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Book Club Wed Aug 22 2007

Our 2005 Book List

As the book club continues to move forward, it is helpful to look back and remember what we have already read. Whether you just joined the book club, missed these books the first time around, or are just curious about what we've read, here is the complete book list from 2005, the first year of the GB Book Club.

Joe Meno. Hairstyles of the Damned. (Akashic Books, 2004; 290 p.)
Joe Meno's third novel was our first book club selection. Hairstyles of the Damned is a coming-of-age story filled with punk music and mix tapes, about Brian Oswald and his friend Gretchen, two teenagers growing up on Chicago's South Side in the early 1990s.

Upton Sinclair. The Jungle. (Penguin Books, 2006; 388 p.)
We dove right into the classics with our second book. The Jungle, first published in 1906, is a novel about social injustice and the plight of the working poor at the turn of the twentieth century, told through the story of Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant who comes to Chicago and finds work in the city's infamous stockyards.

Audrey Niffenegger. The Time Traveler’s Wife. (Harcourt, 2004; 546 p.)
An unusual love story about Henry, a Chicago librarian who travels through time as a result of a genetic abnormality, and Clare, the woman he is destined to love.

Adam Langer. Crossing California. (Riverhead Books, 2005; 512 p.)
The story of the intersecting lives of three families living in West Roger's Park in the late 1970s. Although the novel is filled with memorable characters, it is the touching, heartbreaking friendship between the young Jill Wasserstrom and Muley Wills that lingers long after the book is finished.

Eric Klinenberg. Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago. (University of Chicago Press, 2003; 320 p.)
On the 10th anniversary of the deadly 1995 heat wave that swept Chicago, we read sociologist Klinenberg's devastating account of the social and political conditions that contributed to the deaths of 700 people during that fatal week in July.

Ray Bradbury. Dandelion Wine. (Bantam, 1985; 256 p.)
This semi-autobiographical work tells the story of 12-year-old Douglas Spaulding and a magical summer in 1928 in fictional Green Town, Illinois. Dandelion Wine is the perfect end-of-summer book.

Aleksander Hemon. Nowhere Man. (Vintage Books, 2004; 256 p.)
An extraordinary novel about Jozef Pronek, a young Bosnian who visits the United States and becomes stranded here as war breaks out in his own country.

Wendy McClure. I’m Not the New Me. (Riverhead Books, 2005; 308 p.)
Our last book for 2005 also marked our first author event. Wendy McClure joined us to talk about her memoir about losing weight and finding oneself.

Next week I will post the complete 2006 book list.

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

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