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Sunday, December 15

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The New Booklist Online

If you've ever read the book reviews provided on the pages of some online booksellers, you may recognize Booklist as the source for many of those reviews. But Booklist has been around a lot longer than a certain online retailer that shares a name with a South American river. In fact, the journal has been librarians' best kept secret for a little over 100 years.

Booklist is a publication of the American Library Association, and, like the ALA, the journal is based right here in Chicago. And now Booklist has launched its highly anticipated new website, Booklist Online, which finally gives the general public a chance to explore the guide public and school libraries have been using to select new materials since 1905.

Although a subscription is required to search the vast review database, visitors are treated to a number of free features, including a review of the day, regular columns from the print version of the journal and a new Booklist blog, "Likely Stories," which provides a somewhat irreverent behind-the-scenes look at the world of book reviewing.

Booklist Online also includes the web-only exclusive "At Length With..." feature, which promises to bring readers long-format interviews too lengthy to run in the print publication. The current interview may belie the Chicago roots of Booklist as it features a discussion with critically acclaimed author Stuart Dybek, a Chicago native whose book I Sailed with Magellan was a recent GB Book Club selection.

So, go check out Booklist Online and find out why librarians have coveted this publication for more than a century.

Spring Books Announcement

Despite the city's recent flirtation with freezing temperatures, spring is definitely here, and new books with local interest and by writers with local connections are popping up like daffodils. The following are just a few of the books now on shelves or soon to be released.

Fiction

Abel, Jessica. La Perdida. Random. (March 2006)

Balliett, Blue. The Wright 3. Scholastic. 272 p. (April 2006)
Young adult novel from the best-selling author of Chasing Vermeer about a group of sixth graders from the University of Chicago's Laboratory School who try to save a Frank Lloyd Wright home from the wrecking ball.

Behrens, Andy. All the Way. Dutton. 256 p. (May 2006)
Young adult novel telling the coming-of-age story of a high school senior who goes on a road trip from Chicago to Charleston, South Carolina with a couple of friends.

Berg, Elizabeth. We Are All Welcome Here. Random. 208 p. (April 2006)

Case, David. Out of Cabrini. Five Star. 341 p. (April 2006)
Debut crime novel from a real-life Chicago police veteran.

Lukasik, Gail. Destroying Angels. Five Star. 295 p. (April 2006)
Debut mystery novel about a suspected murder in Door County, Wisconsin.

Mandel, Steven B. Another Lost Angel. Five Star. 292 p. (May 2006)
Another debut crime novel introducing the character Linny Nomar, a Chicago police detective.

Non-Fiction

Adler, Jeffrey S. First in Violence, Deepest in Dirt: Homicide in Chicago, 1875-1920. Harvard University Press. 362 p. (March 2006)
A history of violence in Chicago at the turn of the 20th Century.

Green, James. Death in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement, and the Bombing That Divided Gilded Age America. Pantheon Books. 400 p. (March 2006)
A new book about the Haymarket riot in Chicago in 1886.

Pitluk, Adam. Standing Eight: The Inspiring Story of Jesus "El Matador" Chavez, Who Became Lightweight Champion of the World. Da Capo. 248 p. (May 2006)
Biography of the champion boxer who grew up on Chicago's West Side.

What We're Reading: Near West Side Stories

The Gapers Block Book Club is currently reading Near West Side Stories: Struggles for Community in Chicago's Maxwell Street Neighborhood by Carolyn Eastwood (Lake Claremont Press, 2002). If you missed the introduction to the book, you can find here in the archives.

One of the most powerful and moving moments in the book occurs in the concluding paragraphs of Florence Scala's story. Scala is a renowned community activist who has fought to protect her neighborhood on the Near West Side from the encroachment of City Hall and the University of Illinois at Chicago for almost 50 years. The final paragraphs of her story, told in her own words, powerfully capture the half-century of loss, anger and frustration she and the residents of the Near West Side have been forced to endure. The passages ends, "as I left the building, there was all of downtown lit up in front of me and for the first time in many years I felt teary-eyed. I thought, you bastards, you took it all, we don't have anything. I'm an alien person here."

For more information on the book club, see the end of this column.

~*~

Join the Gapers Block Book Club! Just sign up for the email list for news, announcements and more. And, visit the book club forum to discuss the book online. This month we are reading Near West Side Stories: Struggles for Community in Chicago's Maxwell Street Neighborhood by Carolyn Eastwood. And, author Carolyn Eastwood is scheduled to join us to discuss the book on Monday, May 8, at The Book Cellar, located at 4736 N. Lincoln Ave. The meeting will begin at 7:30pm.

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About the Author(s)

Alice Maggio is a Chicago librarian. She welcomes questions and topic suggestions for her column at . She may not reply to every query, but you may be contacted if your question is selected for the column.

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