8 May, 2020

Three Uplifting but True-to-Life Books for You to Read during these Trying Pandemic Times

May 8th, 2020|Tags: , |

In the face of depressing news I always ask myself: What can we set against it? And I always end up with the same answer: The pursuit of beauty and [...]

14 Jun, 2019

The Chore of Writing Book Reviews: Is Having to Read a Book Worth it?

June 14th, 2019|Tags: , , |

I just clicked the Send button to submit my last book review. Until now I told myself that this would be my last. I don't want to have to read [...]

8 Feb, 2019

In the Footsteps of a Book – A Walk Through the Jerusalem Neighborhood of Musrara

February 8th, 2019|Tags: , , , |

The actual House of Windows as far as we could tell Have you ever traveled in the footsteps of a book? Visited the location where a character lived? [...]

16 Nov, 2018

A Vintage Children’s Book Illuminates a Visit to Plymouth Plantation

November 16th, 2018|Tags: , , |

On our recent trip to Boston, we visited Plimouth Plantation. As often happens when traveling, you go out to see one thing and discover another. Plimouth Plantation hadn't been the [...]

31 Aug, 2018

On Rereading Books

August 31st, 2018|Tags: |

I just reread a book I had read in 2012 when it first came out: Susannah Conway's This I Know. It is one of the few books I've gifted several [...]

6 Aug, 2016

I’m Reading…

August 6th, 2016|Tags: , |

{August Break 8/6: I'm Reading...} I can never just read one book! My current bedtime reading is Yossi Klein Halevi's Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist. I loved his book Like [...]

8 Dec, 2015

A Comfort Book – Ted Kooser’s Local Wonders

December 8th, 2015|Tags: , , |

The other day I cast about for a comfort book, something pleasant to read in the tub after a busy day. Usually that would mean an Agatha Christie mystery for [...]

2 Aug, 2015

Jerusalem Street Library

August 2nd, 2015|Tags: , |

While walking to my Ulpan (Hebrew school) in Jerusalem this morning, I passed by this street library set up in an old bus station. Of course I was immediately charmed [...]

2 Mar, 2015

On Not Reading a Book

March 2nd, 2015|Tags: , |

I didn't read the book for the December meeting of the Memoir Workshop I teach at StoryStudio Chicago. If the instructor doesn't read the assigned book, that's pretty bad, right? [...]

11 Jun, 2014

Unveiling: The Chicago List Essay Project

June 11th, 2014|Tags: , , , , |

Our Chicago - Eleven Writers on their City - Edited by Annette Gendler | Make Your Own Book I published a book with my students! Our Chicago is a collection of [...]

6 May, 2014

When a Book is Done

May 6th, 2014|Tags: , |

I just finished a book I really liked, one I had been meaning to read for a while, and I'm sad it's done. That's the hallmark of a good book, [...]

26 Mar, 2014

Cleaning Out Book Shelves

March 26th, 2014|Tags: |

On a recent Sunday, the mood struck me to finally weed out the three shelves in our big wall of books that are dedicated to my collection of memoirs. The shelves [...]

10 Feb, 2014

The Bookshelves of Others

February 10th, 2014|Tags: , , |

The bookshelves of other people are fascinating. What do they tell you? When I'm invited to other people's homes, I appreciate when one of the rooms I get to be in [...]

17 Nov, 2013

Sunday Sentence

November 17th, 2013|Tags: , |

Another Sunday in which I participate in the Sunday Sentence Project (#SundaySentence on Twitter): "Books don't make a home - they are one, in the sense that just as you do [...]

30 Sep, 2013

Bemelmans Bar

September 30th, 2013|Tags: , , |

Note to self: Next time I'm in New York, I must visit Bemelmans Bar. Sadly, up until a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal magazine, I wasn't aware of [...]

29 Aug, 2013

When in Boston, Make Way for Ducklings

August 29th, 2013|Tags: , , |

The Make Way for Ducklings sculpture in the Public Garden in Boston, created by Nancy Schön Oh, the power of fiction! Especially children's fiction! It had my kids and me retracing [...]

1 Jul, 2013

Report from a Literary Hybrid/Book Arts Workshop

July 1st, 2013|Tags: , , |

Ellen Sheffield's Book Arts Studio at Kenyon College One of my housemates at the Kenyon Writer's Workshop was Mimi Chiang, and not only did we hit it off right away, [...]

29 Jun, 2013


June 29th, 2013|Tags: , , |

  Need I say more? Art book by Sue Sommers, created in the Literary Hybrid/Book Arts class at the Kenyon Writers Workshop

26 Jun, 2013

Book Arts

June 26th, 2013|Tags: , |

Art Book by N.E. Skinner This year, the Kenyon Writers Workshop included a class on Literary Hybrid/Book Arts. While it was hard to listen to the presentations of the book [...]

3 Jun, 2013

One Benefit of Reading with a Kindle

June 3rd, 2013|Tags: , |

I've discovered one definite benefit to reading with a Kindle, thanks to my friend Barbara who lent me hers so I could read a bit of a book she felt [...]

14 May, 2013

A Salute to Joyce Brothers

May 14th, 2013|Tags: , , |

When I saw the news on my Chicago Tribune homepage last night that Joyce Brothers had died, my heart sank. I never met her, never had an exchange with her, [...]

28 Mar, 2013

What is Memoir?

March 28th, 2013|Tags: , , |

The often incorrect use of the term memoir is a pet peeve of mine; after all, it is my genre. It's what I write primarily, and what I teach. So [...]

16 Sep, 2012

My Favorite Book for Rosh Hashana

September 16th, 2012|Tags: , , , |

Eric Kimmel's Gershon's Monster is my favorite book for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which we celebrate tonight. I wish my kids were still small enough to read picture [...]

7 Sep, 2012

The Library at Alcatraz

September 7th, 2012|Tags: , , , |

In the library at Alcatraz From all my pictures of our recent visit to Alcatraz, this one has stuck in my mind, and so, since I was on the topic [...]

6 Sep, 2012

On Having Your Own Library

September 6th, 2012|Tags: , |

When my grandparents were expelled from their hometown in Czechoslovakia after World War II, they lost their house and all their possessions, but the loss my grandfather lamented the most [...]

29 Feb, 2012

Chicago Bookstores: Hyde Park

February 29th, 2012|Tags: , |

The "Memoirs A-Z" book case at Powell's - if you read this blog regularly, you know I'm partial to memoirs, so it will come as no surprise that this is [...]

28 Feb, 2012

On Having a Local Bookstore

February 28th, 2012|Tags: |

I've been cleaning up my desk (a highly overdue task) and came across this Borders bookmark, and as I was about to toss it in the recycling bin, I stopped [...]

18 Jan, 2012

Green Eggs & Ham: A Story with 50 Words

January 18th, 2012|Tags: , , , |

These days, in the age of soundbites, we challenge ourselves to tell stories in no more than 140 characters (on Twitter), or no more than six words (see the Six [...]

30 Nov, 2011

My Favorite Poem: Herbsttag by Rainer Maria Rilke

November 30th, 2011|Tags: , , , |

Today is the last day of November, high time to share with you my favorite poem, Herbsttag (Autumn Day) by Rainer Maria Rilke. Many of you probably know him as [...]

11 May, 2011

Book Readers vs. Book Owners

May 11th, 2011|Tags: , |

I loved how the CEO of Penguin, John Makinson, differentiated between book readers and book owners when asked, in Monday's article in the Wall Street Journal, whether there will be a [...]

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