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Reviews Tue Jul 07 2015

Review: Time Salvager by Wesley Chu

Time Salvager by Wesley ChuIn the year 2511, Chicago isn't somewhere you'd want to live anymore. "Everywhere they looked, rust dominated the landscape...Occasionally, a dim pale ray of light would sneak past the thick gray clouds, laying down an orange glaze across a surface...In the far distance over Lake Michigan, an electric storm sparked..."

"What happened to this place?" asks Elise Kim, a scientist who should have died over 400 years earlier. Her savior, James Griffin-Mars, responds, "Not just this place. Everywhere on Earth."

Chicago author Wesley Chu's new science fiction adventure novel from Tor Books, Time Salvager -- which hits bookstores today, July 7 -- is an impressive, ridiculously fun cross between Looper and Star Trek. Michael Bay, the pyromaniacal director of Transformers, has already optioned the book for a feature film.

Continue reading this entry »

Adam Morgan / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Jun 26 2015

Bookmarks!

All Weekend! The Amalgamated Printers Association celebrates ChicaGoose with workshops, panels, and a letterpress swap meet at various locations.

Saturday! Printers Ball 2015 is in full force with the theme Push and Pull, offering workshops, readings, hands-on demos and a steamroller!

Saturday! Army veteran Glenda Dugar reads from her book series Career Soldier at City Lit Books.

Saturday! The Kates host a comedy night at the Book Cellar.

Sunday! Quimby's Bookstore presents Three Songs, Three Writers Reading about those Songs at Live Wire Lounge.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Ink Thu Jun 25 2015

Chicago Reader's Best of Chicago Lit Selections

The Chicago Reader released its Best of 2015 list recently detailing local Arts, Culture, Food, Music and more. Here is a list of the best from our literary community.

Best Novelist
= Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl)
Best Nonfiction Writer = Samantha Irby (author of Meaty)
Best Journalist = Ben Joravsky
Best Playwright = Tracy Letts
Best storytelling series for potty humor = I Shit You Not
Best Literary Event = Printers Row Lit Fest
Best New Music Blogger = Lorena Cupcake
Best New Cookbook from Chicago = The Big Jones Cookbook
Best Bookstore = Myopic Books
Best Hidden Bookstore = Open Books Pilsen

Oh and there's one more category to mention,
Best Local Blog
= Gapers Block
Aw shucks!

Go pick up a copy this week in any of the yellow Chicago Reader boxes or newsstands throughout the city and read the entire Best Of list.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Interview Wed Jun 24 2015

An Interview with Chicago Author Lori Rader-Day about Her New Mystery, Little Pretty Things

Lori Rader-Day is one of Chicago's most exciting and talented writers, having won massive praise last year for her first novel, The Black Hour, a murder mystery set in Chicago. On July 7 her second novel, Little Pretty Things, will be published by Seventh Street Books, and it's one of the best books I've read in 2015.

lpt.jpgSet in the farthest reaches of Chicagoland -- a fictional small town called Midway in the cornfields of northwestern Indiana -- Little Pretty Things centers on a bizarre murder at a roadside motel, when a maid named Juliet Townsend discovers the body of her best friend from high school. It's creepy, clever, and full of surprises, the kind of book you stay up all night to read in one sitting.

Rader-Day completed her MFA in Creative Writing here in Chicago at Roosevelt University, under the mentorship of another great Chicago writer, Scott Blackwood. She was kind enough to chat with me at length about her new book.

Continue reading this entry »

Adam Morgan / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Jun 19 2015

Bookmarks!

Friday! Chicago Center for Literature and Photography releases author Ben Tanzer's newest book New York Stories at City Lit Books.

Saturday! Chicago Alternative Comics Expo leads a comics workshop for LGBTQ/gender non-conforming youth at the Bezazian Branch Library.

Saturday! Reading series You're Being Ridiculous celebrates LGBTQIA Pride Month with a reading at Women & Children First Bookstore.

Saturday! Author Catie Disabato discusses her new book The Ghost Network at the Book Cellar.

Sunday! Reading series the Marrow makes the move to the Whistler.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Reviews Fri Jun 19 2015

Father's Day Review: Lost in Space by Ben Tanzer

It's Father's Day! To celebrate, we bring you the second installment of our two-part spotlight on Chicago fathers writing about parenthood featuring Ben Tanzer's book Lost In Space: A Father's Journey There and Back Again (Curbside Splendor). Tanzer has been giving birth to new books almost annually, with his newest work, New York Stories, being released this month by The Chicago Center for Literature & Photography. Come out for the release reading today, June 19, at City Lit Books 2523 N. Kedzie at 6:30pm (so all you dads can get back home to tuck in their kids).

LostInSpace_cover.jpgLost in Space is a collection of creative nonfiction essays in which Tanzer chronicles his childhood via his own experience raising a family. The chapters are not arranged chronologically, but Tanzer interjects pop culture references that act as sign posts, marking days by the release of Star Wars or the Lion King. The opening lines of the first essay namedrop Patrick Ewing and Caddyshack.

Throughout the book we get a sense of Tanzer as a father who is writing while juggling parenthood, marriage, a job, and his social life. He directly speaks to the reader, sharing his most intimate feelings and letting us in on the minutiae of his day-to-day life. We know he is a runner, a worrier, a loving father, and a dedicated writer. He leaves nothing out, sharing even his personal fears and insecurities, about parenting and writing both. We see this done in the essay Anatomy of a Story, in which Tanzer wrestles with how to write about a surgical procedure undergone by his son. The original intent was to fictionalize the diagnosis into something more visceral for the reader. Yet, ultimately he tells it true to life, demonstrating his authority and authenticity as a writer and a parent.

Continue reading this entry »

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Reviews Wed Jun 17 2015

Father's Day Review: The Most Greatest Traveling Circus with Rad Dad Jonas

With father's day right around the corner, this is a two-part nod to all those writing dads out there. Friday we'll feature Ben Tanzer's book Lost In Space about fatherhood, but first up, today, is a Chicago self-publisher who goes by the one-word moniker Jonas. In the local self-publishing community he is as prolific as James Paterson with his zine Cheer the Eff Up! In the zine's fifth issue, Jonas features a non-fiction essay about fatherhood, reminiscing about his dad and how their relationship has helped shape him into the dad he has recently become himself. Jonas is also a contributor to California-based Rad Dad magazine's Father's Day Issue (2014).

The topic of fatherhood is also prevalent in Jonas's book
The Greatest Most Traveling Circus
, released last year on Sweet Candy Press. The book is a collection of short stories, thematically related to the book's title. He builds microcosms, calling them acts, which are as serious as they are hilarious. Each act carries a consistent voice and stories are easily read in short bursts, great for one's morning commute or morning constitution, or both.

Continue reading this entry »

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Jun 12 2015

Bookmarks!

Friday! Variety show Shame that Tune is at the Hideout Inn.

Saturday! The 54th Chicago Book & Paper Fair will be held at the Chicago Journeyman Plumbers Union Hall.

Saturday! Raw Fury issue #3 release at the Pilsen Outpost.

Saturday! Novelist Dolen Perkins-Valez discusses her work with WBEZ's Natalie Moore at 57th Street Books.

Sunday! Self Publishers of Chicago hosts their monthly reading series at Uncharted Books.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Book Club Fri Jun 05 2015

Plan Your Printers Row Lit Fest Weekend With A Little Help From Us

Printers Row Lit Fest.jpg

Get ready, Book Club, because it's almost time to descend upon Dearborn Street for the Midwest's largest outdoor literary festival. That's right, the Printers Row Lit Fest is merely hours away--and with a lineup featuring over 200 events, there will be something for every book lover.

Now in its 31st year, the Printers Row Lit Fest runs from June 6-7, celebrating all things literary with an unparalleled book fair and schedule of performances. Show up with a tote or two (or three) to stock up on summer reading material, or purchase tickets to panels on fiction writing, papal ponderings, or humorous fashion blogging.

If you want to be more hands-on, there will be workshops galore. Check out Jill Pollack's (director of StoryStudio Chicago) Prompt-A-Palooza, Wilda Morris' "On a Line by: Writing Poetry Inspired by Other Poems," or 826CHI's "Behind the Book: Around That Age, I Liked to Play with Fire."

If you're hungering for a more savory experience, there are several events that blend culinary and literary inspiration, including cooking demonstrations by Rick Bayless and Mexique's Carlos Gaytan, as well as wine pairing tips from journos.

For the more raucous among us, Lit After Dark will return on Saturday with Bob Saget discussing his memoir at Jones College Prep. There will also be a special Lit Fest installment of monthly storytelling series, This Much Is True, and a C2E2 Drink & Draw event where you can mingle with local comic book artists.

Here's just a taste of the panels and discussion that will take place this year. Please note that there are multiple venues and tents. But if you feel your FOMO coming on, relax--Printers Row Lit Fest and Tribbooks have ways to keep you organized, from sorting through events by stage and time online, to offering an app that will make sure you don't miss out on a single word. Well, you can try not to.

Printers Row Lit Fest kicks off at 10am on Saturday, June 6 and runs through 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 7. Festival passes (which include a digital membership to Printers Row Journal) have sold out, but you can still purchase individual tickets.

Saturday suggestions:

Curbside Splendor author Cyn Vargas is part of the First Fiction panel at 10 a.m. at Jones College Prep, Room 5006.

Levar Burton will be presented with the Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Award at 12 p.m. at Jones College Prep.

Have "lunch" with Tavis Smiley at the Harold Washington Library's Pritzker Auditorium at 12:30 p.m.

At 3 p.m., join WRITE CLUB Overlord Ian Belknap and co-producer Lindsay Muscato for some bare-knuckled lit.

The Hoy tent hosts their editors Beatriz Rivas and Gisela Orozco for a conversation on women in literature at 3:30 p.m.

Sunday suggestions:

Early birds: have coffee at 10 a.m. with John Kass, William Lee, and Trevor Jensen at the Good Eating Stage.

The RedEye tent will hold a Writers Challenge panel at 11 a.m. with host Mason Johnson; hilarity may or may not ensue.

At 12 p.m., check out Cassandra, a "comedy collective that seamlessly weaves outrageous characters, storytelling, live lit, and music into one hilarious live show," at the RedEye Tent as well.

Tribune Books Editor Jennifer Day chats with local authors Rebecca Makkai and Vendela Vida at the Harold Washington Library Center at 2 p.m.

At 2:15 p.m., Alison Cuddy talks with music journalist Jessica Hopper about her new book, "The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic."

Head to Jones College Prep at 4 p.m. to hear James McGrath Morris discuss his biography of Ethel Payne, "The First Lady of the Black Press."

Danette Chavez / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Jun 05 2015

Bookmarks!

All Weekend! Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) celebrates independent comics at their 4th annual fest with an exhibition, workshops, readings and book signings (various locations).

Friday! The Point magazine issue 10 release party at Experimental Station in Hyde Park.

Saturday and Sunday! Printers Row Lit Fest is back downtown in historic Printers Row with book vendors, signings, discussions, kids activities and more.

Saturday! A packed lineup, including comedian Nick Offerman, read at Paper Machete at the Green Mill.

Saturday! Author Jerry Sacher releases his newest book Fair In Love with a signing at Stella's Diner in Lakeview.

Saturday! Pleiades Magazine launch and readings at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square.

Sunday! Here, Chicago reading series is back at the Wit Theater.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Events Thu Jun 04 2015

Overindulge on CAKE all Weekend Long

CAKE.jpgThe fourth annual Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, affectionately known as CAKE, will take place this weekend Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7, at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N Halsted Ave. from 11am-6pm daily (free and open to the public). CAKE gives a forum for independent artists, cartoonists, comic book makers, zines writers and more. Throughout the weekend celebrate the graphic form with an overload of events, artists, programs, and parties. To get set, here are 8 things that make this festival one of the largest independent comics shows in the nation. Their organization is a testament to what hard work and the love of one's craft can do to support a community.

Exhibitors and Guests
Both Saturday and Sunday upwards of 100 tables will be full of comics artists, illustrators, and cartoonists coming from Chicago, across the country and internationally. There will be kid friendly comcis on tables marked by balloons. Comics that are goofy, humorous, twisted, eye catching, slick, realistic and weird will all be present in some form or another.

CAKE's 2015 Artwork
All the 2015 artwork has been designed by Chicago's own Ivan Burnetti. There's not a better way to have work from one of the most acclaimed cartoonists' while supporting an independent literary festival then to nab a CAKE silk screened poster or t-shirt.

Continue reading this entry »

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Events Wed Jun 03 2015

The Point Magazine Issue 10 Release Party

The Point Magazine releases their tenth issue this Friday, June 5th, 8:30pm at a launch party held in Hyde Park's Experimental Station, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave.

The Point is Chicago-based magazine with a biannual print edition and monthly supplementary online articles that feature philosophical essays on everyday life.

For the launch event, there will be a DJ, cocktails and beer as well as copies of lit mags The Point and n+1. Admission is $10 which gets you a copy of their new issue. RSVP is required.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Events Tue Jun 02 2015

What do The Blackhawks and RUI have to do with each other?

Local reading series Reading Under the Influence has been going strong for over a decade on the first Wednesday of the month at Sheffield's, 3258 N. Sheffield Ave. So what do they have to do with the Blackhawks?

Sheffield's is a neighborhood bar in Wrigleyville, the brings in a sports crowd. Their walls have numerous screens showing whatever sporting event might be on that night, from NCAA and professional sports as well as international sports. For anyone who's attended an RUI, you know that their is a mutual respect from the bar that allows sports and live lit to coexist. This is a hard balance to keep and one that most reading series don't have to juggle. Before each reading, one of the many hosts of RUI, be it past host Rob Duffer or current host Frankie Migacz, will reach up to turn off the screens the showed the Cubs or the Bulls, so the reading could commence (I would have mentioned host Behnam Riahi, but he simply can't reach that high).

Chicago's love of literature and sports can sometime get in the way of each other. Such is the case for this month at RUI as the Blackhawks begin their quest for their third Stanley Cup in a decade. Game one happens to be this Wednesday, the first one of the month. That's pushed the loyal series to alter its monthly slot to Thursday, June 4th. Lucky for them the Bulls didn't make the NBA finals which begin on that day. I doubt the bar will mind turning off the LeBron show for one night.

Join RUI this month as their theme is Tools. Their signature mix of great readers and literary trivia will not change. In fact, this month's reading lineup is one worth waiting for.

Featured readers include LA-based author Bronwyn Mauldin, Chicagoan Cyn Vargas (who's first novel On the Way was released on Curbside Splendor this spring), Carly Oishi co-host of reading series Miss Spoken, and local writer Laura Adamczyk.

The reading opens at 7pm with $2 domestic bottle specials and the readers begin at 7:30pm. There is a $3 cover. RUI will return to its regularly scheduled date the first Wednesday of the month, on July 1st. Go Hawks and RUI.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri May 29 2015

Bookmarks!

FRIDAY! Chicago music journalist Jessica Hopper reads from her new book The First Collection of Criticism By a Living Female Rock Critic (Featherproof books) at Quimby's bookstore.

FRIDAY! Book Launch for author Re'Lynn Hansen's memoir To Some Woman I have Known at Women and Children First.

FRIDAY! Author Nathan Poole, in conversation with author Patricia Grace King, will be reading from his debut story collection Father Brother Keeper at City Lit Books.

SATURDAY! Live lit series Story Sessions hosts a brunch reading at City Winery.

SATURDAY! Reading series the Paper Machete holds down its weekly slot at the Green Mill.

SUNDAY! 2nd Story presents the live showInto the Light: Stories of Secrets and Searching at The Promontory.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Education Wed May 27 2015

Chicago Schools Make Moves to Include Women, Minorities on Required Reading Lists

The MashBy Samantha English & Barbara Cruz

When you think of the books that are read and taught in high schools across the country, what are the first titles that come to mind? The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, The Catcher in the Rye and Of Mice and Men probably flood your memory. The authors of these books — F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Golding, J.D. Salinger and John Steinbeck, respectively — have something in common: They're all white men.

The truth is, many assigned reading lists are short on female and minority authors. But some schools are making strides to change that. Because the literary canon taught in today's schools is often the groundwork for post-secondary education, critics believe a predominately white male perspective could have negative effects on students.

Some argue that teaching the canon to students who no longer find relevance in the issues presented will fail to stimulate teens and ultimately turn them away from reading.

Continue reading this entry »

Book Club / Comments (0)

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

 

Events

Tue Jul 7 2015
Tuesday Funk @ Hopleaf

Thu Jul 9 2015
A Celebration of International Poetry @ Poetry Foundation

Sat Jul 11 2015
Mortified! @ Lincoln Hall

Sun Jul 12 2015
That's All She Wrote @ Great Lakes Tattoo

Mon Jul 13 2015
Is This a Thing? @ O'Shaughnessy's



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, miden@gapersblock.com
Book Club staff inbox: bookclub@gapersblock.com

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