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  • Author tells story of wild ride of Benny Binion Aug 19, 2014 5:30 AM
    Benny Binion, native of tiny Pilot Grove, Texas, began his career as a crooked horse trader, graduated to bootlegging, took over the policy racket in Dallas, broke into the big time by opening the Horseshoe casino in Las Vegas, launched the World Series of Poker and turned the once back-alley game of Texas Hold’em into a worldwide spectator sport. Along the way, as author Doug J. Swanson tells it in this new biography, “Blood Aces,” Benny cavorted with gangsters; corrupted cops and U.S. senators; and ordered an untold number of murders.

  • Wilder memoir to give gritty view of prairie life Aug 18, 2014 6:25 AM
    Laura Ingalls Wilder penned one of the most beloved children’s series of the 20th century, but her forthcoming autobiography will show devoted “Little House on the Prairie” fans a more realistic, grittier view of frontier living. “Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography” — Wilder’s unedited draft that was written for an adult audience and eventually served as the foundation for the popular series — is slated to be released by the South Dakota State Historical Society Press nationwide this fall.

  • Book notes: Tawni O’Dell talks ‘One of Us’ in Gurnee Aug 16, 2014 5:45 AM
    "One of Us" author Tawni O'Dell discusses and signs copies of her book at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19, at the Warren-Newport Public Library, 224 N. O'Plaine Road, Gurnee.

  • Letterman nominated for humor prize Aug 14, 2014 7:21 AM
    David Letterman, maybe your next career should be as an author. The CBS “Late Show” host, scheduled to step down in 2015, is a finalist for this year’s Thurber Prize for American Humor. Letterman and illustrator Bruce McCall have been nominated for the satirical picture book “This Land Was Made for You and Me (But Mostly Me).”

  • ‘Vape’, ‘binge-watch’ added to Oxford Dictionaries Aug 14, 2014 7:18 AM
    Don’t know what “vaping” is? How about “listicle”? Perhaps it’s time to get to know them. Britain’s Oxford University Press said Thursday it is adding the words — along with other new entries, from “time-poor” to “Paleo diet” — to its online Oxford Dictionaries to reflect new language trends.

  • A family is tested in ‘No Safe House’ Aug 14, 2014 6:00 AM
    A family’s past continues to haunt Terry Archer and his family as they find it impossible to move on with their lives in Linwood Barclay’s latest suburban thriller, “No Safe House.” Cynthia Archer still remembers a tragedy in her upbringing, and she promised herself that her husband, Terry, and her daughter, Grace, would be trauma-free. That hope was shattered seven years ago when her past came back with a vengeance. Now the three of them are trying to go on with their lives.

  • Orwell rep accuses Amazon of doublespeak Aug 14, 2014 1:41 PM
    Amazon cited a 1936 Orwell essay in which he wrote of paperbacks that if “publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them.” But in fact, Orwell had been praising some new releases from Penguin, which had recently launched its now-famous line of paperbacks.“The Penguin Books are splendid value for sixpence, so splendid that if the other publishers had any sense they would combine against them and suppress them,” Orwell actually wrote.

  • ‘Cool Science Tricks’ will chase boredom away Aug 12, 2014 5:45 AM
    You will not be bored this summer. There’s no way you’ll give Mom any reason for extra chores. You’ll keep busy enough so that Dad doesn’t come up with “ideas” for your time. With the book “Cool Science Tricks” by Daniel Tatarasky in your hand, you definitely won't be bored.

  • Stellar writing in clever ‘Lost Island’ Aug 12, 2014 6:00 AM
    “The Lost Island,” the third novel to feature master thief and brilliant scientist Gideon Crew, is another clever and compelling tale from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Gideon has a rare condition that will kill him within a year unless he finds a cure. He works for Eli Glinn, a mysterious man with unlimited wealth, who asks Gideon to steal one page from the priceless Book of Kells, an Irish tome on display at a New York library. The page may have a clue to the cure for his condition.

  • Afghan actor links cultures as U.S. war translator Aug 11, 2014 5:00 AM
    Fahim Fazli’s screen career was beginning to take off, with roles in blockbusters like “Iron Man,” when the Afghanistan-born actor decided it was time to give back to the country that had taken him in after he fled Russian occupation a quarter century earlier. Staring at his U.S. passport, he wondered: “Do I earn this?” Fazli went to work as a translator for the U.S. Marines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. It was a U.S. Marine who had helped Fazli track down his mother, who escaped Afghanistan in 1980, and put his family back together.

  • Lead investigator talks about John Wayne Gacy case Aug 11, 2014 7:23 PM
    Hear about the search and arrest of one of America’s most notorious serial killers — John Wayne Gacy — from the lead investigator on the case, Joseph Kozenczak. His talk begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, in the Prairie Lakes Multipurpose Room, 515 E. Thacker St., Des Plaines.

  • Miranda Corbie confronts her own ‘City of Ghosts’ Aug 9, 2014 6:00 AM
    A love of San Francisco — its flaws, strengths and eccentricities — permeates Kelli Stanley’s intriguing novels about private detective Miranda Corbie. Stanley’s novels capture San Francisco — and the United States — in the years just before World War II.

  • Hachette Book Group calls off deal to buy Perseus Aug 8, 2014 10:05 AM
    Hachette Book Group said Thursday it has scrapped its proposed three-way deal that would have had it buying the publishing division of the Perseus Book Group, while selling Perseus’ client-service business to leading distributor Ingram Content Group. Hachette said the deal was scuttled after the three sides failed to resolve all the issues needed to complete the complex transaction. The three had jointly announced the deal in June. Hachette, whose authors include James Patterson, J.K. Rowling and Malcolm Gladwell, has been in contentious negotiations with, which has slowed shipments, reduced discounts and removed pre-order buttons for numerous Hachette releases. Hachette’s acquisition of Perseus could have increased its bargaining position with Amazon, which is reportedly seeking a larger cut of e-book sales and numerous other changes in contract terms. Perseus has a wide range of nonfiction imprints and has partnerships with The Daily Beast and The Weinstein Company, among others. Its books have included H.G. Bissinger’s “Friday Night Lights” and Samantha Power’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Problem from Hell.”

  • Bradbury fans want a statue of the late author in Waukegan Aug 8, 2014 6:45 PM
    Community activists and fans of famed science-fiction author Ray Bradbury are hoping his Lake County birthplace will honor him with a statue. Bradbury, who died in 2012, was born in Waukegan and lived in the city until he was 13. He turned Waukegan into the fictitious Green Town in the book “Dandelion Wine” and in other stories, and he supported the Waukegan Public Library throughout his life.

  • Elizabeth Little’s ‘Dear Daughter’ is engrossing Aug 5, 2014 6:00 AM
    In her confident fiction debut, Elizabeth Little puts a fresh spin on the unlikable protagonist with a biting personality in the form of Jane Jenkins, a young woman famous for being famous until she was sent to prison for the murder of her wealthy socialite mother. Little also makes “Dear Daughter” a parable about the cult of the celebrity stoked by a relentless press and a ruthless public’s thirst for details of a woman it loves to hate.

  • Waukegan considering statue to honor Ray Bradbury Aug 5, 2014 6:10 AM
    Waukegan is considering a new way to honor famed author Ray Bradbury. Bradbury lived in Waukegan until age 13. He wrote several books, including “Dandelion Wine,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes and “Farewell Summer.” Waukegan holds annual festivals in his honor. It also has a park and creative contest that bear his name. Now members of the community are raising money to commission a bronze statue of Bradbury. The statue would be placed downtown, possibly near the Waukegan Public Library. Bradbury left his personal book collection to the library when he died. Richard Lee is the library’s executive director and chairman of the committee working on the statue. He says “Bradbury’s passion for reading and learning would be an inspiration to the community.”

  • Book tracks insurgence that propelled Reagan Aug 5, 2014 6:00 AM
    Even Republicans piled on President Richard Nixon as the Watergate scandal wore on. But not California Gov. Ronald Reagan. He said Watergate was being “blown out of proportion.” Rick Perlstein writes that incredulous reporters thought Reagan was acting like a “genial ostrich.” “The Invisible Bridge” is the story of “the right-wing insurgency bubbling barely beneath the surface” through the mid-’70s. And it’s the story of the national rise of the politician who benefited the most from that insurgency.

  • ‘Days of Rage’ is fast-paced thriller Aug 4, 2014 5:45 AM
    The world of Special Ops seems to be a new trend in publishing, but author Brad Taylor, a former Delta Force operative, knows how to unveil the behind-the-scenes action. Taylor’s main characters Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill work for a unit called The Taskforce, a secret group of elite men and women who work outside all normal government channels. The team has lost two operatives in what appears to be a routine car crash, but Pike is doubtful.

  • Book notes: ‘Chicagoland Vampires’ author speaks in Oak Brook Aug 2, 2014 6:30 AM
    Chloe Neill, author of the "Chicagoland Vampires" series, discusses the newest title in the series, "Blood Games," at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at Barnes and Noble in Oak Brook.

  • In Todd Parr’s world, it’s OK to make mistakes Aug 1, 2014 6:00 AM
    In Todd Parr’s world, it’s OK to wear your undies on your head, spill your milk, or eat mac and cheese in the bathtub. Most of all, it’s OK to be yourself. Inclusion and acceptance are Parr’s mainstays in more than 30 quirky picture books for young kids, including “It’s Okay to Make Mistakes,” out this month from Little, Brown and Co. Parr, 52, relies on playful, brightly colored drawings and easy-to-understand messages to win over the age 4-to-6 set, along with their teachers and parents.

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