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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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Sunday, June 16

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Book Club Thu Jun 26 2014

Get Ready for Summer Book Lovin'

The arrival of summer generates a lot more than heat: it's also the time to churn out oh so many lists. You need to know where the best sidewalk cafés, the best margarita bars, or best urban hideaways are. In short, you need advice on the best way to spend your time outdoors. And at first glance, a rundown of the best books to pick up seems counterintuitive, but the people have spoken: summer reading lists are no longer just for bridging the gap between school years.

The summer must-read list has gained the kind of attention we used to only see directed at "best of" or "year-end" lists. Of course, Oprah Winfrey has her say; the Huffington Post's Books editors have weighed in on the matter; and the online bookworms at Goodreads have also compiled a list. And now, discerning book lovers can also rely on The Chicago Public Library for recommendations.

On June 25, CPL announced its list of the Best Books of 2014 So Far. Check out the list and then (try to) check out the books (which CPL now allows you to do online). You can also head to one of Chicago's independent bookstores (the Bookstores of Chicago Tumblr has a great database), or load your e-reader or iPad up and then hit the road or the beach with works like Leslie Jamison's award-winning essay collection, The Empathy Exams; Thomas Piketty's unflinching look at our economic history, Capital in the Twenty-First Century; or Elizabeth Kolbert's look at our future, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.

The Chicago Public Library's list also includes a fair amount of local flavor: An Untamed State, the searing debut novel by Roxane Gay is recommended, as well as Cristina Henriquez's The Book of Unknown Americans, which tells the gut-wrenching and heartwarming tales of Central and Latin American immigrants. From the looks of it, we're going to get some weird tan lines on our faces from having our noses in books all summer.

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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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