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Sunday, November 23

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Book Club

Bookmarks Fri Nov 21 2014


Tonight! Richard Flanagan discusses Man-Booker-Prize The Narrow Road to the Deep North at Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday! Bookamania! Harold Washington Library will be home to a children's book festival that includes storytelling, music and appearances by children's book authors and illustrators, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Saturday! Logan Square's City Lit Books hosts author Lisa Doyle as she reads from her debut novel, Milked, 5 p.m.

Saturday! Make your way to the Book Cellar for a night of poetry, featuring readings by Kate Gale, Ron Koertge and William Trowbridge, 7 p.m.

Saturday! Catch another week of live lit show You're Being Ridiculous at Mary's Attic, featuring performers Jim Bennett, Margaret Dunn, Dennis Frymire, Jonathan Mayo, Jeremy Owens, JH Palmer and Stephanie Sack 7:30 p.m.

Sunday! Take it easy. Happy Thanks-Week!

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Readings Wed Nov 19 2014

Give Thanks Through Stories

Just because it's a holiday week next week doesn't mean the live lit scene is taking a break.

On Monday, Nov. 24, 2nd Story heads to City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., for a Thanksgiving show. "A Land of Plenty: Stories of Scarcity & Abundance" will feature stories by Stephanie Chavara, Minita Gandhi and Lott Hill. Doors open at 6pm, and the show starts at 8. Tickets are $18, though some pay-what-you-can tickets will be available at the door.

On Black Wednesday, Nov. 26, two shows vie for your attention, and eithr should give you plenty to talk about over the dinner table Thursday.

Miss Spoken, the female-centered reading series, returns to Gallery Cabaret, 2020 N. Oakley Ave., at 7pm. The theme this month is "Body Hair," and the featured readers are Alyssa Sorresso, Lillia Rissman, Maya Marshall, Samantha Irby, Lisa White and Jessica DiMaio. Carly Oishi and Rosamund Lannin cohost. There's no cover, but it's 21 and over.

Meanwhile, You're Being Ridiculous, the sassy, funny and fun storytelling show created by Jeremy Owens, is back at Mary's Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. in Andersonville. Hear stories on the theme "Confession" from Jim Bennett, Margaret Dunn, Dennis Frymire, Jonathan Mayo, Jeremy Owens, JH Palmer and Stephanie Sack. Stories start at 7:30pm, and tickets are $15 online or at the door. There is no better way to avoid your family.

Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Nov 14 2014


Tonight! Ridiculous and lovely live lit show You're Being Ridiculous returns to Mary's Attic, 7:30 pm.

Tonight! The Kates, a live lit show featuring women in comedy, will return to the Book Cellar, 8 pm.

Saturday! Anjelica Houston follows up her appearance at the Chicago Humanities Festival with a reading of her memoir, Watch Me, at Union League Club, 12 pm.

Saturday! Egg Money Poetry Collective reads from their recent work at Harold Washington Library, 3 pm.

Sunday! Seminary Co-op Bookstore hosts Maya Schenwar in a discussion of her book, Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn't Work and How We Can Do Better, 2 pm.

Sunday! Gabrielle Hamilton stops by the Publican to serve up a feast of dishes included in her new cookbook, Prune, 6 pm.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Events Tue Nov 11 2014

Two Cookie Minimum, A Treat

The Hungry Brain is closing. To those who take liquid lunches, dinner or drinks on Belmont in Roscoe Village, this will mean one thing. For those in the live lit community, it will mean another.

The Hungry Brain is an iconic bar on Belmont and Oakley that has housed the monthly reading series Two Cookie Minimum since 2011, as well as a vintage Arkanoid game in the back (for as long as anyone's been playing Arkanoid).

To mark this occasion, Two Cookie's host Johnny Misfit brought in some of the city's best live lit hosts and curators to read. Misfit, known with more glossal strain as John Wawrzazsek, roasted each reader with endearing delicacy.

Continue reading this entry »

Alex Thompson / Comments (0)

Events Fri Nov 07 2014

Curbside Pop Up Book Fair this Sunday

This Sunday, Nov. 9, publisher Curbside Splendor hosts one of its staple events, a Pop Up Book Fair at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., from 1 to 6pm.

The fair will include over 30 local and regional presses, authors and organizations.
The list of attendees includes presses Chicago Center for Literature and Photography and Featherproof books; magazines Poetry, Graze, and MAKE; and organizations Chicago Writers Association and Chicago Women in Publishing among others. Snag new Curbside titles at their table and check out their imprints 7 Vientos and Artiface.

Being that this is at the Empty Bottle, music will be provided by the bands Good Evening and Everything's Alright.

The event is $8 or free when you RSVP.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Oct 31 2014


Happy Halloweekend from Book Club! Celebrate with any of this spooky fare:

Tonight! Scott Kenemore reads from his horror novel The Grand Hotel at City Lit Books, 6:30 pm.

Saturday! Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone, will present his newest novel Harold Washington Library's Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, 1:30 pm.

Sunday! From 11 am to 5 pm, The Green Mill hosts "Top Hats & tales," a fundraiser for Story Club Magazine. The event features work from some of the city's best: Megan Stielstra, Lily Be, Don Hall, Samantha Irby, Kelsie Huff, and Jennifer Peepas. $30 at the door, $20 in advance. Costume contest and raffle prizes included.

Sunday! Eileen Myles discusses anthology Afterglow at the Poetry Foundation, 2 pm.

Sunday! Don DeGrazia's live lit show "Come Home Chicago" returns to Underground Wonder Bar with an exceptional lineup including Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, the Tribune's Rick Kogan, and Kevin Coval, founder of Louder Than a Bomb, 6 pm.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Author Thu Oct 30 2014

Weekend of Woe/"Wow!" at the Chicago Humanities Festival

chf_journeys.jpgWashington University Professor William J. Maxwell dropped a few bombs last weekend at his Chicago Humanities Festival lecture, "FBI as Literary Critic." Abandoning his Powerpoint-style slideshow for a "fuck it...what do you wanna know?" approach, Maxwell's open-endedness miffed some festival subscribers but opened the floodgates for a more expansive dialogue. He began talking of J. Edgar Hoover's interest in authors of the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts movement.

The subject led to unexpected side streets of death threats and latent homosexuality. His opening anecdote involved a white FBI agent named William C. Sullivan, a professorial type and liberal arts graduate, who wrote a letter to Martin Luther King Jr. in an implied black voice. "Like all frauds," Sullivan wrote, "your end is approaching." Gasps rippled through the audience.

The letter ended, "there is but one way out for you, you better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation."

A man in a starched shirt raised his hand. "This sounds something like a death threat!" he exclaimed. Maxwell had assumed that this, and Hoover's 40-year homosexual marriage, were common knowledge.

Continue reading this entry »

Alex Thompson / Comments (0)

Book Club Thu Oct 30 2014

Jamaica Kincaid Discusses Voice, Working at New Yorker

JamaicaKincaid.jpgUnlike a public lecture, critically-acclaimed author Jamaica Kincaid's conversation with CHF Emeritus Artistic Director Lawrence Weschler covered a wide-ranging variety of topics. The conversation, which was held at Northwestern University's Cahn Auditorium, was held on Oct 25 in front of an almost-full theater.

This year's Chicago Humanities Festival revolved around the theme of "Journeys," and Kincaid's discussion reflected on her own. Born in Antigua, Kincaid moved to New York at the age of 17 to become an au paire. After working her way through college, Kincaid became a staff writer at The New Yorker. Today, Kincaid is a professor at Harvard.

Much of the hour-long discussion was spent on Kincaid's childhood in Antigua and her days at The New Yorker. She had many humorous things to say about her relationship with her mother, her early years in New York, and her experience working with George Trow, who helped Kincaid secure a job at The New Yorker. According to Kincaid, Trow hired her because he "doesn't hire reporters, [he] hires voices."

Continue reading this entry »

Jack McCormick / Comments (0)

Book Club Thu Oct 30 2014

Bored? Here's a Novel Idea...

In case you've decided to call it quits on the drinking for a while after having too many j├Ągerbombs on Halloween, here's something to do rather than stare out the window and watch the leaves die. It's called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and it's an online and local community that supports writers as they attempt to write a 50,000 word rough draft of a novel by the end of November.

Each week in November, there are going to be weekly write-in events at libraries, cafes, and book stores throughout Chicago, where fellow NaNoWriMo participants meet up to work and discuss their novels. In addition to this, there are inspirational lectures and a final celebration at the end of the month. To get involved, visit and sign up.

Jack McCormick / Comments (0)

Book Club Wed Oct 29 2014

Writers, on Your Mark...

Screen shot 2014-10-28 at 10.00.54 PM.pngChicago Reader is now accepting submissions for its 2015 Pure Fiction issue, which will be published January. Local writers of all backgrounds can submit as many entrees as they want so long as they're anywhere up to 3,000 words. Winners of the contest will be paid for their work.

Not sure what to write? Check out the archive of previous Pure Fiction issues for some inspiration. The collection boasts a number of stories from writers such as Ben Greenman and Jonathan Messinger (former Time Out Chicago editor).

Submissions for the 15th Pure Fiction issue must be turned in by Nov. 15 to Good luck!

Jack McCormick / Comments (0)

Book Club Fri Oct 24 2014


All Weekend! The Chicago Humanities Festival is bursting with mind-boggling events.

Tonight! The Book Cellar hosts David Bell in reading from his latest novel, The Forgotten Girl, 7 pm.

Tonight! Creators of the rich genre of sci fi romance present their works at Quimby's Bookstore, 7 pm.

Saturday! The Tamale Hut reading Series gets spooky with a special Halloween live lit show, 7 pm.

Sunday! Whistler hosts release party for Tad Atcox's latest novel, Does Not Love, 6:30 pm.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Author Thu Oct 23 2014

Take A Journey With Eula Biss

The Chicago Humanities Festival begins celebrating its 25th anniversary on Saturday, October 25th. This year's theme, "Journeys," has been in the works for a while, so get ready to visit various nooks of the city for a few (dozen) of the 80 events, which will be concentrated at cultural institutions in the downtown area, but will also branch out to Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

We recommend starting with a jaunt to Evanston for a panel with renowned essayist, Eula Biss. Biss is the author of the award-winning Notes from No Man's Land, a collection of essays exploring race and racial identity that Biss compiled while traveling across the country. Her latest work, On Immunity: An Inoculation, spans less geography, but tackles no less controversy; prompted by the anxiety of new motherhood, Biss takes a harrowing look at the science and history of immunizations. The author will be joined by Katie Watson, a professor of medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern.

The panel will run from 2:30pm-3:30pm on Saturday at the Owen L. Coon Forum inside of the Donald P. Jacobs Center at 2001 Sheridan Rd, Evanston. Tickets will be available at the door (cash only), and are $5 for students/teachers, $9 for CHF members, and $12 for the general public. For more information, call the box office at 312-494-9509.

Danette Chavez / Comments (0)

Events Wed Oct 22 2014

Book Club @ The Chicago Humanities Festival

The Chicago Humanities Festival begins full-swing this weekend, and four BC staff writers are first in line. Check out where we're headed this Saturday, Oct. 25, and why you should tag along!

jamaica_kincaid.pngJack @ Jamaica Kincaid (11:00 am)
In college, I accidentally signed up for a literature class entitled "Caribbean Literature." Thinking it'd be sort of a blow off course, I quickly found out I was dead wrong. The lit that we read, although there was an overwhelming amount of it, was incredibly enjoyable and included writers such as Sam Selvon, Edwidge Dantecat and Nobel Prize-winner V.S. Naipaul.

Of all the books we read during that semester, there's one that stands out above all else: Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid. I read the text front to back in one sitting, which was admittedly no real feat, the novella being somewhere around 100 pages. However, it was my favorite out of all the quality books that we read.

Much of Kincaid's work reflects on the disorienting experience of moving from one place to another, a perfect companion for many a Chicagoan. A widely-acclaimed writer for her fiction, nonfiction, and work as a staff writer at The New Yorker, Kincaid has done it all and won many prizes in the process. Check out her talk with CHF Emeritus Artistic Director, Lawrence Weschler, on Oct. 25, 11am-12pm at Cahn Auditorium. Tickets are $15 for CHF Members and $20 for the general public.

eula_biss_where_we_are_from.pngDannette @ Eula Bliss (2:30 pm)
Biss is the author of the award-winning Notes from No Man's Land, a collection of essays exploring race and racial identity that Biss compiled while traveling across the country. Her latest work, On Immunity: An Inoculation, spans less geography, but tackles no less controversy; prompted by the anxiety of new motherhood, Biss takes a harrowing look at the science and history of immunizations. The author will be joined by Katie Watson, a professor of medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern.

wallace_shawn.pngAlex @ Wallace Shawn (5:00 pm)
Whether your memories of Wallace Shawn are at dinner with Andre Gregory, shouting "inconceivable!" into the ironic abyss of The Princess Bride or starring in Jonathan Demme's newest film, The Master Builder (an adaptation by Shawn of Ibsen's play), it is certain that this Saturday's Chicago Humanities Festival event would be silly to miss.

The iconic actor and playwright has been featured in nearly 100 films (including 7 in 1995 alone). He was awarded the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award in 2005 as a Master American Dramatist.

still_failing_gary_shteyngart_returns.pngMiden @ Gary Shteyngart (7:30 pm)
Even if one hasn't heard of Gary Shteyngart, bookstore loiterers would doubtless recognize the polka-dotted jacket of his bestselling novel Super Sad True Love Story. When I first started reading Love Story, I underlined every phrase that made me laugh out loud. Now, my copy is so dense with stripes one could feasibly call it nautical.

Of course I can't help but wonder about the author of a book that so strikes me with its wit. Now I need not wonder at all: Shteyngart's memoir, Little Failure employs both wit and heart in detailing his childhood; from the transition from Soviet Russia to America, to his extreme childhood asthma, to the climactic unveiling of his first unreleased work -- a 100-page novel about Lenin and a magical goose that he wrote for his grandmother in exchange for slices of cheese.

Miden Wood / Comments (1)

News Tue Oct 21 2014

Clarence Page in Discussion @ The Union League Club

Screen shot 2014-10-21 at 3.15.44 PM.pngThis Wednesday, Oct. 22, Printers Row presents a luncheon at The Union League Club (65 W. Jackson Blvd.) in honor of Pulitzer Prize-winner and nationally renowned columnist Clarence Page, wherein he will discuss his new anthology of work, Culture Worrier, Selected Columns 1984 - 2014, Reflections on Race, Politics and Social Change.

In the 30 years since his first column in The Chicago Tribune, Page has witnessed a multitude of American milestones; his commentary on which has rightfully earned Page a revered place in the journalistic community. The anthology traverses decades and topics alike, as his interests, though always built around a core of cultural analysis, are truly varied. (Perusing his latest posts on Page's Page you'll find articles regarding President Obama's second term, the food gentrification of collard greens, and the American response to the ebola virus, to name a few.)

Page will be joined in discussion by Bruce Dold, editorial page editor of the Chicago Tribune. The event kicks off with a reception at 11:30am, with the discussion set to begin at noon. Admission is $35, and copies of Culture Worrier will be available for sale at the event.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Reviews Mon Oct 20 2014

Blind's Self-Pitying Narrator is Tough to Love

If you speak to any sighted person, becoming blind later on in life is an utterly devastating proposition. They would have no idea how blind people cope, how organizations thrive to better our lives, or how we could overcome so many mundane challenges in a single day. Blind by Rachel DeWoskin is an assumptive story that is a calming, engrossing read that doesn't hold many answers about how blind people -- such as myself -- accurately or factually live life but houses a wonderful plot and premise beneath stellar writing.

Continue reading this entry »

Robert Kingett / Comments (0)

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



Mon Nov 24 2014
2nd Story @ City Winery

Wed Nov 26 2014
You're Being Ridiculous @ Mary's Attic

Wed Nov 26 2014
Miss Spoken @ Gallery Cabaret

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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