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Thursday, September 3

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Book Club

Readings Thu Sep 03 2015

Gloria Steinem in Conversation with Roxane Gay


Women & Children First bookstore will host an intimate conversation between feminist icons Gloria Steinem and Roxane Gay on October 29 at The People's Church in Uptown. This one night only event celebrates the release of Steinem's forthcoming memoir, My Life on the Road.

Gloria Steinem, best known for her outspoken advocacy on behalf of women, was a founding editor of, and political commentator for, New York Magazine, and founding editor of Ms. Magazine. She is the recipient of many accolades, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.

Roxane Gay, critic, and commentator is the author of the 2014 bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist. She is a professor of English at Purdue University and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Time, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, The Butter, and many others.

My Life on the Road details Steinem's life of travel, activism and leadership and how those experiences helped her to inspire change and revolution. This event will be a rare and great opportunity to hear from two different generations of important feminist leaders

The conversation will be held at The People's Church (941 W. Lawrence). Doors open at 6:15pm and the program begins at 7pm with a book signing following from 8 to 10pm. One ticket is included with the pre-order purchase of Gloria Steinem's My Life on the Road from Women & Children First. Tickets are also available in-store, or by calling 773.769.9299.

Jeremy Owens / Comments (0)

Books Tue Sep 01 2015

Best Chicago Novels by Neighborhood

Last week, the New York Public Library released its list of the Best New York City Novels by Neighborhood, pairing the city's best works of fiction with the neighborhoods in which they take place, from Henry James to Teju Cole. Since Chicago's literary history is just as impressive, I thought I'd take a crack at the City of Big Shoulders' best novels, neighborhood by neighborhood, from Henry Blake Fuller to Sandra Cisneros.

Continue reading this entry »

Adam Morgan / Comments (14)

Book Club Fri Aug 28 2015

Poetry Center of Chicago Revives Poets Look at Paintings

Poets Look at Paintings.jpg

While the world contemplates whether poetry is relevant or dead, the Poetry Center of Chicago revives an event to celebrate 40 years of history and connect the history of the organization to contemporary Chicago.

In 1974, the Poetry Center hosted its first live event, Poets Look at Paintings, in the Museum of Contemporary Art. Today, the revival of Poets Look at Paintings makes an effort to connect two seemingly disparate art forms and create something new and beautifully intricate.

To assemble a line-up for the event in November, the Poetry Center calls for poems that are "rooted in visual art in some way, whether that be in response to a piece, in narration, in action, in reflection, etc." These art-inspired poems are referred to as "ekphrastic poems," which according to The Poetry Foundation, seek to describe a scene or a work of art. One of the most famous examples of ekphrastic poetry is John Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn," but just as art continues to change and evolve, the Poetry Center's event and call for submissions challenges today's poets to match the evolution of art.

The deadline to join the event as a reader is September 21. You can submit in a .doc, .docx, or PDF attachment up to three poems rooted in visual art to with the subject line "Poets Look at Paintings." Title your attachment "LAST NAME_PLAP." You can find more information about submitting on the Poetry Center's website.

The Poets Look at Paintings event will take place on Nov. 18 from 6 to 7pm in the Garland Room at the Chicago Cultural Center. The event is free, so come support the Poetry Center of Chicago and the history of literary Chicago!

Brianna Kratz / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Aug 28 2015


FRIDAY! Featherproof author and journalist Jessica Hopper is joined by Suzanne Scanlon for a reading and conversation at Women and Children First.

FRIDAY! "August is Awesome Sauce" say female comedy troop the Kates as they host a reading at the Book Cellar.

SATURDAY! Reading series You're Being Ridiculous ends its August readings themed Rites of Passage at Mary's Attic.

SATURDAY! 57th Street Books presents Fresh Ayers, a conversation hosted by author Bill Ayers with guest Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz author of An Indigenous People's History of the United States.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Contest Wed Aug 26 2015

Joe Meno's Marvel and a Wonder: A Party & a Contest

marvel and a wonderAuthor Joe Meno's latest novel, Marvel and a Wonder, will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 1 by Akashic Books.

The book tells the story of Jim Falls, a Korean War veteran, and his 16-year-old grandson Quentin, who he is raising on a farm in southern Indiana. In the summer of 1995, they unexpectedly receive a beautiful quarter horse, whose arrival draws the interest of a pair of meth-addicted brothers, who steal and sell the horse. The Falls must descend into the seedy underbelly of the horse world to get their horse back. You can read an excerpt of Marvel and a Wonder on The Rumpus.

To celebrate the book's release, Meno is throwing a party and reading at the Book Cellar on Thursday, Sept. 10, sponsored by Gapers Block and lit journal Goreyesque. In addition to reading from and signing his new book, Meno will be joined by Jan-Henry Gray, Amy Giacalone, Jan Bottiglieri and Julia Fine, who will each read a short piece of their own. We hope you'll join us there -- RSVP on Facebook.

Gapers Block has a pair of signed hardcover copies of Marvel and a Wonder to give away to two lucky readers. To enter, send an email with the subject line "Joe Meno" and your name and address in the body to We'll select the winners at random from all entries received by 5pm Thursday, Aug. 27, and will mail the books out on Friday so they'll hopefully arrive by the 1st. Good luck!

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

Events Mon Aug 24 2015

Get Ready for Chicago Humanities Festival 2015

The Chicago Humanities Festival returns October 24 through November 8 as a celebration of humanities and the arts at various venues throughout the city. The festival programming contains over 180 events specializing in music, performance, film, comedy, literature and the arts. Event tickets go on sale for festival members on September 8 and to the public on September 14.

This year, their calendar is heavy with readings and discussions with too many talented authors and writers to list. Highlights include an evening with Sarah Vowel, a discussion with Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi, scary stories with Audrey Niffenegger, poetry in performance with Claudia Rankine, an award presented to Salman Rushdie, a conversation with Roxanne Gay, life in cartoons presented by Bob Mankoff, comedian Patton Oswald, and the live storytelling from Manual Cinema.

View the complete schedule of events and get tickets before they're gone.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Aug 21 2015


FRIDAY! Long running literary and music showcase Shame That Tune holds its final show at the Hideout.

FRIDAY! Bad Grammar Theater, held on the third Friday each month, is today at Powell's Bookstore in Greektown.

SATURDAY! Self publisher and ex-Chicagoan Al Burian celebrates the 20th anniversary of his zine Burn Collector with a reading at Quimbys Bookstore.

SATURDAY! Lit series You're Being Ridiculous is back at Mary's Attic with the month's theme being Rites of Passage.

SUNDAY! Indie publisher Back2Print releases their latest chapbook Sins in Good Taste by Dana Jerman with a reading and cake at Uncharted Books.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Aug 14 2015


ALL WEEKEND! First Floor Theater pays homage to literary great Franz Kafka with eight days of plays in their third annual Kafkapalooza beginning this weekend and going through August 22 at Collaboraction Theater.

FRIDAY! The Kates host their monthly reading full of ladies and laughs at the Book Cellar.

SATURDAY! Reading series You're Being Ridiculous holds its first weekly August reading at Mary's Attic with the theme Rites of Passage.

SUNDAY! Author Leah Hayes reads from her graphic novel Not Funny Ha Ha at Woman and Children First.

SUNDAY! Curbside Splendor Publishing's sponsored reading series The Marrow is back at the Whistler in Logan Square.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Book Club Thu Aug 13 2015

Breaking Boundaries at A Month Of...

Storytelling makes people vulnerable. In the context of a stage show where the teller stands in front of blinding lights, they can pretend the audience isn't quite there while the audience pretends that they're watching a performance. At A Month Of, there are blinding stage lights, but the people telling stories sit right next to you or just across the table. All you need to do is lower your own boundaries for a couple hours to listen and tell.

The concept of A Month Of is that the theme changes every month. To give you an idea of how widely themes may range, Kim Campbell talked about a past month's show in an Arts and Culture post from May. A Month Of is task-based, which means that participants/audience members/hosts accept a challenge that is decided during the previous month's show.

Continue reading this entry »

Brianna Kratz / Comments (0)

News Thu Aug 13 2015

Hot for Teacher

The Chicago Teachers Union is calling on a publisher to recall all copies of The Teacher's Strike, an erotica novel about an of-age student hooking up with his teacher during the teachers' strikes in Chicago.

Continue reading this entry »

Mike Ewing / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Aug 07 2015


FRIDAY! Canadian cartoonist Steve MacIsaac discusses and signs copies of his newest work Shirtlifter at Unabridged Books.

FRIDAY! Author Erik Maell signs copies of his newest book Mona Lisa Reimagined at Uncharted Books in Logan Square.

FRIDAY! David Masciotra present his latest work Mellancamp: American Troubador at the Book Cellar.

SATURDAY! The Museum of Contemporary Art in collaboration with the Chicago Poetry Allicance presents MCA Live Poetry Picnic Preview at the MCA (free with admission).

SUNDAY! Lit series That's All She Wrote hosts readers at Great Lakes Tattoo in West Town.

SUNDAY! Excited Utterance will hold their quarterly reading series at Uncharted Books.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Events Thu Aug 06 2015

Two Cookie Minimum Kicks Off Its Sixth Year

Reading series Two Cookie Minimum begins their sixth year next Tuesday August 11 at the Comfort Station 2579 N Milwaukee Ave. at 8pm. The reading is known for mixing a variety of talent and performance mediums. This Tuesday will be no different.

The reading welcomes special guest, writer and poet Mairead Case who is visiting from Denver, CO. Rounding out the lineup will be comic artist Andy Glass, artist and zinester Victoria Perez-Segovia, and comic artist Andy Burkholder. Hosted by series curator Johnny Misfit.

Keeping with the series namesake, there will be free cookies. The series is sponsored by Chicago Publishers Resource Center and donations collected will benefit CHIPRC.

Two Cookie ends its summer run at the Comfort Station next month on Tuesday September, 8th.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Jul 31 2015


FRIDAY! Ray's Tap reading series gets Popular (that's the theme) at Prop Thtr.

FRIDAY! The Book Cellar hosts writer and visual artist Tony Fitzpatrick for a discussion and reading of his art and new book Dime Stories.

FRIDAY! Poetry magazine RHINO Poetry hosts an open mic and reading at Brothers K Coffee house in Evanston.

SATURDAY! Poetry Foundation hosts (In)visible, a Young Chicago Artists teaching artist reading.

SUNDAY! Here, Chicago the reading series and potluck will be here, Theater Wit.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Book Club Wed Jul 29 2015

Help Us Cover Chicago's Literary Scene

helpwanted.jpgBook Club is looking for new contributors to help us cover all things literary in Chicago. We're looking for general Book Club writers, but also those interested in covering specific beats, such as: poetry, live lit previews and reviews, classic Chicago book reviews, bookstore profiles, author profiles, local indie publishing and more.

If you're passionate about Chicago's lit scene, we'd love to have you join us. As a contributor to Gapers Block, you would be expected to write at least one post a week for the A/C page, plus items for the Slowdown event calendar. Please note: this is not a paid position; we're all volunteers here on Gapers Block. Send a couple writing samples (links are OK) along with a bit about what you'd like to cover to Look forward to hearing from you!

Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Jul 24 2015


All Weekend! The Newberry Library hosts their 31st annual book fair throughout the weekend.

Friday! City Lit Books welcomes authors Christine Sneed and Leslie Parry for a a reading and conversation.

Saturday! Story Sessions holds their annual retreat at Little House of Glencoe (tickets available).

Sunday! Reading series the Marrow gets it going early at the Whistler.

Sunday! Sunday Salon Chicago has booked a solid lineup of writers for your entertainment at Riverview Tavern.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

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



Fri Sep 4 2015
Book Cellar Spelling Bee

Sun Sep 6 2015
Empty Bottle Book Club: Go Set A Watchman

Tue Sep 8 2015
Sappho's Salon @ Women & Children First

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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