Wednesday, October 1

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Book Club

Events Sun Sep 28 2014

Hey Dude, Don't Miss Reading Under the Influence On October 1st

Longstanding series Reading Under the Influence is at it again, Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 7pm at their home, the back room of Sheffield's, 3258 N. Sheffield Ave.

The month's theme is Dude Ranch. That could reference anything from the title of a Blink 182 album, the setting of a John Wayne Western, or the title of a classic '90s Nickelodeon television show. See how it is interpreted by readers, Brian Costello (author of Losing in Gainesville), Matt Rowan (author of Why God Why), Joseph G. Peterson (author of Gideon's Confession) and Gint Aras (author of Finding the Moon in Sugar).

Readers read twice, once with original work and again with published work related to the night's theme. Trivia questions per the theme will be asked with drink tickets and literary swag awarded to the victors.

Stay for drink specials, $2 domestic bottles and some barbecued vittles. There is a $3 cover, and it's 21 and over.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Sep 26 2014


Tonight! Plant yourself amongst a wide array of authors, artists, and architects for the Chicago Botanic Garden's Novel Affair, 6 pm.

Tonight! Well-read rebels read from some of the most commonly banned books to celebrate Banned Book Week. Listen to passages from old controversial favorites like To Kill a Mockingbird, Persepolis, Watership Down, and The Lorax at Logan Square's City Lit Books, 6:30 pm.

Tonight! Join Unabridged Bookstore in Exploring Creative Non-Fiction, featuring writers Megan Stielstra, Dmitry Samarov, and Wendy C. Ortiz, as they discuss fact that reads like fiction, 7 pm.

Tonight! Women & Children First hosts author Amina Gautier as she reads from her book Now We Will Be Happy, 7:30 pm.

Tonight! No relevant experience required to enjoy poet Chris Green's latest collection Résumé at the Book Cellar, 7 pm.

Tonight! Head to Challenger Comics + Conversation to get your copy of Lucy Knisley's new graphic novel Age of License signed by the maker herself, 7 pm.

Saturday! Spend your afternoon at Newberry Library, where author Michael Blanding discusses a book as compelling as its subtitle is long: The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps, 1 pm.

Saturday! Former Chicago-Sun Times columnist Debra Pickett presents her debut book Reporting Lives at City Lit Books, 5 pm.

Saturday! Make your way to Quimby's Bookstore for a celebration of John Porcellino's new graphic novel, The Hospital Suite, as well as a screening of King-Cat Comics documentary Root Hog or Die, 7 pm.

Saturday! The Kates return to the Book Cellar for more hilarious live lit. Check it out at 7 pm.

Sunday! Free Bourbon. Now that I have your attention, check out the Book Cellar's author event featuring Michael Veach, along with distillers Bill Rix Welter and Paul Heltko, as they discuss Veach's new book, Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage. Free bourbon tasting to follow, and all spirits will be available for purchased at Provenance down the street, 4 pm.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Awards Wed Sep 24 2014

Right This Way to "Women & Children First Way"

Talk about bragging rights: in a move that celebrates Women & Children First's reputation as a city institution, the bookstore is getting its own street in Chicago. 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman announced on Tuesday that the block at Clark St and Farragut Ave will bear the honorary name, "Women & Children First Way," as a tribute to the "iconic indie bookstore's impact as a community builder and neighborhood anchor."

This latest bit of good news comes on the heels of a change in ownership and talk of expansion in July. Founders Linda Bubon and Ann Christophersen sold W&CF to store manager Sarah Hollenbeck and her colleague, Lynn Mooney. Hollenbeck and Mooney bring years of writing and publishing experience to their leadership of Chicago's preeminent feminist bookstore.

The unveiling is scheduled for October 11th, and the celebration calls for poetry and performances by Yvonne Zipter and W&CF bookseller Shanta Nurullah. The event is free and open to the public. You'll also have a chance to meet Hollenbeck and Mooney in their store, where they'll share public drawings and a floorplan for the store renovation, set to begin in winter 2015.

Danette Chavez / Comments (0)

Events Wed Sep 24 2014

Explore Creative Writing at Unabridged Books this Friday

Chicago authors lead a literary expedition, Exploring Creative Nonfiction, this Friday, Sept. 26, 7pm at Unabridged Bookstore, 3251 N. Broadway.

The exploration team includes authors Wendy Ortiz (Excavation: A Memoir), Dmitry Samarov (Where To?: A Hack Memoir) and Megan Stielstra (Once I Was Cool). Take notes in your field manual as they read selections of their work. Then get a chance to dig into their process and experiences with a short Q&A. Closing the night will be a book signing and a chance to pick up their texts for further study. Wine and refreshments will be provided. The event is free and open to the public.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Fri Sep 19 2014


Tonight! Funny Ha-Ha celebrates ten years of live literary delights at the Hideout! All proceeds go to literacy group Sit Stay Read. $10, 6:30 pm.

Tonight! Head over to Challengers Comics where author Sean Dove will be signing copies of Last Days of Danger, 7 pm.

Tonight! Women & Children First hosts Beatriz Badikian-Gartler as she reads from her book of poetry Unveiling the Mind, 7:30 pm.

Tonight! Author Brian Costello presents his second novel, Losing in Gainesville at the Empty Bottle, 9 pm.

Saturday! Tamale Hut Reading Series continues at (where else?) The Tamale Hut Cafe, 7 pm.

Sunday! Jesmyn Ward reads from her book Men we Reaped at Women & Children First, 4:30 pm.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Poetry Thu Sep 18 2014

We Owe Chicago

Palmer Square - copyright Gary Eckstein

Fall into the rhythm. Follow

the footprints already broken

through the snow.
This path was made for you.
A road left by someone's boots

a half-step wider than

your own gait

yet — follow them,

don't stop to founder

in the wind like

a half crumpled receipt

tumbling westward from the lake.
What we owe the winter is shared


a glove returned,

a crinkled forehead expressing

sympathy, saying thanks

and what can pass for a smile

behind a snowbrittle scarf.
This is all we can feel,

numb and


We burn where we've left

some part open

to the elements.

Say: we can have this embrace —

the banks of the lake are frozen mid-wave

but we totter out together,

snap pictures against the wind.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub / Comments (0)

Events Fri Sep 12 2014

Unabridged Bookstore Throws a Free Party for Paying Guests

The Paying Guests.jpgSet in 1920's London, The Paying Guests examines the social shift that followed the First World War: the extraordinary moment of transformation for women's role in society. Sarah Waters' much-anticipated novel has been hailed as absorbing, compelling, and eloquent; and now copies are coming to you!

Unabridged Books has just heard word that they will be receiving limited signed copies of The Paying Guests and the only proper vessel for their vast enthusiasm is, of course, a party! Featuring complimentary brew from neighboring DryHop Brewers, snacks, jams, and what promise to be "adorable lit-themed photo ops," this Monday's festivities are not to be missed. In addition to Waters' autographed arrivals, Unabridged will be celebrating Margaret Atwood's new collection, Stone Mattress, and Ian McEwan's new novel, The Children Act. In honor of all three authors, for Monday night only 100% of their works in the store will be available at a 20% discount.

Once you've sunk your teeth into old favorites and new releases, get a sneak peek at what Unabridged has in store for their stock; you might just win advanced copies of upcoming releases.

The festivities are this Monday at 10:30 pm. Come on out for your chance at winning a signed copy, and for the plethora of party perks!

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Sep 12 2014


Today! Joan Adler stops by The Standard Club to read from her latest book For the Sake of the Children: The Letters Between Otto Frank and Nathan Straus Jr., 12 pm.

Today! Stop by the Union League Club where Tavis Smiley will discuss his book Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year, 12 pm.

Tonight! Artists Greg and Fake Petre celebrate the release of their new comic American Nature at Challengers Comics, 6 - 10 pm.

Saturday! Everybody's Coffee hosts a panel for children's book writers and illustrators, all day.

Saturday! Erika T. Wurth releases her new book, Crazy Horse's Girlfriend, with a launch party at City Lit Books, 5 pm.

Sunday! It's a birthday party for beloved author Roald Dahl! Bring your BFF to celebrate the BFG, and whatever you do don't eat the blueberries, at Women & Children First, 3:30 pm.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Events Wed Sep 10 2014

Book Release This Saturday for Erika Wurth's Crazy Horse's Girlfriend

Erika Wurth celebrates the release of her newest book, Crazy Horse's Girlfriend (Curbside Splendor Publishing), Saturday, Sept. 13 at City Lit Books, 2523 N. Kedzie, at 5pm.

Wurth, an Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee raised outside of Denver, is a teacher of creative writing at Western Illinois University. Her debut poetry collection, Indian Trains, (West End Press) is about small town Indians, mixed-bloods of multiple tribes. In Crazy Horse's Girlfriend Wurth returns to explore the modern preconceptions of what it means to be Native American.

For the release she will be joined by fellow readers Lindsay Hunter (Ugly Girls out on Farrar, Straus and Giroux is due out on Nov. 4), Samantha Irby (Meaty, also on Curbside), and Jac Jemc (A Different Bed Every Time, out on Dzanc Books in October). The event is free. Books will be available for purchase.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Events Wed Sep 10 2014

Chicago Zine Fest Wants to Play Croquet with You

CZF Movie Night.jpg

In today's fast-paced, hyper-tech, power-driven society, it's difficult to stay in touch with the truth; difficult to be yourself, to produce authentic work, to embrace individualism. This is why in such tumultuous times it is important to revisit those pieces of art that hold a mirror up to society and ask, "What is your damage, Heather?"

Chicago Zine Fest, one of the largest conferences of self-published talent in the country, celebrates artists and authors with powerful voices and unique perspective -- Veronicas in a world of Heathers. While CZF 2015 is still many moons away, the preparations have already begun, and the festival needs your help. Join the Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia Ave.) in a fundraising screening of the darkest of comedies on Sept. 24, featuring candy from Dandy Sweets! Doors open at 5:30pm, $7 suggested donation.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Sep 05 2014


Tonight! Author Rachel Wilson celebrates the release of her debut YA novel, Don't Touch at The Book Cellar with a reading and signing at 7 pm.

Tonight! Women & Children first hosts author Rachel DeWoskin in a reading of her new novel, Blind, 7:30 pm.

Saturday! Try your hand at spoken word with performer Gregory Geffrard by signing up for a workshop at Stage773, 4 pm.

Saturday! Enjoy a live taping of the podcast Booked! at Logan Square's City Lit Books. This round of readings will feature Richard Thomas, Jac Jemc, Ben Tanzer, and Brandon Tietz.

Saturday! It's the opening night of the new season of Chicago's Beast Women, an all-female performance variety revue at The Den Theatre, 10:30 pm.

Sunday! Chicago Opera Theater examines the Bard with a seminar on MacBath at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The discussion will explore MacBeth interpretations of film and stage, including the upcoming operatic performance, 12 pm.

Sunday! Don't miss the monthly live lit potluck Here, Chicago. Bring a dish for all to dine on and your entry is free! 7:30 pm.

Sunday! Check out the September installment of Truth or Lie, featuring Alicia Swiz and Sarah Terez Rosenblum, at Firecat Projects, 7:30 pm.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Feature Fri Aug 29 2014

Lillie West, Brain Frame Intern, Remembers

brain frame eulogy.jpeg
West drew this eulogy to Brain Frame exclusively for Gaper's Block.

Lillie West has a pleasant British accent. She's wearing a blue dress with white flowers on it. When she sees me walk up to the Hot Wok sushi joint near her school, SAIC downtown, she points at me and does not stop until I'm near enough to hug her. She's on the phone.

"You," I say.

"You," she replies with her pleasant British accent, and hangs up. She's excited about classes, where she's just come from. She considers dropping an intro class but fears she's doing it for the wrong reasons. "Four day weekend, right" She shrugs. We make our way inside.

Continue reading this entry »

Alex Thompson / Comments (0)

Readings Fri Aug 29 2014

Live Lit Lights Up Tuesday

tuesday funk 09/14We're going right back to work the day after Labor Day. On Tuesday, Sept. 2, two live literary events feature Gapers Block writers and editors, and they're both free.

At 7:30pm, the eclectic monthly reading series Tuesday Funk returns to the upstairs lounge at Hopleaf, 5148 N. Clark St. This month's guests include Scott Smith, Ryan DiGiorgi, Holly McDowell -- as well as GB's music editor Anne Holub and contributor Jasmine Davila. GB's editor and publisher Andrew Huff (that is, me) and Eden Robins and co-host the festivities.

Doors open at 7pm (and no earlier -- really), and it's probably a good idea to get there early if you want to sit. The reading starts promptly at 7:30pm. There's no cover, but you must be 21 to attend. RSVP on Facebook.

At 9pm, Two Cookie Minimum is back at the Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont Ave., The theme this month is "Hidden Treasures" and the lineup includes writer Scott Miles, poet Anthony Madrid, comics artist Zelda Galeswsky, writer at Forgotten Chicago Dan "Pogo" Pogorzelski and Gapers Block Book Club editor Miden Wood. Book Club staffer John "Johnny Misfit" Wawrzaszek hosts and provides delicious cookies for the audience. It's also free, and also 21-and-over.

Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Aug 29 2014


Tonight! Union Street Gallery brings you a plethora of poetry at open mic Union Street Beat, 6:30 pm.

Tonight! Contributors to semi-annual literary magazine After Hours celebrate its 29th edition with a reading at the Book Cellar, 7 pm.

Tonight! Women & Children First hosts D. Bryant Simmons as she discusses her new book, How to Knock a Bravebird from Her Perch, 7:30 pm.

Saturday! Feast on franks with your favorite inter-dimensional travelers at Chowdown at Sundown(ers), Challengers Comics' cook out with special guests, and creators of the Sundowners comic series, Sean Dove, Tim Seeley, and Jim Terry, 4 - 8 pm.

Saturday! Make your way to Quimby's to enjoy Lane Milburn's new graphic novel, Twelve Gems, described by Robot 6 as "'80s-indie black-and-white space-opera," 7 pm.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Events Wed Aug 27 2014

Indie Publication Stare Celebrated with Exhibit and New Issue

Stare was an independent publication released from 1976 to 1991 by artist, print maker, and teacher Kevin Riordan. The publication collected irreverent, arresting graphic art and writing with equal attention to how it was printed and bound. To celebrate Stare's legacy, Riordan approached Spudnik Press to host the exhibit Recombinant Stare. The show includes issues of the magazine as well as books, posters, press sheets, and photographs. It brings together recent and selected works by some of Stare's contributors, including Wayne Bertola, Mike Brehm, Elroy Christy, Peter Hannan, Jean Riordan and the late Fritz Wolfmeyer. The exhibit will also be the impetus for a new publication, the first in over two decades, curated by Riordan.

In order to fully understand the scope of Stare, I emailed its creator for an interview. Riordan discusses his printing process and the subsequent release parties thrown over the years. He talks of lofts spaces, early punk bands, and DIY printing. In doing so, he also provides a glimpse into the history of Chicago's independent print community. This is a tremendous story of a passionate artist and how he made his publication come to life.

Continue reading this entry »

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

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



Wed Oct 1 2014
Reading Under the Influence @ Sheffield's

Wed Oct 1 2014
Elaine Soloway Book Launch @ Women & Children First

Thu Oct 2 2014
Story Club @ Holiday Club

Tue Oct 7 2014
John Darnielle & Unabridged Books @ Lincoln Hall

About GB Book Club

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

Editor: Miden Wood,
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