For my first ten or twelve or thirty years in Chicago, I was regularly taken by surprise by a local holiday. On the first Monday in March, Chicago’s administrative offices, and public libraries are closed for Pulaski Day, a holiday honoring Casimir Pulaski, the Polish nobleman who fought on the colonial side in the American…

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Every time I start writing a new book, I intend to read or re-read books about the craft of writing as I work. (The practice evaporates about two weeks into each project.) For the current book, I actually pulled all the books I wanted to read off the shelf and stacked them on the floor…

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