not been the most artful way of saying that,&rdquo; Clinton said. &ldquo;You know, Bill and I have gone through a lot of different phases in our lives. That was then, this is now. And obviously we are very fortunate.&rdquo;</p><p>Some Republicans pounced on that remark to portray Clinton, who is giving big-dollar speeches across the country, as out of touch.</p><p>She also reminisced about her time growing up in Northwest suburban Park Ridge, and visiting her father&rsquo;s downtown Chicago office at the Merchandise Mart; where, she said, she was cautioned about sticking her head too far out the window on hot days, lest a &ldquo;giant dragon&rdquo; that lived in the Chicago River snatch her up.</p><p>But the former top U.S. diplomat was not afraid to stick her neck out when it came to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Clinton said some world leaders wouldn&rsquo;t be happy to read the anecdotes in her new book, then added, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m talking to you, Vladimir.&rdquo;</p><p>Clinton later lambasted Putin for passing a law, criticized as being anti-gay, that makes it a crime to distribute &ldquo;propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations&rdquo; to children.</p><p>&ldquo;What Putin&rsquo;s doing in Russia, with all these laws against the LGBT community, that is just a cynical political ploy,&rdquo; Clinton said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve had shouting matches with top Russian officials about this.&rdquo;</p><p>Clinton also addressed Tuesday&rsquo;s surprising primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the U.S. House, suggesting Cantor lost to a more conservative candidate &ldquo;who basically ran against immigrants,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>&ldquo;The answer is not to throw out of work and deport the 11 million immigrants who are contributing already to our economy,&rdquo; Clinton said. &ldquo;The answer is to grow our economy to create more jobs.&rdquo;</p><p>Clinton did not address whether she would make a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, as is widely speculated. But she did focus on what she said were the qualities of a good leader: &ldquo;skin as thick as the hide of a rhinoceros,&rdquo; and the ability to &ldquo;make sausage&rdquo; in a political environment where compromise is sometimes a dirty word.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve always managed to do that,&rdquo; as a country, Clinton said, pointing to the constitutional amendment that ended slavery in 1865. &ldquo;Look, did it take, you know, maybe giving some people some post office jobs? It might have. But it ended slavery! That&rsquo;s a pretty good trade-off when you stop to think about it.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-629defdb-8cc4-433e-f07f-0aa043926bdd"><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/akeefe">Alex Keefe</a> is political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 11 Jun 2014 16:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/emanuel-ribs-clinton-over-dead-broke-comment-book-tour-stop-110328 Life in Northwest Indiana's steel closet http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/life-northwest-indianas-steel-closet-110264 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/steel.PNG" style="height: 470px; width: 325px; float: left;" title="" />As Illinois gears up for its first legal same-sex marriages, across the border in Indiana gay marriage is still officially banned.</p><p>Hoosiers say attitudes there are starting to soften, but some workplaces are still more closeted than others.</p><p>A new book reveals a little-known community of LGBT steelworkers who punch in every day at Northwest Indiana&rsquo;s huge steel mills.</p><p>&ldquo;Steel Closets&rdquo; by the author <a href="http://www.annebalay.com/" target="_blank">Anne Balay</a>, documents life in the macho environment of the steel mills where LGBT workers face discrimination and are often afraid to report it to the union.</p><p>Balay, a former English professor at Indiana University Northwest in Gary and the University of Illinois at Chicago, spent five years interviewing some 40 current and former steelworkers for her book.</p><p>She and retired lesbian steelworker Jan Gentry joined WBEZ&rsquo;s Michael Puente at our Crown Point bureau.&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 02 Jun 2014 10:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/life-northwest-indianas-steel-closet-110264 25 inspiring authors for writers http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-12/25-inspiring-authors-writers-109352 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" dominique="" penguin="" press="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Dominique%20Nabokov.jpg" title="Press photo for Zadie Smith, author of &quot;NW.&quot; (Dominique Nabokov/Penguin Press)" /></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The great endeavor of writing a novel, I have discovered, is equal parts exhilarating, exasperating, and exhausting. One day can bring a huge breakthrough, with ideas overflowing and fingers flying across the keyboard, while the next can amount to nothing more than a tiny black cursor blinking desperately on a blank page.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In these moments, I search for traces of kinship in the literary giants who came before me.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Did Hemingway ever struggle with writer&#39;s block when he was scribbling away in those Paris cafés? Did Salinger obsessively re-write sentences and anguish over syntax, too? Did Woolf realize her writing would continue to be read and cherished by women in the 21st century&mdash;that a lonely girl from Texas would pick up &quot;A Room of One&#39;s Own&quot; and yearn for the freedoms she described?&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Meanwhile, Buzzfeed is running a wonderful&nbsp;<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/colinwinnette/aimee-bender-there-is-such-genuine-happiness" target="_blank">interview series</a>&nbsp;on writers recalling and dissecting the books that have formed them, which prompted me to further examine which authors have had the most profound impact on my life.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">When did I realize that I wanted to be a novelist? At first, I thought it must be around the time that I first read &quot;To Kill A Mockingbird&quot; (my first classic, age 8) or &quot;Harry Potter&quot; (my first serial obsession, age 11), but then remembered a host of other novels written by authors who still feel like old friends, though we&#39;ve never met.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Turns out, I have many to thank for shaping me into the writer that I am today.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In no particular order:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>1. Zadie Smith.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;White Teeth&quot; (2000), &quot;On Beauty&quot; (2005), and &quot;NW&quot; (2013)&nbsp;</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else. 2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.&quot;&nbsp;<em>&mdash;&nbsp;</em><em>Smith, from her &quot;10 Rules of Writing&quot; published in the <a href="http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/19/zadie-smith-10-rules-of-writing/" target="_blank">New York Times</a>.</em></div></blockquote><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>2.&nbsp;Gabriel García Márquez.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;One Hundred Years of Solitude&quot; (1967) and &quot;Love in the Time of Cholera&quot; (1985)</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;If I had to give a young writer some advice I would say to write about something that has happened to him; it&rsquo;s always easy to tell whether a writer is writing about something that has happened to him or something he has read or been told. Pablo Neruda has a line in a poem that says &#39;God help me from inventing when I sing.&#39; It always amuses me that the biggest praise for my work comes for the imagination, while the truth is that there&rsquo;s not a single line in all my work that does not have a basis in reality.&quot; &mdash; <em>Márquez, interviewed for <a href="http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/3196/the-art-of-fiction-no-69-gabriel-garcia-marquez" target="_blank">The Paris Review</a> after winning the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature for &quot;One Hundred Years of Solitude.&quot;</em></div></blockquote><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>3. Nick Hornby.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Fever Pitch&quot; (1992), &quot;High Fidelity&quot; (1995) and &quot;About a Boy&quot; (1998)</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;One of the questions that is probably troubling you at the moment is this: How do I know whether I&rsquo;m a writer? And the question can only be answered with another question: Well, do you write? If you don&rsquo;t, you&rsquo;re not. If you do, you are. There&rsquo;s nothing else to it...Walk into a bookshop and you will see books that you love and books that you hate, books that were written in three weeks and books that took thirty years, books that were written under the influence of drugs and alcohol, books that were written in splendid isolation, books that were written in Starbucks. Some of them were written with enormous enjoyment, some for money, some in fear and loathing and despair. The only thing they all have in common&mdash;and actually there is the odd honourable exception even to this rule&mdash;is that their authors finished them, sooner or later.&quot; - <em>Hornby, in an excerpt from his <a href="http://nanowrimo.org/pep-talks/nick-hornby" target="_blank">Pep Talk</a> for National Novel Writing Month, 2013. &nbsp;</em></div></blockquote><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>4. Chuck Palahniuk.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Fight Club&quot; (1996), &quot;Survivor&quot; (1999) and &quot;Choke&quot; (2001)</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;Your audience is smarter than you imagine. Don&#39;t be afraid to experiment with story forms and time shifts. My personal theory is that younger readers disdain most books &mdash; not because those readers are dumber than past readers, but because today&#39;s reader is smarter. Movies have made us very sophisticated about storytelling. And your audience is much harder to shock than you can ever imagine.&quot; &mdash; <em>Palahniuk, from his &quot;<a href="http://chuckpalahniuk.net/features/essays/13-writing-tips" target="_blank">Essays on Writing</a>.&quot;</em></div></blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>5. Joan Didion</strong></span><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Joan Didion.jpg" style="height: 213px; width: 320px; float: right;" title="Joan Didion in 1977. (AP Photo/File) " /><strong>. Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Slouching Towards Bethlehem&quot; (1968), &quot;Play As It Lays&quot; (1970) and &quot;The Year of Magical Thinking&quot; (2005)</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;Of course I stole the title for this talk, from George Orwell.&nbsp;One reason I stole it was that I like the sound of the words: Why I Write. There you have three short unambiguous words that share a sound, and the sound they share is this: I,&nbsp;I,&nbsp;I. In many ways writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. It&rsquo;s an aggressive, even a hostile act. You can disguise its qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and evasions &mdash; with the whole manner of intimating rather than claiming, of alluding rather than stating &mdash; but there&rsquo;s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer&rsquo;s sensibility on the reader&rsquo;s most private space.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Didion, from &quot;<a href="http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/10/16/why-i-write-joan-didion/" target="_blank">Why I Write</a>&quot; in the New York Times Book Review, 1976.&nbsp;</em></div></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>6. Ernest Hemingway.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works: </strong>&quot;The Sun Also Rises&quot; (1926), &quot;A Farewell to Arms&quot; (1929), &quot;For Whom the Bell Tolls&quot; (1940) and &quot;The Old Man and the Sea&quot; (1952)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable thing I can tell you, so try to remember it.&quot;&mdash;<em>&nbsp;Hemingway, in an October 1935 article about writing for <a href="http://www.openculture.com/2013/02/seven_tips_from_ernest_hemingway_on_how_to_write_fiction.html" target="_blank">Esquire</a>.</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>7. J.D. Salinger.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Catcher in the Rye&quot; (1951), &quot;Nine Stories&quot; (1953) and &quot;Franny and Zooey&quot; (1961)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;I have to know my character thoroughly before I start, and know how he&rsquo;d act in every situation. If I am writing about Mr. Tidwinkle&#39;s golf game, I must also know how he would act when drunk, or at a bachelor dinner, or in the bathtub or in bed &mdash; and it must all be very real and ordinary.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Salinger, to journalist Shirley Ardman in New York,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thedrum.com/news/2012/01/26/top-tips-writers-jd-salinger-advice-beyond-grave" target="_blank">1941</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>8. Mary Shelley.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable work:</strong> &quot;Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus&quot; (1818)&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>&quot;How dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to be greater than his nature will allow.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Shelley, &quot;Frankenstein&quot; (written at <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenstein" target="_blank">age 19</a>) &nbsp;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>9. George Orwell.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;1984&quot; (1949) and &quot;Animal Farm&quot; (1945)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.&nbsp;This sounds easy, but in practice is incredibly difficult. Phrases such as&nbsp;toe the line,&nbsp;ride roughshod over,&nbsp;stand shoulder to shoulder with,&nbsp;play into the hands of, an axe to grind, Achilles&rsquo; heel, swan song,&nbsp;and&nbsp;hotbed&nbsp;come to mind quickly and feel comforting and melodic. For this exact reason they must be avoided. Common phrases have become so comfortable that they create no emotional response. Take the time to invent fresh, powerful images.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Orwell, from his <a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/george-orwells-5-rules-for-effective-writing/" target="_blank">1946 essay</a>,&quot;Politics and the English Language.&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><b>10. Toni Morrison.&nbsp;</b></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Beloved&quot; (1987) and &quot;Song of Solomon&quot; (1977)</p><blockquote><p>&#39;&#39;I am not able to write regularly. I have never been able to do that&mdash;mostly because I have always had a nine-to-five job. I had to write either in between those hours, hurriedly, or spend a lot of weekend and predawn time [doing it].&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Morrison, in an excerpt from her 1993 interview with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1888/the-art-of-fiction-no-134-toni-morrison" target="_blank">The Paris Review</a>.</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><b>11. Virginia Woolf.&nbsp;</b></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Mrs. Dalloway&quot; (1925), &quot;To the Lighthouse&quot;(1928) and &quot;A Room of One&#39;s Own&quot; (1929)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Bronte who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift had put her to.&nbsp;Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.&rdquo; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Woolf, in an excerpt from &quot;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Room_of_One%27s_Own" target="_blank">A Room of One&#39;s Own.</a>&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>12. Dave Eggers.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius&quot;(2000) and &quot;The Circle&quot; (2013)</p><blockquote><p>&#39;&#39;And here is where I spend seven or eight hours at a stretch. Seven or eight hours each time I try to write. Most of that time is spent stalling, which means that for every seven or eight hours I spend pretending to write&mdash;sitting in the writing position, looking at a screen&mdash;I get, on average, one hour of actual work done. It&rsquo;s a terrible, unconscionable ratio.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Eggers, from the 2010 article &quot;<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/10/AR2010121003215.html" target="_blank">Dave Egger&#39;s Writing Life</a>,&quot; published in the Washington Post.</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>13. Mark Twain.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works: </strong>&quot;Adventures of Huckleberry Finn&quot; (1885) and &quot;The Adventures of Tom Sawyer&quot; (1876)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say.&#39;&#39; &mdash; <em>Twain, on how <a href="http://www.rebellesociety.com/2012/11/14/writing-lab-11-juicy-tips-from-mark-twain/" target="_blank">writing is re-writing</a>.</em></p></blockquote><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ROALD_DAHL_AP_.jpg" style="height: 433px; width: 320px; float: left;" title="Roald Dahl in 1964. (AP Photo/File)" /><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>14. Roald Dahl.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;James and the Giant Peach&quot; (1961), &quot;Charlie and the Chocolate Factory&quot; (1964) and &quot;Matilda&quot;(1988)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;The prime function of the children&rsquo;s book writer is to write a book that is so absorbing, exciting, funny, fast and beautiful that the child will fall in love with it. And that first love affair between the young child and the young book will lead hopefully to other loves for other books and when that happens the battle is probably won. The child will have found a crock of gold. He will also have gained something that will help to carry him most&nbsp;marvelously&nbsp;through the tangles of his later years.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Dahl on the power of <a href="http://scribblepreach.com/2013/04/25/how-to-write-like-roald-dahl/" target="_blank">children&#39;s books</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>15. Margaret Atwood.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works: </strong>&quot;The Handmaid&#39;s Tale&quot; (1985), &quot;Cat&#39;s Eye,&quot;(1988), &quot;Blind Assassin&quot; (2000) and &quot;Oryx and Crake&quot; (2003)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Sometimes people are surprised that a woman would write such things.&nbsp;<em>Bodily Harm</em>, for instance, was perceived as some kind of incursion into a world that is supposed to be male. Certainly violence is more a part of my work than it is of Jane Austen&rsquo;s, or George Eliot&rsquo;s. They didn&rsquo;t do it in those days. Charles Dickens wrote about Bill Sikes bludgeoning Nancy to death, getting blood all over everything, but if a woman had written that, nobody would have published it. Actually, I grew up violence-free and among people who were extremely civilized in their behavior. &quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Atwood, on writing violence, from her 1990 interview for the <a href="http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/2262/the-art-of-fiction-no-121-margaret-atwood" target="_blank">The Paris Review</a>.</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>16. Vladmir Nabokov.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable work: </strong>&quot;Lolita&quot; (1955)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;After waking up between six and seven in the morning, I write till ten-thirty, generally at a lectern which faces a bright corner of the room instead of the bright audiences of my professorial days. The first half- hour of relaxation is breakfast with my wife around eight-thirty... Around eleven, I soak for 20 minutes in a hot bath, with a sponge on my head and a wordsman&rsquo;s worry in it, encroaching, alas, upon the nirvana. A stroll with my wife along the lake is followed by a frugal lunch and a two-hour nap, after which I resume my work until dinner at seven. An American friend gave us a Scrabble set in Cyrillic alphabet, manufactured in Newtown, Conn.; so we play&nbsp;<em>skrebl</em>&nbsp;for an hour or two after dinner. Then I read in bed&mdash; periodicals or one of the novels that proud publishers optimistically send us. Between eleven and midnight begins my usual fight with insomnia. Such are my habits in the cold season.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Nabokov, when asked how he works and relaxes in an 1968 interview with the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/03/02/lifetimes/nab-v-things.html" target="_blank">New York Times</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>17. Richard Wright.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Uncle Tom&#39;s Cabin&quot; (1938), &quot;Native Son&quot; (1940) and &quot;Black Boy&quot; (1945)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Our too-young and too-new America, lusty because it is lonely, aggressive because it is afraid, insists upon seeing the world in terms of good and bad, the holy and the evil, the high and the low, the white and the black; our America is frightened of fact, of history, of processes, of necessity. It hugs the easy way of damning those whom it cannot understand, of excluding those who look different, and it salves its conscience with a self-draped cloak of righteousness.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Wright, from &quot;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_boy" target="_blank">Black Boy.</a>&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>18. Hunter S. Thompson.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works: </strong>&quot;Hell&#39;s Angels&quot; (1967), &quot;Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas&quot; (1971) and &quot;The Rum Diary&quot; (1998)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I&#39;m not sure that I&#39;m going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says &#39;you are nothing&#39;, I will be a writer.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Thompson, from &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Gonzo-Hunter-S-Thompson/dp/097860766X" target="_blank">Gonzo.</a>&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>19. Kurt Vonnegut</strong></span><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kurt_vonnegut_ap_img.jpg" style="float: right; height: 212px; width: 320px;" title="Kurt Vonnegut in 1979. (AP Photo/File)" /><strong>. Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Cat&#39;s Cradle&quot; (1963), &quot;Slaughterhouse-Five&quot; (1969) and &quot;Breakfast of Champions&quot; (1973)</p><blockquote><p>&quot; 1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted. 2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for. 3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water. 4. Every sentence must do one of two things &mdash;reveal character or advance the action. 5. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them&mdash;in order that the reader may see what they are made of.&quot; &nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;<em>From Vonnegut&#39;s &quot;<a href="http://www.writingclasses.com/InformationPages/index.php/PageID/538" target="_blank">8 Basics of Creative Writing</a>&quot; in the preface of his short story collection, &quot;Bagombo Snuff Box.&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>20. Elie Wiesel.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable work:</strong> &quot;Night&quot; (1955)&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Why do I write? Perhaps in order not to go mad. Or, on the contrary, to touch the bottom of madness...There are easier occupations, far more pleasant ones. But for the survivor, writing is not a profession, but an occupation, a duty. Camus calls it &#39;an honor.&#39; As he puts it: &#39;I entered literature through worship.&#39; Other writers have said they did so through anger, through love.&nbsp; Speaking for myself, I would say &mdash; through silence.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Wiesel, in an excerpt from &quot;<a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;ved=0CC4QFjAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.litjunkies.com%2FWhy%2520I%2520Write.doc&amp;ei=gbWpUr2NAuamygGVqoDoDg&amp;usg=AFQjCNGSnkS4wm30rmI_li7l-ILEuIDfVA&amp;sig2=mqauA92_eJtyi_KE1ZtopQ&amp;bvm=bv.57967247,d.aWc">Why I Write: Making No Become Yes</a>.&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>21. Jack Keroauc.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;On the Road&quot;(1957) and &quot;Big Sur&quot; (1962)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy, 2. Submissive to everything, open, listening, 3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house, 4. Be in love with yr life, 5. Something that you feel will find its own form.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Keroauc, from his 30 essentials in &quot;<a href="http://www.writingclasses.com/InformationPages/index.php/PageID/464" target="_blank">Belief and Technique for Modern Prose.</a>&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>22. Harper Lee.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable work:</strong> &quot;To Kill a Mockingbird&quot; (1960)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Lee in <a href="http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/thick-skin" target="_blank">Writer&#39;s Digest</a>, September 1961.&nbsp;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>23. Stephen King.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Carrie&quot; (1974), &quot;The Shining&quot; (1977) and &quot;Misery&quot; (1987)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it &#39;got boring,&#39; the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.&quot;<em>&nbsp;</em><em>&mdash;</em><em>King, from &quot;<a href="http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/stephen-kings-top-20-rules-for-writers/" target="_blank">On Writing</a>.&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>24. John Steinbeck.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Of Mice and Men&quot; (1937), &quot;The Grapes of Wrath&quot; (1939) and &quot;East of Eden&quot; (1952)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.&quot; &mdash; <em>Steinbeck, from his &quot;<a href="http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/03/12/john-steinbeck-six-tips-on-writing/" target="_blank">Six Tips on Writing</a>&quot; in the Fall 1975 issue of The Paris Review.</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>25. J.K. Rowling.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> the &quot;Harry Potter&quot; series (1997-2007)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me...And the idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss.&quot; &mdash; <em>Rowling, on living as a single mother on welfare before publishing the first &quot;Harry Potter&quot; book at age 32.</em></p></blockquote><p><strong>Honorable mentions:</strong> Marya Hornbacher, David Sedaris, the Brontë sisters, and the poets: Whitman, Poe, Dickinson, Plath, Silverstein, Frost, Ginsberg, Yeats, Angelou, Emerson, and Wilde.</p><p><strong>Which authors, poets, and essayists have inspired you?</strong></p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about art and popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 12 Dec 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-12/25-inspiring-authors-writers-109352 Body Talk: What Chicago author Samantha Irby gets right http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-12/body-talk-what-chicago-author-samantha-irby-gets-right-109308 <p><div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Meaty-_CHUNKY_UPPER_CASE_JAN_2013-624x998.jpg" style="float: left; height: 496px; width: 310px;" title="(Amazon)" />Chicago writer&nbsp;and performer&nbsp;<a href="http://bitchesgottaeat.blogspot.com/">Samantha Irby</a> is not obsessed with her body. She knows it for what it is, and keeps going anyway.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Listen homie, that thing that you secretly hate about my body? Don&rsquo;t worry, I hate it, too. With every fiber in my weird, fibrous breasts,&quot; she writes in her essay &quot;Forest Whitaker&rsquo;s Neck,&quot; from her recent book, &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Meaty-Essays-Samantha-Creator-BitchesGottaEat/dp/0988480425">Meaty:&nbsp;Essays by&nbsp;Samantha Irby</a>.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In the essay, she recounts a comment from a sort-of ex while in bed together. At the time she wasn&rsquo;t sure about the extent of their relationship, and his random comment&mdash;&ldquo;you have the tiniest nipples I have ever seen&rdquo;&mdash;certainly did not help.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Every mark, every scar, every scratch, every flaw: I&rsquo;ve seen it, documented it, cried over it, and tried to hide it. Would it kill you to pretend it isn&rsquo;t there?&rdquo; she writes.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Womens&#39; relationships with men are not like our relationships with ourselves. With ourselves, we see exactly what we walk with from day to day. In relationships, at least in the flawed relationships Irby tries to build, willful ignorance is the root of contentment.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Can&rsquo;t we just lie fully clothed in bed together while holding hands and talking about how good pork belly tacos taste? I don&rsquo;t want to do the &quot;I&rsquo;m sorry this is my disgusting body&quot; apology jig ever again, nor will there ever be a time that the &ldquo;just let me keep my shirt on&rdquo; waltz isn&rsquo;t utterly humiliating,&rdquo; she writes.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A blissful relationship, one before the rawness of seeing the body, her body, is what she wants. But like what she seeks in the actions of a man, this is willfully ignorant of the realities of partnership. Relationships are not all pretty and sweet. Like the body, there are things to critique and hate and finally accept about them, too.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Later in &quot;Forest Whitaker&rsquo;s Neck,&quot; she recounts every detail of herself she does not like. &ldquo;Dark red mark from ingrown hair on the upper inside chunk of calf,&rdquo; she writes in the section about her left leg. &ldquo;Pale, raised scar from when I threw myself down a flight of stairs at age six as protest against accompanying my mother to the grocery store,&rdquo; she writes about her arms.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Rather than just finding new and new things to hate, each mention of her body feels like a story brewing. She knows why she does not like it; she is still living and breathing anyway.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Society understands women can be obsessed with the female body, but what we fail to realize is the extent of that obsession. As a young teen, I used to spend nights circling the worst areas of my body with a thick marker.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Getting outside of my head was my biggest concern. Although I wrote down my fears and anxieties and anger in my notebook, writing was not enough. Pen and paper were just an extension of the obsessions of my mind. I repeated these fears and anxieties enough to call my journal less of an account of the things I did and more of an account of the things I could not let go.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The body was (literally) the biggest one. At my obsessive peak, school markers turned into permanent markers. The circles stretched over the back of my thighs, my ass, the little tops of my shoulders&mdash;scarred from years of painful acne that never went away, but bubbled up to the service to fester in its own bacteria, leaving pockets of hyperpigmentation. Permanent marker was a &ldquo;permanent&rdquo; reminder. &#39;You will never be the person you want to be if you continue to look like this.&#39;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>My face, the worst, I never marked. I could control it&mdash;its roundness, acne, scars, discoloration&mdash;with makeup. Unlike clothing, which only served to remind me of of things I could not change or do with my body, makeup could transform me into something new. (That I could barely apply foundation evenly mattered little.)</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I am in a constant battle for control and conquest of the machinations and limitations of my body. It&#39;s why I danced until I was a teenager, and that is why I love to watch dance now, as a confirmation of achievement. Dance is knowing yourself, taking control of yourself, and seeing yourself&nbsp;completely. It is a truth that can be beautiful as much as it can be ugly in our wrestle for power.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There is this idea&mdash;cold and inescapable&mdash;that we must be reminded of everything we lack. Some believe that we do not know that we are fat or tall or scarred. They think we do not see ourselves so they must remind us of how we exist in their eyes, how we lack something fundamental to the norm, how we are not right.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But with adulthood comes the reckoning of our understanding of ourselves.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Later in her essay, Irby adds, &ldquo;Or that&mdash;brace yourself&mdash;it might make me mysterious and sexy?&rdquo; She has been through the pains of literally growing into her body and she is beyond it, accepting of it; perhaps even a little proud of it.&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 05 Dec 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-12/body-talk-what-chicago-author-samantha-irby-gets-right-109308 Looking back at Uptown in the mid-1970s http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/looking-back-uptown-mid-1970s-108429 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Storyteller.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In 1973, <a href="http://bobrehak.com/wordpress/">Bob Rehak</a> was 24-years-old, living in Rogers Park and working downtown at an advertsing agency. His daily commute took him through Uptown, a gritty, struggling neighborhood on Chicago&#39;s North Side.&nbsp;</p><p>An introvert working to break out of his shell, Rehak gave himself a challenge: Get off the Red Line &#39;L&#39; train at Wilson Avenue, walk up to the first person he saw, and ask if he could take their picture. It worked.</p><p>&quot;Much to my suprise, what I found was people were extremely friendly,&quot; he said. &quot;They didn&#39;t beat me over the head and steal my Nikon as I&#39;d feared. I think they were flattered that somebody was there paying attention.&quot;</p><p>From there, he was hooked. Rehak&nbsp;<a href="http://bobrehak.com/wordpress/portfolio-2/documentary/">documented Uptown and its residents</a> for the next four years, developing nearly 5,000 black and white photographs. In the end, he created a portrait of one of the most dense and most diverse neighborhoods in Chicago history.</p><p>Until recently, those images have been largely forgotten. But when the photographer uploaded them online in July, they went viral, reaching 4.5 million page views in a just a few months. Rehak said more than 500 people have contacted him about the photos, some of whom appear in the very shots he took forty years ago.&nbsp;</p><p>Now remastered as a book, titled &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Uptown-Portrait-Chicago-Neighborhood-mid-1970s/dp/098527333X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1380640293&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=uptown+rehak">Uptown: Portrait of a Chicago Neighborhood in the Mid-1970s</a>,&quot; the collection is now available in stores.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Use the sliding tool to see Uptown then and now<a name="slider">:</a></strong><br /><br /><iframe frameborder="0" height="610" scrolling="no" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/INTERACTIVE+DATA+PUBLISHING/2013+Projects/August/UptownBeforeAfter/BeforeAfterWilson.html" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Rehak took this photo of Wilson Avenue, looking east toward Sheridan Road on the &#39;L&#39; platform. In the background is the Sheridan Plaza Hotel, which sat vacant for many years before it was renovated and turned into apartments in 2009.</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="440" scrolling="no" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/INTERACTIVE+DATA+PUBLISHING/2013+Projects/August/UptownBeforeAfter/BeforeAfterLawrence.html" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Rehak took this shot at Lawrence Avenue and Broadway on Dec. 27, 1975. The Riviera Theater was playing &quot;Snow White&quot; and Lawray Drugs was advertising Bufferin for $1.09. Today, a Starbucks and abandoned Borders dominate the view. (Photo cropped for comparison.)</p><p><em>Alyssa Edes is a digital media intern at WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/alyssaedes" target="_blank">@alyssaedes</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Tue, 03 Dec 2013 15:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/looking-back-uptown-mid-1970s-108429 Morning Shift: A colorful-graphic-look at Lincoln's most famous speech http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-19/morning-shift-colorful-graphic-look-lincolns-most <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/8555459728_ce34a24a58_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When kids are removed from the care of their biological parents, often relatives step up as guardians. As part of our series <em>Faces of Failure</em>, we explore how the system works with these caretakers.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-a-colorful-look-at-lincoln-s-most-fa/embed" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-a-colorful-look-at-lincoln-s-most-fa.js"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-a-colorful-look-at-lincoln-s-most-fa" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: A colorful-graphic-look at Lincoln's most famous speech" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 11:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-19/morning-shift-colorful-graphic-look-lincolns-most Classic young adult heroines of the past http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-11/classic-young-adult-heroines-past-109184 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4261108036_1d9ababf05_z.jpg" title="Inside spread from a vintage copy of the book, &quot;Harriet the Spy&quot; written and illustrated by Louise Fitzhugh. (Flickr/CalsidyRose)" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Study after study has shown that children are <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/technology/appsblog/2013/sep/26/children-reading-less-apps-games" target="_blank">reading less</a> in the digital age, with the number of kids picking up books in their spare time <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10353148/Children-too-embarrassed-to-read-in-front-of-friends.html" target="_blank">dropping dramatically</a> amid claims that they are &quot;too embarrassed to read in front of friends.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Furthermore, a <a href="http://skills.oecd.org/SkillsOutlook_2013_KeyFindings.pdf" target="_blank">new study</a> by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that for the first time, America has fallen &quot;below average&quot; in the developed world for educational achievements and now ranks 16th in the world in literacy.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In recent years, America also has become the only free-market OECD&nbsp;country where the current generation is <a href="http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-literacy-america" target="_blank">less well educated</a> than the previous.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And yet in an era dominated by smartphone apps, tablet games, and YouTube videos glowing under children&#39;s blankets at night instead of books read by flashlight, are youngsters still finding joy in literature?&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">If book sales for certain millennial hits like &quot;Ender&#39;s Game,&quot; &quot;Divergent,&quot; and &quot;The Hunger Games&quot; are to be believed, then the answer is yes: children and young adults still enjoy reading, especially when the story is set in a sci-fi dystopian universe and the hero or heroine is close to their age.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This got me thinking about how the literary heroes of today compare to those of young adult novels past, and why girls cling to an abysmal role model like <a href="http://screencrave.com/2009-11-11/twilights-bella-swan-is-a-feminists-nightmare/" target="_blank">Bella Swan</a> when they have so many others from classic literature to admire.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Would the fame of &quot;The Hunger Games&#39;&quot; Katniss&nbsp;even exist without the spunky, brave, and arguably more complex heroines who came before?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div>From the perspective of a female bookworm who attached herself to other similarly nerdy and spirited female characters from an early age, the following classic young adult heroines stand out.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Hermione Granger,&nbsp;from the &quot;Harry Potter&quot; series by J.K. Rowling&nbsp;</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Hermione is a terrific role model for young girls, not only because of her eager intelligence, courage, and loyalty to her friends, but also because of her vulnerability. She faces insecurity about her looks, her grades, and her birthright as a &quot;Mudblood&quot; in a wizarding school, but ultimately learns to rise above her fears of failure and find the strength in herself to prove her naysayers wrong.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Jo March,&nbsp;</strong><strong>from &quot;Little Women&quot; by Louisa May Alcott</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As the plucky second daughter of four &quot;little women&quot; in the March family, Jo has emerged as an almost universal fan favorite. She is an opinionated, free-spirited tomboy who writes plays that are Shakespearean in nature, dreams of becoming a published author instead of a housewife, chops off all of her hair, and thinks nothing of wearing pants and insisting that a man treat her as an equal in Civil War-era Boston. Basically, Jo is a feminist way ahead of her time.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Anne Shirley,&nbsp;from the &quot;Anne of Green Gables&quot; books by L.M. Montgomery</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Anne is perpetually &quot;heedless and impulsive,&quot; which is exactly why readers can&#39;t help but fall in love with her. In contrast to the mostly prim and proper characters who surround her in&nbsp;Montgomery&#39;s series, Anne is the very definiton of a sparkplug: a talkative redheaded orphan who brings light, joy, and boundless enthusiasm wherever she goes. Runnerups in this category: Pippi Longstocking, Madeleine, Pollyanna, and Eloise.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Harriet M. Welsch,&nbsp;from &quot;Harriet the Spy&quot; by Louise Fitzhugh</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As far as lovable misfits go, Harriet M. Welsch ranks near the top. She longs to be a writer one day, but seeing as she&#39;s only 11 and still in elementary school, she decides to become a &quot;spy&quot; and write about her neighbors, family, and friends in her top-secret notebook during her formative years. Harriet is imaginative, curious, and precocious, but also struggles with feeling like an outsider &mdash; a sentiment to which many adolescents can relate.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Meg Murry,&nbsp;from &quot;A Wrinkle in Time&quot; by Madeleine L&#39;Engle</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Meg is ambivalent about romantic love, which is a nice change of pace from all of the boy-crazy Bellas of the world. She is a stubborn and self-conscious teenager who relies upon her smarts to succeed, despite the fact that her incredible abilities often go unappreciated. Her anger is not only relatable, but justified, as new generations of readers continue to root for Meg and see themselves in her struggle.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><b>Nancy Drew</b><strong>,&nbsp;from the &quot;Nancy Drew&quot; books by Carolyn Keene</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This cultural icon has been cited as an influence by a number of prolific women, from Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O&#39;Connor and Sonia Sotomeyer to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and it&#39;s easy to see why. Nancy is a fearless and feisty young amatuer detective who is wise beyond her years, no doubt inspiring modern-day heroines like Veronica Mars to gain similarly devoted fan followings.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Matilda Wormwood,&nbsp;from &quot;Matilda&quot; by Roald Dahl</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As one of the most recognizable characters in Dahl&#39;s illustrious canon of children&#39;s books, Matilda is more than just a child genius with magicial abilities. She is a symbol of someone born into less-than-ideal circumstances (in this case, horrible parents who neglect her and an evil principal terrorizing her school) who recognizes the unique power that lives within her. In a way, Matilda&#39;s telekinetic powers are a metaphor for acknowledging her own strengths, and realizing that just by virtue of being born, she has an inherent value that no other person can take away.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Matilda also had a great <a href="http://madbibliophile.wordpress.com/2008/12/09/matildas-booklist/">booklist</a>&nbsp;that inspired me to keep reading classic literature throughout my adolescence and into adulthood as well.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Who were your favorite characters to read and relate to in your childhood?&nbsp;</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.&nbsp;</em></div></p> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-11/classic-young-adult-heroines-past-109184 Malcolm X heirs sue Chicago’s Third World Press http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-11/malcolm-x-heirs-sue-chicago%E2%80%99s-third-world-press-109132 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP070221174520.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">When we think about Malcolm X and his legacy, the definitive source material is still his own works, especially <a href="http://www.studio360.org/story/95194-american-icons-the-autobiography-of-malcolm-x/">The Autobiography of Malcolm X</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Published after his assassination in 1965, and co-authored with Alex Haley, the autobiography is a conversion narrative that tracks his embrace of black nationalism and Islam, first in America and then abroad.</p><p dir="ltr">This month though, Chicago&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.thirdworldpressbooks.com/wp1/">Third World Press</a> promised to release a book just as compelling. A book according to vice president <a href="http://chicagoweekly.net/2008/05/08/third-world-press-bennett-johnson-publishes-the-books-they-dont-want-you-to-read/">Bennett Johnson</a> that reveals &ldquo;the real Malcom X.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The Diary of Malcolm X documents the activist and religious leader&rsquo;s life after he broke with the Nation of Islam up until his assassination a year later.</p><p dir="ltr">Third World planned to release it this week. But last Friday <a href="http://nypost.com/2013/11/08/malcolm-x-kin-sue-to-stop-diary-publication/">a Manhattan attorney filed a lawsuit </a>to block publication.</p><p dir="ltr">The suit was filed on behalf of some of Malcolm X&rsquo;s children, who say the book is unauthorized.</p><p dir="ltr">Johnson claims Third World Press signed a contract earlier this year. They acquired the diary from Malcolm&rsquo;s daughter Ilyhasah Al-Shabazz, who is also the book&rsquo;s editor, along with Herb Boyd (who edited a previously anthology on Malcolm X for Third World).</p><p dir="ltr">Johnson says he&rsquo;s not sure why the family members are blocking publication. He first got wind of the action a couple of weeks ago.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been asking all along, &lsquo;what do you want so we can work something out?&rsquo;&rdquo; says Johnson. &ldquo;And all we get from them is &lsquo;we want you to stop,&rsquo; which you know obviously is a non-starter. That&rsquo;s not how you do business.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">According to an article in the New York Post, an entity formed by the heirs of the slain activist has &ldquo;exclusive rights to publish, reproduce and distribute the diaries worldwide.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Johnson counters that their arrangement divides royalties from the book among the six daughters.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I knew Malcolm X. I didn&rsquo;t know him that well and I think he&rsquo;d be very disturbed by this confusion over his diary.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Johnson says a hearing on the suit should take place today. Calls to the Manhattan attorney who filed the suit went unanswered.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Alison Cuddy is an arts and culture reporter for WBEZ and host of TV podcast Changing Channels. Follow her on Twitter </em>@wbezacuddy.</p></p> Tue, 12 Nov 2013 10:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-11/malcolm-x-heirs-sue-chicago%E2%80%99s-third-world-press-109132 Zombie Lore: From Dracula to 'Night of the Living Dead' http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/zombie-lore-dracula-night-living-dead-109039 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Night%20of%20the%20living%20dead.jpg" style="float: left; height: 420px; width: 300px;" title="Poster from original 1968 movie “Night of the Living Dead.” Due to the filmmakers' neglect of the former requirement to put proper notice on copies of their work, this image and the film it's from are in the public domain. (WikiMedia Commons)" />My search started after I watched <em>World War Z</em>, the much-hyped Brad Pitt epic which tells the story of a global war against zombies.</p><p>The film was entertaining and kept me interested all the way through, but I was disappointed in one particular aspect: fast zombies.</p><p>It seemed to me that zombies always adhered to a few basic rules, rules that kept things at least interesting between the living and the undead.</p><p>One of those rules is speed. Zombies don&rsquo;t generally move faster than a reanimated corpse trying to keep all the rotted flesh from falling off at once, which is about the pace of a small, bumbling child in front of you on a busy sidewalk.</p><p>Second death was another rule, of sorts. Zombies, it seems, have one easy dispatch mechanism. A bullet or a good solid bashing of the noggin will take them out for good.</p><p>The living, with enough resources, always stood a fighting chance against the zombie hordes, and the ingenuity, courage, trust and will to live of the living is what made zombie stories so engaging.</p><blockquote><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/zombie-lore-dracula-night-living-dead-109039#video"><strong>Watch: Night of the Living Dead</strong></a></p></blockquote><p>After watching the speed-demon zombies in <em>World War Z</em>, I got to thinking about zombie lore. Who sets the rules for monsters? Does anyone police the world of horror and maintain some semblance of order and reason, or are we going to have to deal with sparkly vampires and the super-human undead from now on?</p><p>I decided to research the topic of zombie lore in literature, and finding none involving the modern zombie, that which is an infected, slow-moving, reanimated corpse with an insatiable hunger for living flesh, I moved on to film. It turns out zombies are one in a long line of very traditional monsters carved out of superstition and legend by capable writers in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and brought to life by filmmakers of the 20th century.</p><p><strong>Monster Lore: The evolution of zombies</strong></p><p>This is not a peer-reviewed literary study, merely a rough retracing of monster lore as it winds its way through popular culture.</p><p>But it would seem that zombies are the bastard-children of vampire literature and a copyright mistake.</p><p>A French Benedictine monk, Antoine Augustin Calmet, wrote two-volumes on the mysticism, superstitions and culture of Southern Europe first published in one volume in 1759 as <em>Dissertations Upon the Apparitions of Angels, Daemons, and Ghosts, and Concerning the Vampires of Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia</em>.</p><p>Many of the rules of vampirism can be traced to Calmet&rsquo;s inclusion of Christian symbols in combatting particularly fearsome creatures like blood-sucking dead people. Stakes, crosses, Holy Water, fire and other pieces of vampire lore were included in Calmet&rsquo;s volumes, which provided more than enough fodder for Irish writers Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and the godfather of vampirism, Bram Stoker.</p><p>Literary types contend Fanu borrowed heavily from Calmet&rsquo;s books to create the iconic <em>Carmilla</em>, a lesbian, blood-sipping archetype who appeared in the form of a massive black cat stealing the life essence from her female victims.</p><p>Fanu&rsquo;s short story predates Bram Stoker&rsquo;s genre-setting <em>Dracula</em> by 25 years, and it is a point of continuing controversy whether Stoker was influenced by Carmilla or if both books just used much of Calmet&rsquo;s work to build their respective monsters.</p><p>Regardless, Stoker&rsquo;s <em>Dracula</em> set the initial rules for vampires based heavily on Calmet&rsquo;s inclusion of religious superstitions and mysticism, a kind of empirical hold on the genre that has lasted until recently, when genre-bending, sparkly vampires appeared in popular culture.</p><p><strong>Vampires: From one to many</strong></p><p>Just about 57 years after Stoker penned the penultimate vampire, American author Richard Matheson wrote his own vampire novel,<em> I Am Legend.</em></p><p>Matheson&rsquo;s vampires retained traces of the old count from Transylvania in their fear of garlic and mirrors, but they were born not of the bitten lineage of their forefathers, but instead created as a result of some kind of genetic mutation caused by nuclear war and spread by dust and mosquitoes.</p><p>Matheson, who acknowledged the influence of Stoker&rsquo;s Dracula on his own vampires expounded on his new-fangled concept of an older monster during a video acceptance speech when <em>I Am Legend</em> was named the Vampire Novel of the Century by the Horror Writers Association in coordination with the Stoker family estate, according to<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/apr/03/i-am-legend-vampire-novel-century"> The Guardian</a>.</p><p>An ailing Matheson could not attend the ceremony and said in his video:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;I am certainly honored and delighted that you have chosen I Am Legend as the vampire novel of the century, which is a rather dubious but interesting distinction,&rdquo; said the author. &ldquo;When I was a teenager I went to see Dracula with Bela Lugosi and at that time, even as a teenager, the thought occurred to me that if one vampire is scary, what if all the world were full of vampires?&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Matheson&rsquo;s more-is-better approach to vampirism began the bending of the genre into something more born of biological basis and scientific scenario than the heretofore mystical and religious implications of the monsters of the dark ages.</p><p><strong>The zombie is born</strong></p><p>Matheson&rsquo;s <em>I Am Legend</em> first became a film in 1964&rsquo;s <em>The Last Man on Earth</em>. Prior to that, the creature known as zombie could trace its lineage to the voodoo children carried on in traditions by people in the old world and the new world.</p><p>All the while, and certainly well before vampires existed as myth, the horrific creature known in parts of the world as nzumbe and zonbi allegedly walked the tropical realms of central Africa and the islands of the Caribbean as corpses raised from the dead by some magical means.</p><p>But Matheson&rsquo;s vampire pandemic inspired another filmmaker to create a creature whose similarity to the vampires of old is limited to being undead and desirous for feeding on the living.</p><p>The Romero Zombie was born in George Romero&rsquo;s<em> Night of the Living Dead</em>, a 1968 black and white horror film about the dead reanimated as creatures invading the Eastern United States and feasting on the flesh of the living.</p><p>Slow-moving, dim witted and with an insatiable hunger for flesh, the modern, also known as fictional zombie, owes its existence and guiding principles to Romero&rsquo;s first film and his subsequent zombie films.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s what Romero had to say about the influence of Matheson&rsquo;s vampires on his modern zombie from an interview on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Interview-George-A-Romero-On-Diary-Of-The-Dead-7818.html">CinemaBlend.com</a></p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;When I did the first film, I didn&rsquo;t call them zombies. When I did <em>Night of the Living Dead</em> I called them ghouls, flesh eaters. To me back then, zombies were just those boys in Caribbean doing the wet-work for Bela Lugosi. So I never thought of them as zombies. I thought they were just back from the dead. I ripped off the idea for the first film from a Richard Matheson novel called <em>I Am Legend</em>, which is now back with us after a couple of incarnations prior. I thought<em> I Am Legend</em> was about revolution. I said if you&rsquo;re going to do something about revolution you should start at the beginning. I mean, Richard starts his book with one man left; everybody in the world has become a vampire. I said we got to start at the beginning and tweak it up a little bit. I couldn&rsquo;t use vampires because he did so I wanted something that would be an earth-shaking change. Something that was forever, something that was really at the heart of it. I said, so what if the dead stop staying dead? <em>Diary of the Dead </em>goes back theoretically to that first night. I didn&rsquo;t use the word &ldquo;zombie&rdquo; until the second film and that&rsquo;s only because people who were writing about the first film called them zombies. And I said, maybe they are in a way. But to me zombies were separate in the rainbow. In this film, because it goes back to that first night, nobody knows what to call them. By the time of <em>Land of the Dead</em>, they have this slang already: Stenchies. But I felt it was too early for anybody to know what they were or to have any sort of identifying moniker for them.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p><strong>Someone forgot to copyright the zombies</strong></p><p>The Romero Zombie set the stage for nearly all modern zombie tales to follow, but it may have done so inadvertently.</p><p>According to the website<a href="http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2011/10/10/how-a-copyright-mistake-created-the-modern-zombie/"> Plagiarism Today</a>, a copyright error, and not an infection, may have caused the apocalypse of the Romero Zombie.</p><p>From an article on <em>Night of the Living Dead:</em></p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;The first prints of<em> Night of the Living Dead</em> didn&rsquo;t use the title we know it as today. Instead, it referred to the movie as <em>Night of the Flesh Eaters</em>, one of the working titles of the movie. However, before release, the title was changed to its more familiar version but, when changing the title card,<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063350/faq"> the distributor forgot to put the copyright notice on the final print</a>.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>This error allowed <em>Night of the Living Dead</em> to enter the public domain immediately upon release.</p><p>And while Romero lost out big on profits from the movie, anyone could create a story using the modern zombie, which perhaps led to the proliferation of zombies with the same particular traits as the Romero Zombie.</p><p>Romero himself blew up his own creature, building in slight changes over the course of many zombie films,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/night-of-the-living-dead-1990">according to film critic Roger Ebert</a>.</p><p>Without the zombie being in the public domain, it&rsquo;s difficult to speculate on where Romero might have gone with this creature or what others would have done if limited by copyright protection.</p><p>In the end, I prefer the slow-moving, dim-witted Romero Zombie to some of the creature&rsquo;s many incarnations.</p><p>And at least if I do not know any more creative ways to kill them, I now know where zombies were born<a name="video">.</a></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="465" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Sv8txLdjZEI" width="620"></iframe></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/takimoff" rel="author">Tim Akimoff</a> is the Director of Digital Content at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/timakimoff"> Twitter </a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/timakimoff"> Facebook </a></p> Wed, 30 Oct 2013 13:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/zombie-lore-dracula-night-living-dead-109039 Ten things you didn’t know about Divergent http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/ten-things-you-didn%E2%80%99t-know-about-divergent-109022 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/divergent.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>The Afternoon Shift just wrapped up a series on the best-selling novel <em>Divergent</em> for its October book club choice.</p><p>Earlier this month, I was able to follow author Veronica Roth as she spoke at her alma mater, Barrington High School. There, she revealed some interesting secrets and fun facts about the series. Here are ten that you might find surprising.</p><p>1. <em>Divergent</em> was not always going to be a trilogy.</p><p>2. Divergent was not always set in Chicago.</p><p>3. If she could edit again, Roth said she would change how she portrayed one of the factions in <em>Divergent</em>.</p><p>4. If the book had a sixth faction, Roth said it would be something to do with &ldquo;industriousness&rdquo; or being hardworking.</p><p>5. Roth tried really hard to kill a specific character in the second book, <em>Insurgent</em>.</p><p>6. When she secured a book deal, she was standing by the dumpster behind her apartment.</p><p>7. Roth got a 6 month extension on the third and final book of the series, <em>Allegiant</em>.</p><p>8. Her least favorite book to write was Insurgent, the second book of the series.</p><p>9. Roth writes at a treadmill desk.</p><p>10. Veronica says she didn&rsquo;t talk for the first 5 hours she was on the movie set of <em>Divergent</em> this summer.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is a producer for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em><br />&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/13280881" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 28 Oct 2013 16:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/ten-things-you-didn%E2%80%99t-know-about-divergent-109022