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Monday, November 30

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Book Club

Bookmarks Fri Nov 27 2015


SATURDAY! It's Small Business Saturday, so go out and support your local neighborhood bookstores and booksellers!

SATURDAY! Chicago Read/Write Library's month long pop-up library Rewriteable Wicker Park holds their Final Friday Celebration at the installation Boombox in Wicker Park's Mautene Court.

SATURDAY! Reading series You're Being Ridiculous tackles the theme Beauty for this week's installment of the series at the Mayne Stage.

SUNDAY! Sideswiping Normal, a night of storytelling with June Huitt and Nicole Hollander, comes to Martyrs.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Nov 20 2015


FRIDAY! MAKE literary magazine sponsors a bilingual reading and conversation Lit and Luz: Ficcion/Fiction with local readers and guests from Mexico City at Constellation Theater.

FRIDAY! It's the third Friday of the month which is when Bad Grammar Theater takes residence at Powell's Bookstore downtown.

SATURDAY! The Chicago Book Expo is back with a slew of workshops, readings, and discussions as well as a tabling expo of small presses, literary organizations, authors and more at Columbia College Chicago 1104 S. Wabash Ave.

SATURDAY! As part of the Chicago Read/Write Library's month long pop-up library (read more from last week's Gapers Block article), they are hosting the workshop How and Why to Preserve Your Family & Community Media.

SATURDAY! Quimby's Bookstore welcomes musician Andy Slater (better known as Velcro Lewis) for the release of his book How Many Fingers Am I Holding Up, his chronicle of being a blind pedestrian.

SATURDAY! Reading series You're Being Ridiculous is celebrating their fifth anniversary at the Mayne Stage (read a Gapers Block interview about the series too).

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Miscellaneous Thu Nov 19 2015

Chicago Publishers Resource Center: A Space for Chicago's Literary & Visual Culture

chiprcFor an avid consumer of all things literary, Chicago is a relative paradise. Small presses produce top quality work by local authors, there are readings and lectures every night, the CPL has an ample calendar of worthy events, and there are book sales, fairs, and stores so popular and personable they develop following. The city's literary community is accessible and inviting for its consumers and fans. But being on the creative side isn't necessarily as open, and writing, drawing, and self publishing in this city can even be a little isolating.

In 2013 John Wawrzaszek (a GB Book Club contributor) started a nonprofit aimed at fostering a common space for writers, artists, designers and self publishers. Modeled after Portland's Independent Publishing Resource Center, the Chicago Publishers Resource Center is a not-for-profit headquartered in Wicker Park. They provide a free space for workshops, community meetings, art exhibits, readings, and classes.

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Emma Terhaar / Comments (0)

Book Club Wed Nov 18 2015

All Lit Up: Mare Swallow (Part Two)

All Lit Up features Chicago's "literati" discussing their work, lives, and favorite Chicago books at their favorite Chicago bookstores. This is the second part in a two-part conversation with Mare Swallow, Andersonville-based writer, public speaking coach, and founder of the Chicago Writers Conference. Read the first part here.

Because of your work as founder and director of the Chicago Writers Conference, you're very involved in the Chicago writing world. What are your hopes for our literary community, and what do you hope the conference can do for the community?

Another Chicago author once asked me, "Why is it so important to you that Chicago gets attention?" The only answer I can come up with is love. I'm from here. It pisses me off that Tina Fey, who got her chops here, didn't stop here on her book tour for Bossypants. A lot of times people will tour in New York and Los Angeles, and then stop in Minneapolis instead of stopping here. Honestly, I don't think Minnesota has more of a robust community than we do. My hope for the community is that it will keep growing and becoming stronger. Chicago has this huge literary community. There are over 50 publishers here, but people don't know that. Some of them are very tiny, and some of them only put out chapbooks, but there are big ones too. I'm tired of Chicago being flyover country.

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Jami Nakamura Lin / Comments (0)

Interview Mon Nov 16 2015

Dave Reidy, The Voice Behind The Voiceover Artist

Last week author Dave Reidy saw his first novel The Voiceover Artist released by Curbside Splendor. Gapers Block Book Club reviewed the book, but I wanted to follow up with him to discuss his writing and influences. Tonight, Monday, Nov. 16, Reidy hosts the Lit/Comedy Roundtable at Annoyance Theater, 851 W. Belmont Ave. at 7pm. This roundtable mixes Reidy's interests in entertainment and literature, which we touch upon in this interview.

Reidy Author.png

What was the transition from writing your short story collection to your first novel? Did anything about your writing process change?

The first several drafts of the novel were written entirely from the perspective of its main character, Simon Davies. But Simon still wasn't coming alive on the page in the ways he was in my head, so I tried a different approach, writing chapters from the points of view of Simon's mother, father, brother, voiceover agent, ex-girlfriend, and others, interspersed among chapters told from Simon's perspective. I was determined that the book would remain a novel with narrative threads that moved forward through each of the book's chapters. But I did draw upon some of my short-story-writing technique in ensuring that each of these first-person chapters was complex and, as much as is possible for a piece that is a novel chapter and not necessarily a stand-alone story, complete.

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John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Events Fri Nov 13 2015

Read/Write Library Rewrites Wicker Park in New Pop-Up

rewritable wicker park popup library
The Read/Write Library is running Rewritable Wicker Park, a pop-up library in the Boombox pop-up kiosk in Mautene Court, 1260 N. Milwaukee Ave.

"This is our largest neighborhood pop-up to date, but we've done a number of these in the past and it's definitely something that we want to do more regularly," said Nell Taylor, co-founder of the Read/Write Library. "And for us, it's getting the materials we have in our collection back out in the neighborhoods they came from.

"One thing that we'd always find when we did smaller pop-up libraries in the past is that people always want to tell us things about what was in the collection or what jogged memories for them, or that they had things at home that they'd want to bring. But we'd be like, 'Oh, sorry, we're only here for a day,' or 'we don't have that much room.' So this is one of the few times we've had an opportunity to let people actively participate in rewriting the neighborhood's history by having their inspiration sparked by things they see here and coming back and adding things themselves."

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Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Nov 13 2015


FRIDAY! City Lit Books hosts a night of poetry readings featuring Francesca Abbate, Alix Anne Shaw, and Toby Altman.

FRIDAY! As part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo hosts a discussion between comic artists and architects followed by a live comic drawing workshop held at the Chicago Cultural Center.

FRIDAY! Hyde Park's 57th St. Books holds the event French Literature in the United States: trends, translation, reception moderated by Aleksandar Hemon.

SATURDAY! Columbia College Chicago Library hosts their first Little Indie Press Fest, an afternoon of organizations, presses and authors tabling at 624 S. Michigan Ave.

SUNDAY! Uncharted Books hosts a reading for the Frequent Zoom one-stop book tour.

SUNDAY! The Marrow reading series is back at the Whistler in Logan Square.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Book Club Fri Nov 13 2015

You're Being Ridiculous Anniversary Show and Q&A

yourebeingridiculous.jpgThe live lit show You're Being Ridiculous will celebrate its fifth anniversary with three knockout shows on November 21, November 28, and December 5 at the Mayne Stage (1328 W. North Avenue). The shows will feature true stories performed by Megan Stielstra, Carly Oishi, Keith Ecker, and many others. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.

We talked to founder and performer Jeremy Owens via email to find out more about the past, present, and future of the show.

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Jami Nakamura Lin / Comments (0)

Book Club Tue Nov 10 2015

Review: City Creatures, Collected by Gavin Van Horn & David Aftandilian

City Creatures cover.jpgThis month, University of Chicago Press published City Creatures: Animal Encounters in the Chicago Wilderness, a book of essays, poetry and art collected by Gavin Van Horn and David Aftandilian springing from the Center for Humans and Nature's City Creatures Blog. Book and blog work in tandem to advocate for the appreciation of nature within the city, conservation of threatened habitats and species, and ecology education for all. In his essay "A Tale of Two Squirrels and One City," Joel S. Brown writes that his students "...could see the concepts of ecology in action; they could see the relevance of the formerly abstract discussion of adaptations in the very characteristics and behaviors of the squirrels around them." City Creatures calls attention to the animals we share Chicago with and solidifies abstract concepts surrounding ecology and conservation.

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Brianna Kratz / Comments (0)

Books Tue Nov 10 2015

Review: The Voiceover Artist by Chicago Writer Dave Reidy

Voiceover.jpgIf you love fiction and Chicago authors then you probably already know Dave Reidy. His first book, Captive Audience, is a collection of short stories with a Chicago take on music, comedy, sports, and family. His writing has humor and drama, and it explores human nature in a way that only a Chicagoan who has experienced and loved these topics only can. In his first novel, The Voiceover Artist, released by Curbside Splendor this week, he tackles similar ground: entertainment, family and relationships, and how they all intertwine.

Reading fiction, you have to suspend disbelief. Reading The Voiceover Artist it's a bit hard to imagine how main character Simon Davies, a man with a speech impediment who hadn't talked for years suddenly makes a name for himself in the tough world of voiceover work. But that's fiction's job, to create a reality where anything is possible. And Reidy does that here with the unique way in which he tells this story.

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John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Events Mon Nov 09 2015

Photojournalist Lynsey Addario has a Community Conversation

This Thursday, Nov. 12, at 6pm at the AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.) join New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario as part of the 10th anniversary of Community Conversation events. This free event, presented by Facing History and Ourselves and The Allstate Foundation, will host Addario to discuss her memoir It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War, which is currently being produced into a feature length film.

Community Conversations focuses on the power of stories respecting diversity, promoting tolerance, and creating social change. Space is limited. RSVP at the Community Conversations website.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Book Club Mon Nov 09 2015

All Lit Up: Mare Swallow (Part One)

All Lit Up features Chicago's "literati" discussing their work, lives, and favorite Chicago books at their favorite Chicago bookstores. This is the first part in a two-part conversation with Mare Swallow, Andersonville-based writer, public speaking coach, and founder of the Chicago Writers Conference. She brought Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott and The Hundred Year House by Rebecca Makkai. We sat down for coffee at The Book Cellar in the heart of Lincoln Square.

I'm so glad you chose to meet here at The Book Cellar, my local bookstore. Why is this your favorite bookstore in Chicago?

I started coming here since they first opened in 2004. At the time, I lived in Ravenswood, and like you, it was nice to have something close to my house. When I suggest this to people, I always say "You know they have a wine bar there!" The owner, Suzy Takacz, has always been supportive of us. We're going to have two more events here in 2015. They host Essay Fiesta, they have local author nights, so that really speaks to me. I get a coffee and buy a book and close out the world.

And it has such a cozy atmosphere.

Yes, and it's smaller. It's like a curated bookstore. I tell my friends, "Imagine if there was a bookstore, and they got rid of all the crappy books. That's The Book Cellar." I like that their selection is great, and if they don't have a book they'll order it for you.

(As if on cue, Suzy appears to hand Mare an order of books.)

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Jami Nakamura Lin / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Nov 06 2015


FRIDAY! City Lit Books welcomes a night of readings from the 2015 Iowa Short Fiction Award Winners Edward Halmin and Charles Haverty.

SATURDAY! Sci Fi author Patrick Tomlinson debuts his first novel The Ark at the Book Cellar.

SATURDAY! Food and Lit based publication Graze magazine holds a release party for their final issue at Fizz Bar.

SUNDAY! Curbside Splendor's bi-annual Pop Up Book Fair is back at the Empty Bottle.

SUNDAY! Live lit series That's All She Wrote is back for its monthly reading at Great Lakes Tattoo.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Interview Wed Nov 04 2015

Lynne Raimondo Talks About Dante's Dilemma, Her Third Chicago Crime Novel

dantes-dilemma_cover426.pngThe most interesting investigator in Chicago's strong tradition of crime fiction isn't a detective, a lawyer, or even a journalist. Mark Angelotti, the wisecracking protagonist of Lynne Raimondo's Dante series, is a blind psychiatrist turned expert legal witness. Instead of Michael Harvey and Sara Paretsky's blue-collar gumshoes, Angelotti is an eloquent, overeducated mix between Matthew Murdock (Netflix's "Daredevil") and Will Graham (NBC's "Hannibal").

Angelotti's third mystery in Dante's Dilemma (after Dante's Wood and Dante's Poison) takes him to the South Side, where a professor infamous for pushing a misogynistic brand of sociology has been found murdered on the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park during the annual scavenger hunt. The chief suspect: his estranged wife, Rachel Lazarus, who supposedly suffered a long history of domestic violence at the professor's hands.

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Adam Morgan / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Oct 30 2015


FRIDAY! Night of the Blood Zine, a short film release and Halloween themed zine reading, will be at Uncharted Books.

FRIDAY! Podcast Bad Karate, hosted by author Mason Johnson and comedian Dan Shapiro, holds its final recording at Chicago Publishers Resource Center.

FRIDAY! Portland, Oregon author Amy McCullough reads from her memoir The Box Wine Sailors at the Book Cellar.

SATURDAY! Members of the Lifeline Theatre perform their 29th Annual Edgar Allan Poe Readings at The Clarke House Museum in Bronzeville.

SATURDAY! As part of the Chicago Humanities Festival, Poetry Foundation welcomes Rae Armantrout as guest of their Poetry Off the Shelf program.

SUNDAY! City Lit Books welcomes author Michael McGregor to read and discuss his work Pure Act: The Uncommon Life as Robert Lax.

SUNDAY! All Hallow's Day Variety Show benefit for Chicago Publishers Resource Center with authors Audrey Niffenegger and Billy Lombardo, comic artist Marnie Galloway, poet Jacob Saenz, shadow puppet readings and more at the California Clipper.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Gapers Block presents Tuesday Funk, Chicago's ecclectic monthly reading series.



Tue Dec 1 2015
Tuesday Funk @ Hopleaf

Thu Dec 3 2015
Secret History of Chicago Music Book Release @ Empty Bottle

Thu Dec 3 2015
H. Melt Book Release @ Women & Children First

Fri Dec 4 2015
Greg Sestero @ Music Box

About GB Book Club

Book Club is the literary section of Gapers Block, covering Chicago's authors, poets and literary events. More...

Editor: Andrew Huff,
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