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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Thursday, February 9

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Feature Wed Aug 04 2010

What We're Reading: The Clothes on Their Backs

What We're Reading is a new weekly column that asks Chicagoans about the books they're currently enjoying (or not).

Stephanie, 26, Affordable housing developer

Lives in Little Village

What are you reading?img_book_lindagran_1372785a.jpg

The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant

What's it about (in 20 words or less)?

In 1970s London, the only daughter of Hungarian war refugees seeks identity in her family's unknown past.

What drew you to this book?

I was stuck in a used bookstore on a rainy day in South Florida, and the cover said it was nominated for the 2008 Man Booker Prize. Plus, it was only a few dollars. :)

What kind of person would you recommend it to?

Younger women would probably be most interested in this book. People particularly interested in immigrant experiences would also enjoy the subject. She tells her life story through the clothes she wore at certain times and how they made her feel and how they related to social and political events at the time. It's deeper than it sounds, but probably not of interest to too many men.

Who's your favorite author right now?

I haven't been reading more than one book by a particular author, but I definitely jumped on the Kathryn Stockett/The Help bandwagon, and I hope she comes out with another novel soon.

What's your favorite place to read in Chicago or its environs?

My favorite place to read is in bed. I'm so easily distracted that I can't read anywhere interesting like a coffee shop or the beach.

And Stephanie wants to add...

I wrote specifically about the book I just finished, but other recent reads I recommend are The Secret Life of Henrietta Lacks, Strength in What Remains, and The House at Sugar Beach. And I DO NOT recommend Burmese Lessons. Waste of time.

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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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