Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Book Club Thu Nov 01 2007

2008 Book List

We received many excellent suggestions for our 2008 book list (thank you!), but from the dozens and dozens of titles on our list of potential selections, we had to whittle it down to just 11 books. This task gets harder every year as more great new books get published, and we keep discovering classic titles that shouldn't be overlooked. But, decisions had to be made, and without further ado, here is the complete reading list for the 2008 Gapers Block Book Club.

Never a City so Real by Alex Kotlowitz (Crown, 2004)
Explore Chicago in this collection of essays in which Kotlowitz profiles of some of the city's uncelebrated citizens.

The Enchanters vs. Sprawlburg Springs by Brian Costello (Featherproof, 2006)
Costello's debut novel is a comic story about a garage band called The Enchanters and their fictional suburb of Sprawlburg Springs.

Fire Sale by Sara Paretsky (Signet, 2006)
In the 13th book of Paretsky's celebrated V.I. Warshawski mystery series, the detective finds herself coaching basketball at her former South Chicago high school and investigating sabotage at a local factory.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2002)
This coming-of-age story about a hermaphrodite growing up in Michigan in the mid-20th century won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The Grass Dancer by Susan Power (Berkley, 1997)
Power weaves a unforgettable portrait of the Dakota Sioux Indians in this collection of inter-related stories that draw from contemporary life on the reservation and Dakota Sioux legends. This book won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award in 1995 and was named an ALA Notable Book.

Naked by David Sedaris
A collection of autobiographical essays from one of this country's most well-known humorists.

Free Burning by Bayo Ojikutu (Three Rivers, 2006)
This powerful second novel from Ojikutu continues the story of Tommie Simms. When Simms loses his job at an insurance firm, he begins selling pot to make ends meet and quickly spirals downward into Chicago's dark underbelly.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Scholastic, 2001)
Harmless children's fantasy or dark political allegory? Let's discuss.

Native Son by Richard Wright (Harper Perennial, 2005)
First published in 1940, Native Son tells the story of Bigger Thomas, a young African-American man living on Chicago's South Side in the 1930s who becomes swept up by forces of fear, violence, racism and hopelessness after he accidentally kills a white woman.

Dirty Sugar Cookies by Ayun Halliday (Seal, 2006)
A light-hearted culinary memoir from a self-described "anti-foodie."

Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott (Random House, 2007)
The true story of Ada and Minna Everleigh, the two sisters who ran the infamous Everleigh Club brothel on Chicago's Near South Side at the beginning of the 20th century.

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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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