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CHICAGO - 'Twas a cold December day when, trudging through the vast expanse of the 900 North Michigan Shops, passing Gucci and hand-woven silk fabrics I could never afford, I noticed the strangest of welcome sights. It was a modest reminder that sometimes things get better. It was the time of year to believe so. Because there, on the fifth floor, after four escalator rides, two stories above ...

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SEATTLE - There's a scene in the 2011 documentary, "Pearl Jam Twenty," in which frontman Eddie Vedder is giving director Cameron Crowe a tour of his house. At one point, Vedder stands on a stairway, pointing out photos from years past. One of them is from what he believes is the band's third show. Watching this in the dark of a movie theater, photographer Karen Mason Blair was confused: "I ...

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"The Foraged Home," by Joanna Maclennan and Oliver Maclennan. (Thames & Hudson, 253 pages, $40.) Forget those manufactured "tiny houses." Try living inside an overturned boat. Don't shore up that collapsing wall with an expensive metal beam - use a shark's bone. And while plaster is nice, walls built of whitewashed horse dung and local grasses are nice, too, though they do have a tendency to ...

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"The Yellow House" by Sarah M. Broom; Grove Press (376 pages, $26) ___ One of the most striking moments in Sarah M. Broom's enthralling memoir, "The Yellow House," comes near its end. Broom's indomitable mother, Ivory Mae Broom, was born and raised in New Orleans, as were her 12 children. Broom describes Ivory Mae staying overnight in her daughter's apartment in the city's iconic French ...

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"All the Wrong Moves" by Sasha Chapin; Doubleday (217 pages, $24.95) ___ Sasha Chapin is bipolar, suffers from aphantasia, does drugs and has an uncontrollable addiction. In other words, he's more interesting than you and therefore secured a contract to write a memoir. In Chapin's case, his addiction is chess, which drives him to pass up sex, skip meals and pretty much blow off work. Hence the ...

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"Dead Man's Mistress" by David Housewright; Minotaur Books (306 pages, $26.99) ___ Award-winning Twin Cities author David Housewright has spun out another suspenseful regional crime mystery, this one based along the shoreline of Lake Superior. Up North in Grand Marais, some valuable paintings by a master artist are missing, and Rushmore McKenzie, a former St. Paul cop-turned-investigative ...

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Rankings for hardcover books sold in Southern California, as reported by selected bookstores: ___ Fiction 1. "The Dutch House," by Ann Patchett (Harper: $27.99) The lives of a brother and sister are changed when a stepmother enters their family. 2. "Olive, Again," by Elizabeth Strout (Random House: $27) This sequel follows Olive Kitteridge from her 70s into her 80s. 3. "Blue Moon," bu Lee ...

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Rankings for hardcover books sold in Southern California, as reported by selected bookstores: ___ Nonfiction ___ 1. "A Warning," by Anonymous (Twelve: $30) A behind-the-scenes expose of the Trump administration. 2. "Talking to Strangers," by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown: $30) Examples of miscommunication explain potential conflicts and misunderstandings. 3. "The Truth Will Set You Free," by ...