WBEZ | Books http://www.wbez.org/tags/books Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 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 Libraries: Beyond the books http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/libraries-beyond-books-108170 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/117674644" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Shanlie Ann Stead says she&rsquo;s had a lifelong love of libraries and, as she recollects it, she personally experienced how far that love could go &mdash; straight from a library to her own apartment&rsquo;s walls.</p><p>She tells a story of being at the Waukegan library several years ago and noticing stacks of paintings. She says she perked up when a passing librarian said &ldquo;&lsquo;You know, you can check those out.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Shanlie took the library up on the offer.</p><p>&ldquo;That made a huge difference for me,&rdquo; Shanlie said, &ldquo;because &nbsp;I could actually check out paintings and decorate my apartment.&rdquo;</p><p>This nugget of curiosity about libraries stuck with her, and she wondered how other libraries handle checkouts and what&rsquo;s beyond books on the shelves. Figuring that there must be &ldquo;some unique things&rdquo; available for the taking, she asked us:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>&ldquo;What are some of the most curious and surprising things one can check out from a public library?&rdquo;</em></p><p>Well, we talked to staff at dozens of area libraries and posed them your very question, which led many librarians to talk about what role the public library plays for all of us today.</p><p>&ldquo;It used to be about the physical object and now it&#39;s about the knowledge,&rdquo; said Kelly Cuci, head of outreach services in Orland Park. &ldquo;It&#39;s about exporting knowledge to anybody. &hellip; It&#39;s about the knowledge package given to the person or the skill program, rather than the book.&rdquo;</p><p>You can see this principle across our area&rsquo;s libraries. Take the one in Orland Park, which is set to unveil a collection of nearly 200 artifacts from NASA on Sept. 15. The Waukegan Public Library recently inherited the personal library of native son Ray Bradbury. Of course, several librarians brought attention to their e-books and devices like the Nook, which would allow the contents of a basic book to be read in a digital format.</p><p>Nonetheless, the three most curious and surprising things we found available to take home from local libraries are physical &mdash; not digital &mdash; objects. In their own way, these objects can be used to impart knowledge in library patrons, just like books.</p><p><strong>Fishing pole</strong><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/fishing rod OUTSIDE FOR WEB.jpg" style="float: right; height: 233px; width: 350px;" title="Nine of the 79 Chicago Public Library branches offer fishing poles for check-out. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></p><p>Out of the Chicago Public Library&#39;s 79 branches, <a href="https://www.chipublib.org/eventsprog/programs/nature_conn.php">nine offer fishing poles </a>with a tackle and bait set. (Worms not included.)</p><p>Unsurprisingly, the nine branches are close to the fishing waters of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River or lagoons.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s important because people who are normally in the inner city don&rsquo;t normally get an opportunity to go fish,&rdquo; said Lala Rodgers, who manages the Sherman Park branch, where 30 poles can be taken out on loan.</p><p>Just like most materials, poles can be checked out for three weeks at a time.</p><p>The poles can be checked out of the following branches: Albany Park, Blackstone, Douglass, Hegewisch, Humboldt Park, McKinley Park, Rogers Park, Sherman Park and Uptown.</p><p><strong>Sculptures</strong></p><p>The <a href="http://www.aurorapubliclibrary.org">Aurora Public Library</a> had spent decades building a catalog of art (all copies, not originals), but for the past dozen years or so, it&rsquo;s been disbanding it.</p><p>Life goes on, though, for the library&rsquo;s 30 sculptures, almost all of which cost less than $100. They&rsquo;re still available for checking out for eight weeks at a time.</p><p>Becky Tatar, the library&rsquo;s audiovisual head, chose the collection based on what she thinks would interest her patrons, both from an aesthetic and educational standpoint.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/STATUE FOR WEB.jpg" style="float: left; height: 233px; width: 350px;" title="You can check out sculptures at the Aurora Public Library for eight weeks at a time. (WBEZ/Billy Healy)" />&ldquo;There&#39;s things for all interests,&rdquo; Tatar said. &ldquo;People can check things out for their office. They can check things out for their home.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Why do people have art in their home?&rdquo; she asked, rhetorically. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the same thing for why we would have art in the library. Because it makes people think. It looks nice. It creates interest.&rdquo;</p><p>The sculptures used to be a popular option to spruce up office spaces back in the 1990s. But the sculptures aren&rsquo;t checked out very often anymore. Tatar says just one item &mdash; an angel holding two vases, a copy of a 14th century French original &mdash; has been checked out multiple times this year.</p><p>Other sculptures include busts of Martin Luther King Jr., Beethoven and the University of Illinois&rsquo; Chief Illiniwek. There&rsquo;s also a miniature edition of Rodin&rsquo;s <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thinker">The Thinker</a>.</p><p><strong>A green screen (and other video producing equipment)</strong></p><p>The <a href="http://www.skokielibrary.info/s_about/how/Tech_Resources/DML.asp">Skokie&rsquo;s Public Library&rsquo;s digital media lab</a> is outfitted with the latest tech, &nbsp;from computers to drawing tablets to guitars that patrons can use for their creative needs.</p><p>&quot;It is a really awesome place because it&#39;s a place where people can create knowledge,&quot; said Mick Jacobsen, who oversees the lab. &quot;We create a space where people can use really great computers, really great equipment, really great software and create some amazing media.&quot;</p><p>Much of that gear can&rsquo;t be checked out due to licensing arrangements, but there among the items you can walk out with are: hard drives, audio recorders and simple video cameras. The latter include the GoPro, which can be attached to a person&rsquo;s head or body for action shots.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/GREEN SCREEN for web.jpg" style="float: right; height: 233px; width: 350px;" title="In an effort to keep up with the YouTube age, Skokie Public Library has a green screen available for checkout. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></p><p>But perhaps the oddest thing that can be taken home from this lab is the green screen, which costs no more than $80.</p><p>&ldquo;If you&#39;ve got a family photo &mdash; you didn&#39;t make it to Paris this year, you know, you never know what happened &mdash; you can still get to Paris,&rdquo; Jacobsen said. &ldquo;Well, not really, but you can certainly take your picture.&rdquo;</p><p>Jacobsen said in the age of YouTube, his library is stepping into the role of &ldquo;community access television&rdquo; by giving patrons equipment they might otherwise use at most twice in their lives.</p><p>Asked if patrons find a library offering this kind of equipment on loan as &ldquo;weird,&rdquo; Jacobsen replied: &quot;Weird is not really what they say. It&#39;s more surprise like &#39;Really?&#39; We are just branded books and that&#39;s just the way we are seen.&quot;</p><p><strong>How did Shanlie take this?</strong></p><p>After getting a preview of our list, Shanlie Ann Stead called the idea of public libraries stocking sculptures as &quot;cool&quot; and fishing poles as &quot;romantic.&quot; She also recognized the significance of libraries like Skokie moving to offer equipment like green screens for media production.</p><p>&ldquo;I find that very progressive. Personally I think that was a really great thing for them considering the age of technology we live in,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Compare that to a fishing pole. There&#39;s a lot of area in between there.&quot;</p><p><strong>The honorable mentions</strong></p><p>Here are other interesting items available in metropolitan Chicago libraries:</p><ul dir="ltr"><li><p>At the Joliet Public Library, <strong>two American Girl dolls</strong>, Addy and Josefina, are hot items.</p></li><li><p>At the Waukegan Public Library, people can check out <strong>3D puzzles</strong>.</p></li><li><p><strong>Video games</strong> are available at various libraries including Libertyville&rsquo;s Cook Memorial Public Library and in Aurora.</p></li><li><p>Though Aurora has disbanded its <strong>art print collection</strong>, the Des Plaines Public Library still lends out similar art.</p></li><li><p>Aurora also has about 20 file cabinets of <strong>sheet music</strong>.</p></li><li><p>Skokie lends out <strong>animal puppets</strong> to go along with certain children&rsquo;s books.</p></li><li>Along the lines of creation at the public library, Chicago&rsquo;s Harold Washington Library Center recently became home to a &quot;maker lab,&quot; which allows those taking classes to use software to create objects using <strong>3D printers and computerized wood carving machines.</strong></li></ul><p>Did we miss anything Shanlie Ann Stead should know about? Drop a comment below if you&rsquo;ve checked out something notable from a Chicago area library. What was it? Where did you check it out from? When?</p><p><em>Tanveer Ali is a freelance producer who has worked for organizations that include WBEZ, the Chicago News Cooperative and DNAinfo.com. Follow him @tanveerali.</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Jul 2013 14:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/libraries-beyond-books-108170 Morning Shift: Get your summer book bag ready http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-06-21/morning-shift-get-your-summer-book-bag-ready-107794 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Reading Books Train-Flickr-mootown.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Literary critic Donna Seaman is always excited to share new book ideas. Summer is officially upon us on Friday so she discusses some titles that you can take on road trips or to the beach. What are you excited to read this summer?</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-get-your-summer-book-bag-ready.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-get-your-summer-book-bag-ready" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Get your summer book bag ready" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Fri, 21 Jun 2013 08:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-06-21/morning-shift-get-your-summer-book-bag-ready-107794 Perusing Chicago Public Library data: Rogers Park ranks high among bookworms, Great Gatsby flies off shelf and eBook checkouts on the rise http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2013-06/perusing-chicago-public-library-data-rogers-park-ranks-high-among-bookworms-great <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cardcat.jpg" title="(Flickr/Megan Amaral)" /></div><p>Chicago&#39;s open data program has some detractors, but most can agree that we like books. Or at the very least Rogers Park does, according to city data.</p><p>The Chicago Public Library system, one of the largest in the country and in place since 1873, has kept a meticulous set of records.</p><p>Libraries could well be considered some of the earliest adopters of open data as they ditched card catalogues&nbsp;and rubber stamps for computerized records. Librarians are professional catalogers, and so to bridge the print and digital worlds, we wanted to take a look at some of the data CPL has to offer.</p><p>What we found:</p><ul><li>The Great Gatsby saw a resurgence as interest was likely piqued by a movie release&nbsp;</li><li>Rogers Park ranks among the highest in checkouts for neighborhood branches&nbsp;</li><li>eBook checkouts are on the rise</li></ul><p>What&#39;s in CPL&#39;s data trove?<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CPLcard.jpg" style="float: right;" title="" /></p><p style="margin-bottom: 3px;">Among the data sets on the city&#39;s portal site:</p><ul><li style="margin-bottom: 3px;"><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/Libraries-2013-Circulation-by-Location/ti44-vee7">2013 - circulation by branch</a></li><li style="margin-bottom: 3px;"><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/Libraries-2012-Circulation-by-Location/jsdv-pwf2">2012 -&nbsp;circulation by branch</a></li><li style="margin-bottom: 3px;"><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/Libraries-2011-Circulation-by-Location/tfmt-mmy2">2011 -&nbsp;circulation by branch</a></li><li style="margin-bottom: 3px;"><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/Libraries-2013-Visitors-by-Location/x74m-smqb?utm_source=twitterfeed&amp;utm_medium=twitter">2013 - visitors by location</a></li><li style="margin-bottom: 3px;"><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/Libraries-Popular-Fiction-Titles-at-the-Chicago-Pu/nv46-bxa3">Current Popular Fiction Titles at the Chicago Public Library</a></li><li style="margin-bottom: 3px;"><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/Popular-Nonfiction-Titles-at-the-Chicago-Public-Li/6mc3-ah7p">Current Popular Nonfiction Titles at the Chicago Public Library</a></li><li style="margin-bottom: 3px;"><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/Libraries-WiFi-Usage/vbts-zqt4">2011-2012 monthly wifi usage</a></li></ul><p style="margin-bottom: 3px;"><strong>The Great Checkout</strong></p><p style="margin-bottom: 3px;">According to the popular fiction titles, &quot;The Great Gatsby,&quot; first published in 1925, now ranks among the top reads in Chicago. After tabulating the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chipublib.org/search/details/cn/834986">data from CPL&#39;s website</a>, we&#39;ve found that Chicagoans are moving the copies between libraries, interest has started to wane in some branches and a decent amount of copies were placed on hold.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 3px;">Why the uptick?</p><p style="margin-bottom: 3px;">&ldquo;We often do, a lot of people when you know you want to go see a movie and when you read the book you want to read the book first,&rdquo; said Ruth Lednicer, spokesperson for CPL.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 3px;"><em><strong>Chart:</strong> Checkouts, holds and available copies of &quot;The Great Gatsby&quot; in the Chicago Public Library system as of 6/11/2013</em></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gatsby-chart.jpg" title="" /></p><p><strong>eBooks are on the rise</strong></p><p>While CPL has grown its eBook capabilities, starting first with Sony and Barnes &amp; Noble Nook readers, the greatest increase came after <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/7826261-418/chicago-public-libary-now-has-kindle-books.html">Amazon launched its library lending program</a>, which at the time opened up over 3,536 titles to Chicagoans using Kindles.</p><p>How many checkouts are we talking about?</p><p>Well, in January of 2011, there were 13,841 eBook checkouts. In April of 2013, there were 35,651. That&#39;s a 158 percent increase.</p><script type="text/javascript" src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/static/modules/gviz/1.0/chart.js"> {"dataSourceUrl":"//docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/tq?key=0AoxVpL8Zenp3dGZiY1BHbXVnYVljM1JhSnlKS0MxcHc&transpose=1&headers=1&range=A6%3AAC7&gid=0&pub=1","options":{"titleTextStyle":{"bold":true,"color":"#000","fontSize":16},"vAxes":[{"title":null,"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"logScale":false,"maxValue":null},{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"logScale":false,"maxValue":null}],"series":{"0":{"color":"#ff9900","areaOpacity":"0.7"}},"title":"eBook checkouts for CPL for 2011-2013","booleanRole":"certainty","animation":{"duration":500},"backgroundColor":{"fill":"#6d9eeb"},"legend":"in","theme":"maximized","hAxis":{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindowMode":null,"viewWindow":null,"maxValue":null},"tooltip":{},"isStacked":true,"width":620,"height":350},"state":{},"view":{},"isDefaultVisualization":true,"chartType":"AreaChart","chartName":"Chart 2"} </script><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Which neighborhood has the most bookworms?</strong></p><p>Chicagoans, ever competitive with their rival neighborhoods, may be interested to know how their library stacks up among others, or how often they&#39;re being utilized. Interestingly enough, Chicagoans read more during the winter months.</p><p>Also, the Rogers Park branch ranks among the highest in checkouts for 2012. This may be in part due to a heavy immigrant community, which adopts English by reading books and a neighboring school, according to CPL&#39;s Lednicer.</p><p>The Lincoln Belmont branch also ranks as one of the highest in checkins, just behind the Sulzer Regional Branch and the Harold Washington Library Center.</p><p>Sometimes the stats can be skewed, such as the Edgewater branch, which is currently operating out of a bookmobile while their new branch on Broadway is being contructed.</p><div><p style="margin-bottom: 3px;"><span style="color: rgb(128, 128, 128);"><span style="font-size: 9px;">Circulation figures include new checkouts as well as renewals. In January all branch locations were closed on Monday, January 9, Monday, January 23 and Monday, January 30. Beginning in February, all branch locations restored partial Monday hours, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. On June 18, all branch locations restored full Monday hours. Edgewater closed 6/16/11 for construction of a new branch scheduled to open in mid-2013. The library&rsquo;s bookmobile opened 6/24/11 for Edgewater holds pickup and returns. Douglass closed for 10 days in February for roof repairs. Humboldt Park closed 3/26/12 for facility improvements and expansion. Lincoln Park closed for four days in August for replacement of the air conditioning system. Many locations experienced sporadic closures in summer 2012 due to air conditioning issues and area power outages. Albany Park closed 9/22/12 for construction of a new branch and will remain closed until 2014. Brighton Park, Jefferson Park and Portage Cragin were closed 11/26/12-12/7/12 for replacement of their HVAC systems.</span></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 3px;"><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/2012-circulation-by-branch/7s85-yjiw" style="font-size: 12px; font-weight: bold; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: arial;" target="_blank">2012 circulation by branch</a></p><iframe frameborder="0" height="600" scrolling="no" src="https://data.cityofchicago.org/w/7s85-yjiw/3q3f-6823?cur=2wxuuMTy5b2&amp;from=root" title="2012 circulation by branch" width="620">&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a data-cke-saved-href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/2012-circulation-by-branch/7s85-yjiw&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/2012-circulation-by-branch/7s85-yjiw&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; title=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;2012 circulation by branch&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; target=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;_blank&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;2012 circulation by branch&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;</iframe><p><a href="http://www.socrata.com/" target="_blank">Powered by Socrata</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div><p style="margin-bottom: 3px;"><span style="color: rgb(128, 128, 128);"><span style="font-size: 9px;">Circulation figures include new checkouts as well as renewals. The Chicago Public Library opened four new locations in 2011: Greater Grand Crossing (4/23/11); Dunning (5/6/11); Daley, Richard M.-W Humboldt (7/8/11) and Little Village (10/3/11). Edgewater closed 6/16/11 for construction of a new branch; a bookmobile for holds pickup and returns opened 6/24/11. Altgeld closed for extended periods in July and August for air conditioning installation. Back of the Yards closed permanently 8/22/11 due to repeated flooding. All locations were closed February 2-February 3 due to weather. In addition, many locations experienced sporadic closures in summer 2011 due to weather-related issues.</span></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 3px;"><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/2011-circulation-by-branch/mfzh-6ud2" style="font-size: 12px; font-weight: bold; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: arial;" target="_blank">2011 circulation by branch</a></p><iframe frameborder="0" height="600" scrolling="no" src="https://data.cityofchicago.org/w/mfzh-6ud2/3q3f-6823?cur=d4_htKt3S7C&amp;from=root" title="2011 circulation by branch" width="620">&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a data-cke-saved-href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/2011-circulation-by-branch/mfzh-6ud2&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/2011-circulation-by-branch/mfzh-6ud2&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; title=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;2011 circulation by branch&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; target=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;_blank&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;2011 circulation by branch&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;</iframe><p><a href="http://www.socrata.com/" target="_blank">Powered by Socrata</a></p><p><strong>What&#39;s trending in CPL?</strong></p><p>While the New York Times Bestseller List may be a good indicator of what the nation is reading, in Chicago, the closest thing we may have is the most popular titles data set.</p><p><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/Popular-Nonfiction-Titles-at-the-Chicago-Public-Li/6mc3-ah7p" style="font-size: 12px; font-weight: bold; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: arial;" target="_blank">Popular Nonfiction Titles at the Chicago Public Library</a></p><div><iframe frameborder="0" height="600" scrolling="no" src="https://data.cityofchicago.org/w/6mc3-ah7p/3q3f-6823?cur=Qf_PBMqsn3D&amp;from=root" title="Popular Nonfiction Titles at the Chicago Public Library" width="620">&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a data-cke-saved-href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/Popular-Nonfiction-Titles-at-the-Chicago-Public-Li/6mc3-ah7p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/Popular-Nonfiction-Titles-at-the-Chicago-Public-Li/6mc3-ah7p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; title=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;Popular Nonfiction Titles at the Chicago Public Library&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; target=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;_blank&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;Popular Nonfiction Titles at the Chicago Public Library&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;</iframe><p><a href="http://www.socrata.com/" target="_blank">Powered by Socrata</a></p><p><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/Libraries-Popular-Fiction-Titles-at-the-Chicago-Pu/nv46-bxa3" style="font-size: 12px; font-weight: bold; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: arial;" target="_blank">Libraries - Popular Fiction Titles at the Chicago Public Library</a></p><div><iframe frameborder="0" height="600" scrolling="no" src="https://data.cityofchicago.org/w/nv46-bxa3/3q3f-6823?cur=Y8D_UbXD1sl&amp;from=root" title="Libraries - Popular Fiction Titles at the Chicago Public Library" width="620">&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a data-cke-saved-href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/Libraries-Popular-Fiction-Titles-at-the-Chicago-Pu/nv46-bxa3&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;https://data.cityofchicago.org/Education/Libraries-Popular-Fiction-Titles-at-the-Chicago-Pu/nv46-bxa3&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; title=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;Libraries - Popular Fiction Titles at the Chicago Public Library&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; target=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;_blank&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;Libraries - Popular Fiction Titles at the Chicago Public Library&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;</iframe><p><a href="http://www.socrata.com/" target="_blank">Powered by Socrata</a></p><p>In a sea of Twitter and Facebook updates, the data does indicate the Chicago&#39;s libraries are not just well used, they&#39;re booming from computer use, eBook checkouts and more.&nbsp;</p><p>The data would seem to suggest: Chicagoans give a hoot.</p></div></div></div></div><p><em>&mdash; Elliott Ramos is a data reporter and Web producer for WBEZ (and a card-carrying member of Chicago&#39;s Public Library system). Email him at&nbsp;<a href="mailto:eramos@wbez.org">eramos@wbez.org</a>&nbsp;or follow at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/ChicagoEl">@ChicagoEl</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 11 Jun 2013 10:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2013-06/perusing-chicago-public-library-data-rogers-park-ranks-high-among-bookworms-great Society of Midland Authors Award Winners Speak at Printers Row http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/society-midland-authors-award-winners-speak-printers-row-107981 <p><p>An appearance by three of the Society of Midland Authors Award winners at the Chicago Tribune&#39;s 2013 Printers Row Lit Fest.This event features: Jack Driscoll, co-winner for adult fiction for &quot;The World of a Few Minutes Ago&quot;; Neil Steinberg, winner for adult nonfiction for &quot;You Were Never in Chicago&quot;; Mary Losure, winner for children&#39;s nonfiction for &quot;The Fairy Ring: Or Elsie and Frances Fool the World.&quot;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SMA-webstory_10.gif" title="" /></div><p>Recorded live Saturday, June 8, 2013 at Grace Place.</p></p> Sat, 08 Jun 2013 13:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/society-midland-authors-award-winners-speak-printers-row-107981 The Stephen Rodrick interview http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-05/stephen-rodrick-interview-107320 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sr.authorpic%20final2.jpg" style="float: right; height: 428px; width: 300px;" title="Author Stephen Rodrick (Jeff Minton)" />Stephen Rodrick&#39;s &quot;<a href="http://www.themagicalstranger.com/#!the-book/cdjd" target="_blank">The Magical Stranger: A Son&#39;s Journey Into His Magical Life</a>,&quot; explores the life of his father, a Navy pilot who died when his plane crashed into the ocean, through the lens of current members of his dad&#39;s former squadron as he traveled with them on their aircraft carrier. You may also know him as the <em>New York Times</em> author of &quot;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/magazine/here-is-what-happens-when-you-cast-lindsay-lohan-in-your-movie.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie</a>,&quot; the fascinating look at...well, you can figure it out. <span class="font_8">He is a contributing writer for <em><span class="italic">The New York Times Magazine</span></em> and a contributing editor for <span class="italic"><em>Men&#39;s Journal</em> and </span></span><span class="font_8">his work has been anthologized&nbsp; in <span class="italic">The Best American Sports Writing</span>, <span class="italic">The Best American Crime Writing</span> and <span class="italic">The Best American Political Writing</span></span><span class="font_8">. He has also written for <em><span class="italic">New York</span>, <span class="italic">Rolling Stone</span>, <span class="italic">GQ</span>,</em> and <em><span class="italic">The New Republic</span></em>. </span>Chicagoans, you can watch him speak Thursday&nbsp;<a href="http://www.medill.northwestern.edu/newsreleases/archives.aspx?id=221657" target="_blank">at Northwestern</a> and later&nbsp;<a href="http://newcityrodrick.eventbrite.com/#" target="_blank">at the Boarding House</a>, so check him out.</p><div><div><div><div><p><strong>I know a lot of people in the book opted not to read it until it came out, but how much did you feel compelled to alert about what you would publishing about them?</strong><br />Not as many as you&#39;d think. Most of my family members and the guys in the Navy said &quot;Write what you see.&quot; That was incredibly freeing. The only person who got a pre-read was my Mom and we worked out her problems with it, that wasn&#39;t easy, but we got through it.</p><p><strong>Why now?</strong><br />My dad&#39;s plane, the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_Grumman_EA-6B_Prowler" target="_blank">EA-6B Prowler</a> was finally being retired. It was my Dad&#39;s plane. If I was going to follow his old plane with his final squadron it had to be now. So that was a great motivator.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>In <a href="http://www.theawl.com/2013/05/how-to-write-about-tragedy-andor-lindsay-lohan-advice-from-stephen-rodrick" target="_blank">an interview with the Awl</a> you discuss your initial efforts to sell the story, which were unsuccessful. As a magazine writer I imagine you have a lot of experience pitching stories: what&rsquo;s the difference when it&rsquo;s your own life, both in terms of the pitch and how you feel if it gets passed on?</strong><br />Actually, I wasn&#39;t unsuccessful. I sent in my proposal, my agent slapped a cover page on it and we had an auction a few days later. The editor I mentioned passed on it, but there were other offers on the table thank goodness. We sent it out to probably seven or eight places, some passed, some didn&#39;t. The different in pitching this versus a magazine piece is I knew what I wanted to do and was prepared to take less money from a place that would let me tell the story as I wanted it to be written. That isn&#39;t always possible in magazines.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>What are some of the biggest real-life cliches about living on an aircraft carrier?</strong><br />The noise. You can not imagine how loud the flight deck is. You can not imagine how a catapult launch will nearly shake you out of your bunk. There is noise everywhere and all the time.</p></div><strong>What&rsquo;s one (or two or three) things you wished you had packed for carrier life that you hadn&rsquo;t?</strong><br />I wished I&#39;d packed ear plugs and more clothes. Trying to do laundry on a boat with 5,000 men and women was a real &quot;Lord of the Flies&quot; experience.</div><br /><strong>In that Awl interview you talk about the parallels between being a military kid and the transience of a magazine writer&rsquo;s life. For someone considering doing what you do, what tips do you have for making it easier to pick up and move quickly to a new story and location?</strong><br />An understanding spouse. If you don&#39;t have a partner who is independent enough to survive when you&#39;re gone 10 weeks of the year, it&#39;s going to be tough. And try to park yourself in a place where stories are happening all around. If you&#39;re in Chicago, stay in Chicago. Plenty of great stories here.</div><br /><strong>I&rsquo;m curious how you pitched the Lindsay Lohan story to your editor at the <em>Times</em>, because while it was a story about Lindsay Lohan and what a mess she is, obviously it was much more than that.&nbsp;</strong></div><p>It was really simple: Lindsay Lohan. Bret Easton Ellis. Paul Schrader. The porn star next door. Complete access. That story was green-lighted in about ten minutes. That is the exact opposite of most pitches and it was because I knew Schrader a little and I emailed him directly and didn&#39;t have to go through a squadron of publicists. Lohan&#39;s people balked, but Schrader insisted to his everlasting credit.<br /><br /><strong>How much do you hold on to grudges when it comes to stories you&rsquo;ve pitched and believed in, that got killed? Are there any that you still lament didn&rsquo;t see the light of day?</strong><br />I try not to bear grudges, but there is a certain pain when you see your idea at another magazine simply because you couldn&#39;t convince your editor of the idea. It doesn&#39;t get easier as you get old. <a href="http://gawker.com/376100/i-love-being-a-caricature-julia-allison-profiled-as-car+stealing-blithe-spirit" target="_blank">I did a story on Wilmette native Julia Allison</a> who was basically internet famous for no real reason. It got killed by <em>New York</em> and I place it elsewhere. I think it&#39;s one of my best profiles and it&#39;s a bummer it didn&#39;t reach a larger audience</p><div><div><div><strong>Which athletes, either who you&rsquo;ve profiled or you&rsquo;ve just followed as a fan, do you think have established some of the best post-athletic-career lives and careers?</strong></div><div>That&#39;s a good question. Many of the players I written about&mdash;Brett Favre, Riddick Bowe, Dennis Rodman&mdash;has struggled mightily in retirement. Grant Hill is retiring this year. I suspect he will do great things<br /><br /><strong>What are some of your favorite pieces of creative nonfiction?</strong></div><div>Updike&#39;s &quot;<a href="http://www.baseball-almanac.com/articles/hub_fans_bid_kid_adieu_article.shtml" target="_blank">Hub Fans Bid The Kid Adieu.</a>&quot; Anything by Julian Barnes. The flying stuff by James Salter is the best.<br />&nbsp;</div><div><p><strong>How does it feel to be the 350th person interviewed for Zulkey.com/WBEZ?</strong><br />Grateful and unworthy.</p></div></div></div><p><em>Follow Claire Zulkey&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey">@Zulkey</a> You can find previous Zulkey.com interviews <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/interviews.php" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 23 May 2013 07:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-05/stephen-rodrick-interview-107320 What is the ultimate Chicago book? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-ultimate-chicago-book-107060 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Mosaic.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p dir="ltr">Curious Citizen <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/archive/question/473">Pavel Gigov asked a question</a> a few months ago that might have been answered in Rachel Shteir&#39;s recent <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/books/review/the-third-coast-by-thomas-dyja-and-more.html?pagewanted=all" target="_blank">New York Times Book Review article</a>. Pavel wants to know which single book could teach him the most about Chicago. In Shteir&#39;s infamous review of three recent books about Chicago, she gave short shrift to the city&#39;s literary context, instead focusing on myriad problems plaguing &quot;Poor Chicago.&quot; Nearly three weeks out and, with our collective ire down to simmering, now is as good a time as any to answer Pavel&#39;s question.</p><p>To start off, we reached out to someone who&rsquo;s at least familiar with the theme: Annie Tully, who directs the <a href="http://www.chipublib.org/eventsprog/programs/onebook_onechgo.php" target="_blank">One Book, One Chicago</a> program at the Chicago Public Library. After huddling with library staff and consulting their <a href="http://www.chipublib.org/list/read/id/43/" target="_blank">master</a> <a href="http://www.chipublib.org/list/read/id/31/" target="_blank">lists</a>, she sent us a list of titles that could potentially fit the bill for Pavel. That list, produced below, includes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children&#39;s literature and graphic novels. While <em>The Encyclopedia of Chicago</em> contains a lot of facts about the city, <em>Chicago Poems</em> by Carl Sandberg may convey more essential truths. Could Gwendolyn Brooks&rsquo; <em>Bronzeville Boys and Girls</em> be more instructive than Mike Royko&#39;s early columns?</p><p dir="ltr">Of course we can&#39;t settle on one book to define Chicago, because there are as many &ldquo;Chicagos&rdquo; as there are Chicagoans. Rachel Shteir would certainly have a different choice (<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/books/review/up-front.html?_r=0" target="_blank">possibly <em>Sister Carrie</em></a>)<em> </em>than <a href="http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2013/04/steinberg-v-the-new-york-times-.html" target="_blank">Neil Steinberg</a>. But that just means we get to have a conversation about our choices and hopefully understand more about the vast array of different Chicagos.</p><p>So please choose a book from this list that best explains Chicago as you understand it. If your choice isn&#39;t listed, please add it. Maybe Rick Kogan&#39;s <em>Dr. Night Life </em>should be included, who knows? We&#39;ll talk about the top five books next Monday on <em>Morning Shift</em>.</p><script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://static.polldaddy.com/p/7085758.js"></script><noscript><a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/7085758/">If there was one book that one should purchase in order to learn the most about Chicago, which one would it be?</a></noscript><p dir="ltr"><em>Andrew Gill is a WBEZ web producer. Follow him <a href="http://www.twitter.com/andrewgill">@andrewgill.</a></em></p></p> Tue, 07 May 2013 14:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-ultimate-chicago-book-107060 Interview with 'Sexy Feminism' co-author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-05/interview-sexy-feminism-co-author-jennifer-keishin-armstrong-106958 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/JKA%20author%20photo%20official.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Jennifer Kieshin Armstrong (Photo courtesy A. Jesse Jiryu Davis)" />I chat with a homegirl today, who grew up in the Chicago suburbs before moving to New York, where she spent a decade on staff at <em>Entertainment Weekly,&nbsp;</em>cofounded SexyFeminist.com, and now writes for several publications, including <em>Women&rsquo;s Health, Runner&rsquo;s World, Writer&rsquo;s Digest, Fast Company, </em>and <em>New York</em>&lsquo;s Vulture. Jennifer Keishin Armstrong&#39;s history of <em>The Mary Tyler Moore Show</em>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Lou-Rhoda-Ted-History/dp/1451659202/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1345127707&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=mary+and+lou+and+ted+and+rhoda" target="_blank"><em>Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted</em></a>, is coming out on Tuesday, while&nbsp; her collaboration with Heather Wood Rudulph, <a href="http://jenniferkarmstrong.com/about-girls-just-wanna-have-success-style-and-love-heres-how-being-a-sexy-feminist-can-make-it-happen/" target="_blank"><em>Sexy Feminism</em></a>, was released earlier this year. She has provided pop culture commentary for CNN, VH1, A&amp;E, and ABC and teaches for Gotham Writers&#39; Workshop. You can learn a lot more about her <a href="http://jenniferkarmstrong.com/" target="_blank">here</a>.</div><p dir="ltr"><strong>I&rsquo;m guilty of this myself but often, women criticize other women&rsquo;s definitions of feminism. What were some criticisms you anticipated people lobbing towards <em>Sexy Feminism</em> that you wanted to head off at the pass and address within it? </strong><br />We knew when we named our website <a href="http://sexyfeminist.com/">Sexy Feminist</a> (and then our book Sexy Feminism) that we were being a little, you know, provocative. But we knew it would start specific discussions, and we were right. Our thing is that we&#39;re definitely NOT delineating ourselves from other feminists somehow&mdash;you know, we&#39;re sexy feminists, and the others aren&#39;t&mdash;but we&#39;re saying that, despite continued misperception, ALL feminism is sexy. And we&#39;ll stop calling our website Sexy Feminist when everyone gets that. The idea is to stop people who have not necessarily identified as feminists but who are feminist-curious to look at the book or the site and want to learn more.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Tell me about the cover of the book: what were some other possibilities (if any) that were considered?</strong><br />The only other possibility we got from the publisher was a very straightforward cover with no photos or graphics, which we thought was a little ... less than exciting, given the provocative name. This was the alternative we ended up with after sharing that feedback with them, and we felt okay about it. It&#39;s attention-grabbing, and that lipgloss is so fantastic that I ended up going out to hunt down anything I could find at Sephora that came close. (Hot tip: <a href="http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?skuId=2220263&amp;productId=xlsImpprod2430005&amp;navAction=push&amp;navCount=1">Tarte&#39;s lip crayon in &quot;Enchanted&quot;</a> is my new favorite toy, and Tarte is one of our feminist-friendly cosmetic companies named in the book. Win win!)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>What do you think are examples of pop culture that got feminism right both in terms of definition/idealism but also by demonstrating it in an everyday, practical way?</strong><br />I feel a professional obligation to say this, but I also believe it: <a href="http://jenniferkarmstrong.com/about-mary-and-lou-and-rhoda-and-ted/">The Mary Tyler Moore Show</a>. They weren&#39;t trying to be feminist, but the movement was so much in the air at the time, and they had so many feminist-identified women writing for the show, that it came through. I always say Mary Richards was the original Sexy Feminist. She really came into her empowerment throughout the series, and we saw her argue for equal pay to her male predecessor, we saw her talk about the pressures of being the only woman in the newsroom, and we saw her (mostly in later years) assert herself strongly with men. In one of the last episodes, she even asked Lou Grant out. It didn&#39;t work out, but still.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>You&rsquo;ve written books about <em>The Mary Tyler Moore Show</em> and <a href="http://jenniferkarmstrong.com/about-my-book/">the <em>Mickey Mouse Club</em></a>. What are some books about shows you&rsquo;d read if they were written &nbsp;(but don&rsquo;t want to write yourself?)</strong><br />I love this question, because I can tell you that when figuring out my next book (which is now officially <em>Seinfeld</em>) I basically just pored over lists of TV shows. The ones I feel like I definitely can&#39;t tackle are sci-fi shows: I love some of them but don&#39;t have the geek-level knowledge required. So I think about stuff like <em>Buffy the Vampire Slayer </em>or <em>Lost</em>. Those are the two that I think could hold up to book treatment, but I&#39;m not necessarily the right author for them.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Tell me about what you do as a career coach/consultant. And what do you do when you feel like you need consulting?</strong><br />I&#39;m very good at running other people&#39;s lives! Actually, I have to admit I think I&#39;ve had a pretty good run in my own career so far, and I really do like helping other people figure out how to make those key decisions that can make a difference. Most of the time, it&#39;s that people are simply frozen into inaction by fear&mdash;fear of failing, fear of succeeding. And writing, in particular, is such a baffling career path full of constant decisions. You don&#39;t just take the corporate job and then wait 50 years so you can get your gold watch. So I can talk to clients about everything from getting their first few publication credits to moving to the next level of publications to getting an agent or going freelance full-time. It&#39;s funny you ask about what I do when I need consulting, because I&#39;ve just recently started feeling that itch, like, okay, what now? I&#39;ve started looking for mentors to befriend so I can ask them for a little advice in exchange for a few rounds of drinks; I also went to a great conference last week run by ASJA, and got tons of ideas for ways to advance my career more.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>What&rsquo;s something really unfeminist that you like? (Sometimes I dance to really misogynistic music.)</strong><br />Oh, man, I do love me some &quot;In da Club&quot; and &quot;Big Pimpin.&#39;&quot; They&#39;re just good songs. I also happen to really enjoy watching <em>The Bachelor</em>/<em>Bachelorette</em>. I always say I will allow myself to watch them because I have studied media and feminism enough that I watch them with a (very) critical lens, and because I don&#39;t personally have a Nielsen box, so I&#39;m not actually affecting the ratings. If I get a Nielsen box, it must stop immediately.<br /><br /><strong>When you worked at <em>Entertainment Weekly</em>, which fanbases tended to respond most rabidly when you wrote about their favorite show/artist/movie etc?</strong><br />Well, despite my claims that I couldn&#39;t write a whole <em>Lost</em> book, I did do some reporting on <em>Lost</em> in my day, and, you know, you can imagine that fan base. But more surprisingly, people get just as into their <em>Grey&#39;s Anatomy</em>, for instance. I used to recap that and couldn&#39;t ever read the message board comments. They were very, very passionate, and channeled that passion into being not-always-kind to me.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Who are some of your favorite sexy feminists in pop culture (and you cannot name either Tina Fey or Amy Poehler.)</strong><br />Ha! Those ladies do rule, but I&#39;ve been totally enamored of Lena Dunham of late. If you watch or read her interviews, man, that girl is scary smart. And a totally out-and-proud feminist. She takes the loads of criticism of her work quite beautifully, and I think her constant nakedness onscreen really is revolutionary the way she does it. We truly do need to see more body types besides 90 pounds and 5-foot-10 with Olympic-level abs. I also adore Mindy Kaling, and her show does a lot of subtly feminist things: Her character is great at her job and clearly smart, even though she&#39;s a little boy crazy and talks like a teenager. But more importantly, she has this insane sexual confidence that I think makes her a strangely wonderful role model to young women. Also, she&#39;s unbelievably funny, in her own way.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>You&rsquo;ve worked with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-wood/">Heather Wood</a> for a long time (<a href="http://www.mediabistro.com/mbtoolbox/pop-quiz-jennifer-armstrong_b1721">back when I interviewed you for MBToolBox about Sirens Mag</a>.) Why do you two work so well together and what tips do you have for working with a longtime collaborator?</strong><br />We definitely just have that mind-meld thing happening. We&#39;re each totally comfortable letting the other speak on our behalf as a team. I&#39;m an independent spirit, but it&#39;s nice to have a collaborator to fall back on sometimes when your life gets crazy with book deadlines or personal stuff. It&#39;s the best when I log onto the site and see that she&#39;s posted new content or edited a piece I&#39;d been neglecting. We can talk each other off professional ledges sometimes, too. The main thing is to treat it almost like a romantic relationship. Keep lines of communication open and constantly express appreciation. One of the things I&#39;ve noticed we automatically do, and I like, is to always thank each other. If she sees that I put up a new post, she thanks me. If she does our taxes, I thank her. I&#39;ve actually carried this over into my romantic relationship, and it works wonders!</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>How does it feel to be the 347th person interviewed for Zulkey.com?</strong><br />I feel really good about that number. There&#39;s something auspicious about it.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Follow Claire Zulkey <a href="http://twitter.com/Zulkey" target="_blank">@zulkey</a>, check out previous interviews <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/interviews.php">here</a> or see her at <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/funnyhaha.php">Funny Ha-Ha</a> tonight.</em></p></p> Fri, 03 May 2013 08:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-05/interview-sexy-feminism-co-author-jennifer-keishin-armstrong-106958 The Emily Bazelon interview http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-04/emily-bazelon-interview-106721 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Emily Bazelon_Credit Nina Subin.jpg" style="height: 423px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Photo: Nina Subin" />You&#39;d think that with the It Gets Better project and a lower tolerance for bad behavior, bullying would be on its way out as a social phenomenon. Unfortunately, it seems like every day another story comes out about someone who took his or her own life due to torment they received from their peers. Today&#39;s interviewee has been very busy discussing what she learned while researching her book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Sticks-Stones-Defeating-Rediscovering-Character/dp/0812992806/ref=la_B00ABOMYSG_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1366306956&amp;sr=1-1">Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy</a>. In addition to that, she is a writer and senior editor of Slate, where she edits the legal column, &quot;<a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence.html">Jurisprudence</a>&quot;,&nbsp; is co-editor of its blog on women&#39;s issues, <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor.html">XX Factor</a> and regularly appears on <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/gabfest.html">Political Gabfest</a>, a weekly Slate podcast with David Plotz and John Dickerson. She is also a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine and her writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, Mother Jones, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The New Republic, and other publications.&nbsp; You can find out more about her <a href="http://emilybazelon.com/">here</a>.</div><p dir="ltr"><strong>If you had to choose between your child being a bully or being the victim of bullying, which would you pick?</strong><br />If I had to choose&mdash;of course I would rather not--I would actually rather have my kids be targets. The reason is not actually that I think that would make their lives easier. When you look at the research, the targets of bullying (now, it doesn&rsquo;t happen to everyone)&mdash;but most kids can overcome this kind of adversity, but there is a higher risk of psychological problems in the short term and long term. And there also is a link to low academic performance. And I just care enormously about my kids&rsquo; treating other people well. It would kill me if they were singling out another kid to persecute them, which is what I think bullying is--that&rsquo;s the definition I think we should use. My book has made me think a lot as a parent about whether we collectively emphasize individual achievement and happiness more than we do moral development and the sense of the collective good as we&rsquo;re raising our kids.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>When I was a kid, I was really obsessed with my friends talking about me, and when you write online, that happens in real time. So I&rsquo;ve sort of been amazed by the thick skin that I&rsquo;ve been able to build up over time writing online because you can&rsquo;t take it all to heart. I wonder whether you&rsquo;ve noticed if kids have been able to develop any coping mechanisms in terms of dealing with online bullying, or whether being able to take it or ignore comes more with adulthood.</strong><br />You know, I haven&rsquo;t seen anyone compare adults and kids. My sense is that kids are not going to be as good at having a thick skin. I agree with you, I try to have a thick skin, but a lot of adults actually don&rsquo;t. I think the issue with kids is that developmentally speaking, they&rsquo;re just more vulnerable. They don&rsquo;t have it all figured out. It&rsquo;s harder sometimes for them to have perspective, even to separate the short term from the long term, right? I think that cyber bullying can be really damaging for kids. Luckily, as we were saying earlier, that&rsquo;s not always the case, and most kids can make it through. But when you see some of the cruelty that goes on online, it&rsquo;s not surprising to see findings for example, that 25% of 12 and 13-year-old girls say that they saw something written online that made them not want to go to school the next day. That kind of finding suggests we&rsquo;re not talking about stuff that every kid can just shrug off.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>How do you know, based on being a mom but also the research you&rsquo;ve done, what&rsquo;s the fine line between letting the kids work it out for themselves and when do authority figures intervene?</strong><br />I feel like, you take your cue from your kid. You listen and talk to your kid really carefully about what&rsquo;s going on. If you feel like your kid is becoming withdrawn and depressed and it&rsquo;s continuing over a significant period of time, then you have to step in. I don&rsquo;t think that your first instinct should be to jump in and try to intervene in a really policing sort of way, because a lot of times kids do need space to solve their own conflicts. If you talk to your kid, they may not want you to take that kind of step, because they&rsquo;ll be worried about what the consequences will be with their peers. Sometimes you have to override children about those types of instincts. But I think it&rsquo;s a good idea to start off relatively cautiously. One thing I always say, is that parents should talk to kids about what they think the solution should be. Because then you end up often with both an attempt at a solution that makes more sense, but also you&rsquo;re giving kids the capacity to problem-solve. One of the hallmarks of resilience is that you learn to believe that when you work hard to make a problem better and to overcome adversity, you&rsquo;re going to succeed. So it seems like in here is an opportunity for parents to really help kids build up exactly the kind of skills they need later in life to overcome problems, because obviously they are going to face trouble and conflict later on.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Do you think bullied kids have it easier now, because more people have an eye out for them? Or is it harder, because of the internet?</strong><br />I think the internet can make it harder because it feels very 24/7 and prevalent to kids, and they can feel exposed in front of a bigger audience. There&rsquo;s the sense of the visibility of the bullying, and the permanence of it. But I think you&rsquo;re also right about the heightened awareness--it just totally depends where you are. There is still a big problem with teachers turning a blind eye and underreacting. At the same time, we are seeing more vigilance and in some cases overreacting. It&rsquo;s this weird moment culturally where both of those things are going on.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Is it realistic to try to raise your kids offline?</strong><br />Forever? No. The way I think about it is this: As much delay as you can and then taking it step by step. So, I don&rsquo;t think that having ten and 11 year olds on social media sites is a good idea, and I&rsquo;m always amazed when parents just sort of seem to be like, &ldquo;Oh, I couldn&rsquo;t stop them!&rdquo; Well, why not? Don&rsquo;t they live in your house?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>They didn&rsquo;t want to try to stop them.</strong><br />Yeah, exactly! I don&rsquo;t really get that. At the same time there&rsquo;s some point at which access to the technology becomes a really important form of social capital. When I was growing up, my parents hated that I talked on the phone, but if they had taken the phone away from me entirely, that would have left me out of all kinds of things, right?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>I had parents who were strict with television</strong><strong>&mdash;</strong><strong>we didn&rsquo;t have cable when I was a kid, and I wasn&rsquo;t allowed to watch prime time TV until we were a certain age.</strong><br />I think limit setting is really helpful in this context. Some of the examples I give are like, maybe you feel your 13 year old is ready for a phone. But does your teen need a smart phone or would a &ldquo;dumb&rdquo; phone, that doesn&rsquo;t have the internet and doesn&rsquo;t have a camera would be a better match for what he can really handle technologically. That is the choice we have been making for our own son, who just actually lost his dumb phone! Perhaps he&rsquo;s not ready for the much more expensive item he would like to have. There are ways you can limit access in terms of hours of the day. One night, we realized our 13-year-old was sleeping with his phone under his pillow. It was innocent--he just wanted to know how a friend of his had done on her basketball game. But like, he doesn&rsquo;t need to know that at 10:30 at night. And also, what if he had gotten an upsetting message late, after we were all asleep, then what, you know? It seems like nothing good can come of any of that. There&rsquo;s no reason he needs the phone in the middle of the night. So we made a rule that the phones sleep downstairs and the people sleep upstairs.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Have you noticed since your book has come out any changes from any social media platforms, or schools that are in line with your book in terms of trying to counteract or prevent bullying?</strong><br />I think schools are becoming more and more aware of this. I hear about things like the &ldquo;delete day&rdquo; idea that I wrote about, which isn&rsquo;t my idea but I highlighted that idea&mdash;I&rsquo;ve heard that other schools are taking that on. I think the social media companies have been studiously ignoring this whole conversation and the only way that&rsquo;s going to change is if we their customers demand from them that they change how they deal with teenagers.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>One thing that frightens me, with having a little baby, is that the whole conversation that&rsquo;s happening right now about bullying is scary enough, but then I think, something will come along that will make it even easier for him to make someone&rsquo;s life or have his life made into a living hell. Facebook and Twitter will be so over.</strong><br />Well, it&rsquo;s happening already--the kids are migrating on to Instagram and Twitter, as their parents are slightly more clued in. I don&rsquo;t know what the next next thing will be&mdash;of course I don&rsquo;t know that, I&rsquo;m like the lamest early adopter ever. And also the whole point is that adults aren&rsquo;t supposed to know, right? But, I do think this: The reason why I wrote <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/03/how-to-stop-bullies/309217/">in the Atlantic </a>about Henry Lieberman (at MIT), about his idea of an algorithm to help prevent cyberbullying, is I think that right now we are being too passive about the underlying architecture of the web and just assuming there&rsquo;s nothing to be done about it. The only thing we can do is throw up our hands. I just cannot believe that is true. These are sophisticated companies with an enormous level of resources. If they wanted to make these online environments take into account teenagers&rsquo; social welfare, they could figure it out how to do it. They could work with schools--they could just simply give school administrators and guidance counselors an email dropbox where they could send Hey! Help! kind of alerts. And none of that is happening right now. This is the Mark Zuckerberg line: privacy is an evolving standard, i.e. we will just have less and less of it--and that&rsquo;s just the way it is? But no, we have control over these norms.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>When you were on Stephen Colbert and <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/life/bulle/2013/02/emily_bazelon_on_colbert_report_stephen_colbert_cries_during_show_with_slate.html">you made him cry</a>, I was just curious to know how that went down ahead of time: What you were told, how did the bit came together, who came up with it and so on?</strong><br />I&rsquo;ve been on Colbert a few times now. The producer had called me and we had talked about my book, but I didn&rsquo;t know Colbert was going to ask that question. I have thought about it... I figured that either he was going to accuse me of being a bully or he was going to ask me whether he was a bully. It seemed like an obvious way for the show to go. They&rsquo;re very wary of anything that sounds rehearsed or canned. I will say, having been on a few times, I realize it&rsquo;s all about the situational, in-the-moment comedy. It&rsquo;s because he&rsquo;s incredibly quick, he&rsquo;s really good at it. You just try to say your thing and see what comes of it.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>You&rsquo;ve talked about raising your sons to be feminists. What practical things have you told them so far about how they should interact with girls? I&rsquo;m thinking back to when my brother was growing up my mom told him to always say yes if a girl asks him to dance.</strong><br />Oh that&rsquo;s great, I&rsquo;m gonna steal that one! I love that! &nbsp;I have said to my sons, you have to treat girls and women well, as a basic baseline, and that boys who are good listeners... girls really value that. That&rsquo;s something they should really make sure to try and develop. I don&rsquo;t go around preaching about feminism very much in my house, just because &ldquo;preaching&rdquo;&mdash;I mean, my kids roll their eyes.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>I read that poor <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-09/hanna-rosin-interview-102548">Hanna Rosin</a>&rsquo;s son <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/hanna-rosin-talks-about-a_n_1837066.html">is sick of her it seems</a>.</strong><br />I know, I know, Jacob. I used to write a family column about my kids for Slate but then I stopped because they were getting old enough that people were starting to ask them about it and I felt it was enough. Which is too bad in some ways because they&rsquo;re only continuing to be more and more hilarious as they get older. It&rsquo;s not that I never mention them, I mean, I&rsquo;m talking about them with you. So I would say that what I mostly feel about my kids, is that they are seeing their parents with not a whole lot of aplomb. My husband and I juggle things together all the time. He isn&rsquo;t very involved in their lives and I don&rsquo;t think they have the idea. They have been surprised when they have learned that women didn&rsquo;t used to be able to vote, or women used to work less. Those are sort of revelations to them.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/12/magazine/12ginsburg-t.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">Your 2009 interview with Ruth Bader Ginsburg</a> was cited in <a href="http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/?&amp;sid=cp112SUHud&amp;r_n=hr496.112&amp;dbname=cp112&amp;&amp;sel=TOC_84201&amp;">the United States House of Representatives&#39; Committee Report in support of the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2012 </a>sex or race-based abortion. Some states are working on laws banning sex or raced-based abortion. Is that a thing that is happening very much?</strong><br />My sense is, and I&rsquo;m not hugely expert in this, is that this is something that happens to some degree in countries like India and China. And that there&rsquo;s very little evidence that it&rsquo;s happening here.</p><p dir="ltr">I think that sex selection laws are essentially symbolic because like you said, people are not going to give this reason. Even if they might feel it, they aren&rsquo;t going to say it, right? And then when you look at the other laws about admission privileges, or there&rsquo;s these one that are called &ldquo;trap laws,&rdquo; where the abortion clinic has to have the same specifications as an ambulatory surgical center. So that sentence is totally boring. But what that means in practice is that we&rsquo;re going to shut down this clinic by making it so expensive to operate because we&rsquo;re going to make it have all these &ldquo;safety conditions&rdquo; in place, but really it means it&rsquo;s a lot of red tape and the clinic can&rsquo;t operate any more. That&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s really going on.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>What is going to be your next big project?</strong><br />That&rsquo;s a good question, do you have any ideas for me? I really am trying to figure that out, but I really don&rsquo;t know the answer right now.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>I think you should write Young Adult fiction!</strong><br />You know it&rsquo;s so funny, I wish that I could write Young Adult fiction novels--I have no reason to think I can do that well. There are a few different things I&rsquo;m really interested in right now, but honestly I&rsquo;m so depleted and I&rsquo;m still talking about my book! So I think I need a couple months to get my bearings. But I&rsquo;m really looking forward to having a new project!</p><p><strong>How does it feel to be the 345th person interviewed for Zulkey.com/WBEZ?</strong><br />It feels great! You ask such smart and interesting questions.<br /><br /><em>Follow me <a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey">@Zulkey</a>. To see previous interviews, go <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/interviews.php">here</a>. </em></p></p> Fri, 19 Apr 2013 08:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-04/emily-bazelon-interview-106721 The 6th Annual Spring Writers' Festival - A Reading by Chris Adrian http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/6th-annual-spring-writers-festival-reading-chris-adrian-107606 <p><p><strong>Chris Adrian</strong> (born 1970) is an American author. Adrian&#39;s writing styles in short stories vary greatly; from modernist realism to pronounced lyrical allegory. His novels both tend toward surrealism, having mostly realistic characters experience fantastic circumstances. He has written three novels: <em>Gob&#39;s Grief</em>, <em>The Children&#39;s Hospital</em>, and <em>The Great Night</em>. In 2008, he published <em>A Better Angel</em>, a collection of short stories. His short fiction has also appeared in <em>The Paris Review</em>, <em>Zoetrope</em>, <em>Ploughshares</em>, <em>McSweeney&#39;s</em>, The New Yorker, <em>The Best American Short Stories</em>, and <em>Story</em>. He was one of 11 fiction writers to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009.</p><div>Chris Adrian gave a reading as part of the Northwestern University English Department&#39;s 6th Annual Writers&#39; Festival.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/UNV-webstory_15.jpg" style="float: left;" title="" /></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Recorded live Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at the Hilton Orrington.</div></p> Wed, 17 Apr 2013 09:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/6th-annual-spring-writers-festival-reading-chris-adrian-107606