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.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Tuesday, March 5

Gapers Block

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Naz / July 15, 2003 2:37 PM

We Ain't Got No Car #7

by Jack Saturn, you know ye olde Blogger crew and infamous now (ex-blogger), great stuff.

A lex, x, x / July 15, 2003 2:47 PM

Right now I am reading two things: "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by Milan Kundera and "Nausea" by Jean-Paul Sartre. Both quite different books, yet they still examine relationships and how we view other people.

"The Unbearable Lightness of Being" is just so exquisitely written, I don't think I'll ever get over how beautiful the book is.

And Sartre...ah well, Sartre is just Sartre. "Nausea" should not to be read by someone who wants a happy, sunny read.

Andrew / July 15, 2003 3:11 PM

I'm reading "The Salmon of a Doubt," a collection of published and unpublished writing by Douglas Adams, of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame. Good stuff, if a little disjointed (as you'd expect from a jumble of stuff).

Mark / July 15, 2003 3:29 PM

Gapers Block....natch.

(and Fall River Dreams -- book about early 1990s high school basketball in southeastern Massachussetts and the added importance it takes on after all the mills closed down.)

Kevin / July 15, 2003 4:14 PM

"If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him" by Sheldon Kopp and "Ethics Without God" by Kai Neilsen.

Lisa / July 15, 2003 4:22 PM

Harry Potter!!!

amyc / July 15, 2003 4:44 PM

Nobody's Fool (I've been on a Richard Russo jag all year) and the latest issue of Bitch, which came in the mail yesterday.

j3s / July 15, 2003 4:54 PM

Since I read according to mood, I'm usually in the middle of 5 or 6 books. So, at the moment:

- Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996 - Seamus Heaney
- Art Objects - Jeanette Winterson
- Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - BKS Iyengar
- The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Paris - Gertrude Stein
- Poetic Meter and Poetic Form - Paul Fussel
- Post Road #6

Ian / July 15, 2003 5:44 PM

In this age of compulsory multi-tasking, I think it’s better to do several things badly, rather than one thing well. Thus, on random occasions, I read the following:

253 by Geoff Ryman – The original hypertext novel, in ‘remixed’ print form.

A New Kind Science by Stephen Wolfram – Completely baffling and way over my head, but still very interesting.

A Cooks Tour by Anthony Bourdain –An amusing and highly readable look at the global cuisine.

With my astonishing lack of focus and commitment regarding literary matters, I suspect that 60% or more these will never be completed. But as somebody once said ‘The journey is the reward’

ryan p / July 15, 2003 6:49 PM

Craigslist chicago and every single classified that I can reach in my everlasting search for a drummer.

+mojan. / July 15, 2003 7:07 PM

"Love Invents Us" by Amy Bloom. Much racier than I expected it to be, but *very* well-written. Kudos to the Husband, who checked it out from the library for me.

A lex, x, x / July 15, 2003 7:14 PM

Wow! Me grammar be good very in last post.

Heather / July 15, 2003 8:01 PM

as i am unemployed and trapped in the suburbs, I'm reading an INSANE number of books per day....

this week's pile o pleasure:

Why Girls are Weird by Pamela Ribon (any weblogger who wants to be an author should read this book, just so they know that their idea has already been taken, processed, and published - Pamela is a better writer than you are. trust me. she is.)

the Big Bad Wolf tells all --D. Kauffman - I liked her name. I borrowed the book. I was surprised by how sexy the most unsexy description can be if you're reading your first romance novel in over three years....why didn't anyone tell me romance novels are better, now? I'd have been reading them all along!

A Walk Through Graceland Cemetery - B. Lanctot, from the Chicago Architecture Foundation - a walking tour of Graceland. yes, I'll go and quietly listen to my morrisey albums in the other room, now.

a box of matches - N. Baker. thanks, N. for boring me to sleep, just when I thought I'd never sleep again. ah, well, not everything can be the everlasting story of nory.

Property - V. Martin - slavery. equal rights. women as second-class citizens. wondering how this got in my book stash, but happy it did.

Christopher - A. Burnett - like Lolita, except with an old gay guy, a young straight guy, and no road trip. or success in the bedroom. or anything else. okay, it's nothing like lolita, except for the lusting after what you haven't got...

Set This House In Order - M. Ruff - multiple personalities are everywhere. and you can live with it, if you want. and you can be any gender, any age, and any strength your psyche dictates, at any moment of the day. god, this is a good book, but I don't know how I feel about saying "hooray for abusive parenting! Hooray for creating multiple personalities out of extreme childhood trauma!"

now, I'm off to read the new Rowling. and the new Coupland. and the unauthorized autobiography of lemony snickett. and the newest issue of EW, in which angelina jolie says something amazingly sexy and eats an apple. whoo!

Wendy / July 15, 2003 8:09 PM

Mostly skimming a preview copy of Please Don't Kill the Freshman, which is, well, about as good as a stream-of-consciousness diary about high school by a sixteen-year-old kid with a LiveJournal can be--which is, heh-heh, up for discussion.

It's not that bad, but HarperCollins has no business giving six-figure advances to children. Or Jewel.

Young Luke / July 15, 2003 8:28 PM

"The Jungle." I'll never complain about my job -- or my lot in life in general -- again.

And it may be awhile before I eat a hot dog, too.

Rikoshay / July 15, 2003 11:29 PM

When did the new Rowling come out?

A lex, x, x / July 16, 2003 6:18 AM

Noah? Is that you?

Kegz / July 16, 2003 6:37 AM

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon

The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis

Various Scotland travel guides - upcoming trip

Ian Vegan / July 16, 2003 8:40 AM

The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac.

Modern Japanese Stories: An Anthology by Various Folks.

Dungeons & Dragons: 3.5 Edition Teasers by Wizards of the Coast.

sr / July 16, 2003 9:16 AM

Nabokov's Blues: The Scientific Odyssey of a Literary Genius (Johnson, Coates) - this book was a gift. I share two things with Nabokov: synesthesia, and a strange, gripping love of butterflies. It's a very dense read, and sometimes I feel like I'm retaining nothing at all. I'm not giving up yet, though.

Journey to the End of the Night (Celine) - I've been meaning to read this for a while. Somebody lent it to me for a recent train trip but I barely got to the tenth page. I like it so far.

Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?: The Carter Family and Their Legacy in American Music (Hirshberg, Zwonitzer) - This one I got from my pop in a trade for In the Country of Country: People and Places in American Music (Dawidoff). I like it a lot so far. Country was decent, but I resented the uneven judgments of Johnny Cash and George Jones. Dawidoff seemed to be able to forgive Jones for his transgressions more readily than Cash which is astounding to me.

I just finished Gut Symmetries (Winterson) which was phenomenal. But that was no surprise.

Aaron / July 16, 2003 9:36 AM

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

sandor / July 16, 2003 9:47 AM


j3s / July 16, 2003 10:19 AM

Yay to SR for the Winterson comment! I love everything Jeanette Winterson has written, especially her essays and criticism. When I first finished Gut Symmertries, I felt it was one of her weaker novels. Then I went back and re-read parts, reflected on it, and decided it was definitely up to par.

To anyone who has never read any Winterson: go check out The Passion, it's an amazing book.

Greg / July 16, 2003 10:30 AM

Da Vinci Code, Designing with Web Standards, and Lobo Unbound.

Stephen / July 16, 2003 12:23 PM

Lets see here..

The City Below, James Carroll..a bristling little portrait of Boston in the JFK era..Portrait of the Artist.. by Joyce, something I keep rereading for no good reason..The Tibetan Book of the Dead, for proper perspective, and Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee, to make sense of the martial arts program I'm in. And tons of mags, like New Yorker, URB, ID, Harpers, etc..

shechemist / July 16, 2003 12:45 PM

Swordspoint by ellen kushner. fantasy manner porn with lots of man sex. uuummm mannerly man sex.

Finnish Folklore by Leea Virtanen, Thomas Dubois. one of my goals for the summer was a write a horror short story that takes place in the UP and riffs on finnish-american folklore. this is for research.

The Kalevala see above.

78 degress of wisdom by Rachel Pollack. it is about tarot reading. another goal for the summer was to pick up a "20 bucks in 20 mins" (legal) skill. I settled on tarot cards seeing how I have had a deck for years. 78 degress is far more serious that what I wanted, but hey.

joshua / July 16, 2003 1:35 PM

House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, which is stunning thus far....
Being Dead by Jim Crace, which is kind of odd but is unfolding unexpectedly and with a kind of violent grace....
Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney, which not only is crazy lovely, but so remarkable for a first collection....
just finished Field Guide by Robert Hass, which is so casually smart and charming...

Jack Vinson / July 16, 2003 1:53 PM

Job postings. Need to find one.

I've just started Life of Pi by Yann Martel for my book club. It's been recommended by a number of people, and the Evanston Barnes & Noble fiction book club read it in June.

Just finished Demystifying Six Sigma to get a better feel of the language of Six Sigma. Any recommendations for reading on the technical end of Six Sigma?

I also just finished Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours for our last discussion, which was lots of fun. We had been meeting at work, and with the shutdown have moved to members' homes.

Wendy / July 16, 2003 1:54 PM

Too bad we can't go back and edit our comments. The book I mentioned? Jesus fuck, it really is that bad.

Some nice lines, but otherwise unreadable.

Shylo / July 16, 2003 2:07 PM

But is it Jewel-quality bad, Wendy? Hrm?

I'm reading Winterson's Written on the Body, but I just finished a really interesting book called The Lusty Lady. It features diary entries and photos by a dancer at Seattle's Lusty Lady peep show. Very compelling.

lacey / July 16, 2003 2:48 PM

I just finished "Anne of Avonlea" and next I'm on to "Anne of the Island." I should have read these when I was 13, but they are making for great entertainment now.

Ray / July 16, 2003 3:15 PM

I am about 2/3 through Hillary Rodham "Clinton's Living History," enjoying it immensely. My respect and admiration for her intellect and convictions and what she endured have grown immensely. I haven't gotten up to Monica yet.

josh / July 16, 2003 4:36 PM

Lies, Lies, Lies!

Soon to come. :)

paul / July 16, 2003 4:44 PM

I started reading Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by Edward O. Wilson but have moved on to a much easier read of basically the same subject - Short History Of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

But in actuality, I only have time to read my emails.

miss ellen / July 16, 2003 5:06 PM

some light summer reading that a friend brought over called rachel's holiday. i've never read marian keyes, but she's a good irish lass.

and, to 2nd joshua, house of the spirits is incredible. i loaned it out to a friend, and now i'm feeling the need to track that down. i recently came across the movie on cable, very strange to see winona play the part of blanca....

Cinnamon / July 16, 2003 5:21 PM

I just finished reading Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson and will soon be reading This Bridge Called My Back for the feminist book club at Women and Children First. And, I'm also reading Lies My Teacher Told Me. And, I'm trying to get up the courage to read another book by Margaret Atwood. I love her, but she really turns me for an emotional loop.

Leigh Hanlon / July 16, 2003 9:28 PM

I'm rereading the early John D. MacDonald Travis McGee novels and am halfway through "A Tan and Sandy Silence."

Wiz of odds / July 16, 2003 10:26 PM

I just finished Partly Cloudy Patriot and Take The Cannoli by Sarah Vowell--and realized I'm in love. We're the same person. Love of the Godfather, disdain for John F. Kennedy. Talented hilarious woman, and she has that cute nose.

Still slogging through Fred Dretske's Knowledge and the Flow of Information, Nozick's Socratic Puzzles, Klinenberg's Heatwave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago, and David Lewis' New Work For a Theory of Universals, all technical scholarly works--great beach reading if you have lush olive skin and can't get burned.

All very relevant, since I'm working on an article about the Chicago Literary Canon.

Jeffrey Utech / July 17, 2003 8:37 AM

Josh, Ellen, I agree. The House of the Spirits is one of the best books I've ever read. Portrait in Sepia has been sitting on the top of my reading list for about six months now, but other stuff just keeps coming up that I read first. I think Allende is a remarkably talented writer, and I'm excited about diving into that book, maybe once I'm done with my current load...

Right now I'm reading what, for me, are truly summer books. One is First Off the Tee by De Natta. It's about presidential golfers and their administrations were conducted in a way that was fairly similar to the way they conducted themselves on the golf course. Interesting stuff. The other is Open by Feinstein. It discusses how the US Open ended up being played at Bethpage in 2002, the first time it has ever been played at a public course.

stephen / July 17, 2003 9:55 AM

What a well-read group of folks you all are. Cheers! Glad to see so much Winterson going around, she is indeed amazing. This was an excellent idea for a topic, I suggest we move to music next!

Alex Golub / July 17, 2003 10:27 AM

The Plantation Dream: Developing British New Guinea and Papua 1884-1942.

Fighting for the Rain Forest: War, Youth, and Resources in Sierra Leone.

Lost in a Good Book.

Clueless in Academe.

The Propensity of Things: Towards a History of Efficacy in China

lacey / July 17, 2003 11:26 AM

Wiz: I am glad you liked Partly Cloudy Patriot, I thought it was good too. It's also encouraging that you enjoyed Take the Cannoli because I wasn't sure if I would like it...if you like those you should read David Sedaris' "Me Talk Pretty One Day." Not as political (well..maybe?), but definitely smart and pretty sharp.

Jon / July 17, 2003 12:11 PM

Pride and Prejudice

Never read any Austen, and must find a husband somehow.

tasha. / July 17, 2003 2:13 PM

I just finished up Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About, based on the author Mil Millington's popular site. A few parts were so funny they nearly had me in tears!

Shylo / July 17, 2003 2:13 PM

Jon, resist the vicar.

Mark W. Anderson / July 17, 2003 4:23 PM

I'm about halfway through a six-hundred page tome called "The History of Europe" by J.M. Roberts. Why? I don't know - maybe I thought I needed to learn more about the Ottoman Empire.

Doesn't everybody?

Jon / July 17, 2003 4:53 PM

Shylo, I'm holding out for a Darcy of my own, but there is something attractive about settling in a nice, quiet parsonage with someone devoted both to me and God.

Audrey / July 17, 2003 6:43 PM

Prague by Arthur Phillips, the new issue of Bitch magazine, which happens to have an interview with "Zoe Trope," the teenage memoirist Wendy mentioned, and the Writer's Market...

sabine / July 17, 2003 9:11 PM

out of place by edward said :)

nants / July 18, 2003 1:36 AM

The Evolving Self by Robert Kegan
The Amazing Interlude by Mary Roberts Rinehart
Men and the Water of Life by Michael Meade
What is Literature by Sartre
and for the last 2 years
Swann's Way. Like them all.

dave / July 18, 2003 5:59 AM

Getting into Gapers Block and reminiscing about my past life in Chicago and currently reading Poetry of Shel Silverstein to my 16 week old daughter. She likes it and so do I.

hollie / July 18, 2003 2:44 PM

What's the deal with the Ottoman Empire?...a whole empire based on the notion of puttin' your feet up? What's the deal?

Currently reading "Calender-Humanity's Struggle to Determine a True and Accurate Year" by David Ewing Duncan and "Illusions" by Richard Bach. "Calender" is a great book if you are a history buff.

Joe / July 18, 2003 3:21 PM

Just finished Potter V. If you aren't reading these books, you're missing out on a light, enjoyable, but important pop-cultural phenomenon.

Slogging through A Bright And Shining Lie, which I will find in a box sometime soon, and which I hope to finish in less than 100 times how long it took to read Potter (3 days).

I'm glad to see Screwtape mentioned here. That's a fantastic book, and the audiobook (read by John Cleese) is even better.

And now it's time for me to open a big can of worms: what makes everyone love Written On The Body so much? I've read it, I thought it was fine, but certainly not one of the greatest books I'd ever read. It seems like most of the people who talk about Winterson absolutely adore her. I feel like maybe I'm missing something here, or maybe her style just doesn't speak to me like it does to others.

Kegz / July 18, 2003 5:33 PM

Joe, I feel damned reading The Screwtape Letters. Is that normal? I guess we're all pretty close in some way to the type of person Screwtape wants Wormwood's patient to become. Or some of us more than others.

susan / July 19, 2003 2:06 PM

Currently reading Ficciones and Le ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Beauty of Language.

Just finished The Sisters, about the Mitford sisters, and The Viceroy's Daughters, about the Curzon sisters, as part of a weird upper-class-British-ladies-who-slept-with-Oswald-Mosley kick.

Kris / July 19, 2003 5:21 PM

Coming to the game late... just finished re-reading About a Boy. Can't decide what's next...

Matt / July 19, 2003 8:27 PM

A Confederacy of Dunces. Incredibly funny posthumous publication by John Kennedy Toole. I've never met anyone quite like the enormously obese and militantly cynical protagonist Ignatious J. Reilly (ok, maybe I have) but the extroadinary cast of characters in this book takes some hilarious jabs at the very people we meet everyday. Good, quick read. A+

Jim / July 20, 2003 5:41 PM

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, which I've spotted far too many times to count on the El.

leo / July 20, 2003 9:12 PM

In response to Jim's comment, if you've never read Murakami try out this short story: On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl.

Although I've never read the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I have read A Wild Sheep Chase which I utterly loved.

As for now? Now I'm reading selected poetry by Charles Bukowski and will probably pick up Ten Poems To Change Your Life. For some reason I'm on some poetry tip right now...

leo / July 20, 2003 9:14 PM

argh. I messed up the Murakami link:

My apologies.

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