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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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Wednesday, June 12

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« Avondale and Chicago's Polish Village Celebrated in Book Release this Weekend August is Nigh; Time to Funk Up Your Tuesday »

Events Thu Jul 24 2014

Near Ye, Near Ye! Your Weekend in Words

Did you enjoy Chicago's first Independent Bookstore Day, or take in a reading at the Book Fort at Pitchfork? Well, the literary love fest continues in Chicago this weekend, thanks to the efforts of The Newberry Library. You'll have a chance to shop--and shout--till you drop. Never has "you can't have too much of a good thing" seemed like a real possibility.

The Newberry Library kicks things off with its 30th Annual Book Fair, which runs from July 24 through July 27. Thursday is the Preview Night for members only, but don't worry, there will be plenty of books left for Friday through Sunday. Most books are $2 each, and psst, become half off on Sunday. It's the perfect time to build your personal library with fiction, cookbooks, or art books, as well as to track down rare collectibles: you could snag a first edition of The Lord of the Rings, or get an autographed copy of one of President Obama's works.

The savvier Book Clubbers are probably aware that libraries are a great resource for mixed media. For them, the Newberry will also have tons of CDs, DVDs, 8-track tapes, and vinyl available for purchase; the record collection is especially impressive, covering many genres and eras. All items for sale have been donated, and all proceeds benefit the Newberry. Admission is free, but don't forget your wallet!

Once you've filled your bag with books and head with ideas, head across the street on Saturday at noon to Washington Square Park for the 2014 Bughouse Square Debates. Bughouse Square, a colloquialism for Washington Square Park, was once a place for boisterous debate, and one of the "most celebrated outdoor free-speech centers" in the country. In the early 20th century, the Square hosted many poets, activists, and even religionists, though the majority of "soapboxers" were from the revolutionary left.

The Bughouse Square Debates pick up the mantle with a day devoted to the celebration of First Amendment rights, via speeches, debates (of course), and other airings of grievances. Be prepared to get in a lather or shout "Horsefeathers!" because heckling is encouraged. Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Kogan hosts, and the lineup, which is available here, includes Scott K. Summers of the Illinois Green Party, Jorge M├║jica of Arise Chicago, and 2014 John Peter Altgeld Award for Freedom of Speech winners, Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke.

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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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