Chicago connection: May 2008 Archives

Summer reading recommendations

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Last week on "Chicago Tonight," host Phil Ponce led a discussion with local bookworms, who gave their recommendations for summer reading. Panelists included Jessa Crispin, editor of Bookslut; Author and Loyola professor Al Gini, and novelist Kimberla Lawson Roby.

Each panelist recommended several books for the summer but right off the bat Ponce asked for their No. 1 choices. Crispin chose Daughters of the North by Sarah Hall (HarperCollins, $13.95); Gini chose The Blue Star by Tony Earley (Little, Brown, $23.99); Roby chose The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow (Hyperion, $21.95).

Daughters of the North The Blue Star The Last Lecture

You can see the entire discussion on video, on

Buy a book, feed the hungry

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This year, After-Words Books' semi-annual book sale for charity will benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository, "a not-for-profit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community."

The sale will take place from noon to 6 p.m. May 25-26 at After-Words, 23 E. Illinois. Bring your own bag or purchase one at the bookstore. For $5 you can fill your bag with books.

For more information: (312) 464-1110.

Those who follow publishing all know the story of John Grisham, who as an unknown author started out self-publishing a little book called A Time to Kill , driving around selling it out of the trunk of his car.

While most self-published authors don't see Grisham's kind of success, with a little persistence it can happen. Former Chicagoan John Bernard Ruane is getting a shot with his memoir Parish the Thought: An Inspirational Memoir of Growing up Catholic in the 1960s (Roswell Press, $19.99), which found its way into the book room right about the time I took over the job of Books Editor last year.

Parish the Thought

Anyone who grew up Catholic wlll relate to Ruane's stories of growing up in a Chicago parish, where he served as an altar boy and was schooled under the influence of nuns and priests in the 1960s. (One can't help recall John R. Powers' fictionalized memoirs about growing up Catholic in the '50s — The Last Catholic in America, Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?)

Ruane, who now makes his home in Roswell Georgia, printed only 5,000 copies last summer. Most of the hardcovers have sold out and now Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, will publish the paperback edition this fall.

None other than our city's own archbishop, Francis Cardinal George blurbs the book on the back cover:

"John Bernard Ruane writes about a truly memorable parish, St. Bede's in the Archdiocese of Chicago. His witty but moving recall of his years growing up is a marvelous tribute to his mother and father and to the parish itself. Chicago priests and parishes have shaped literally millions of Catholics, and all of us now have reason to be grateful to John."

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This page is a archive of entries in the Chicago connection category from May 2008.

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