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. 


Saturday, March 2

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Ruth / June 4, 2007 1:30 AM

Chicago: City on the Make, by Nelson Algren

mike / June 4, 2007 7:51 AM

"The Recognitions" by William Gaddis

It'll probably take me all summer.

Pete / June 4, 2007 8:07 AM

Cormac McCarthy - The Road
Joe Perniece - Meat Is Murder
Sherwood Anderson - Winesburg, Ohio
Sinclair Lewis - Babbitt
Edgar Lee Masters - Spoon River Anthology

(Ruth, you won't regret reading that Algren book. One of my very favorites.)

Jason. / June 4, 2007 8:13 AM

30 or 40 things for school, but the "beach reading" is more like

Against the Day - Thomas Pynchon
The Man Without Qualities - Robert Musil
Ulysses - James Joyce

(one a month. Go!)

Justin / June 4, 2007 9:02 AM

Keeping it light:

Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson
Fear and Trembling - Kierkegaard

Cormac McCarthy's a good idea.

spence / June 4, 2007 9:05 AM

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Michael Chabbon

How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization - Franklin Foer

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting - Milan Kundera

Gravity's Rainbow - Thomas Pynchon

moody / June 4, 2007 9:20 AM

jeeves and wooster short story collection - p.g. wodehouse

stumble on happines - daniel gilbert

the brothers karamazov - fyodor dostoevsky

the crowd - gustave le bon

n / June 4, 2007 9:25 AM

I can never choose, so thought I'd let last year's Booker Prize shortlist be the foundation. Right now: Mother's Milk - Edward St. Aubyn.

Hal / June 4, 2007 9:26 AM

1) The middle 1/3 of Bleak House (Dickens).
2) Gravity's Rainbow (Pynchon)
3) The first three books of Rememberence of Things Past (Proust).

My goal is to finish all of the books I was supposed to read for my undergrad (and grad, since I slipped on Bleak House) finished before I complete my graduate literature degree.

Then, I will be complete and whole.

wendi / June 4, 2007 9:35 AM

so far,

the wind-up bird chronicle by murakami


the god delusion by dawkins.

Chloe / June 4, 2007 9:51 AM

War and Peace (which I have 500 pages left of)
American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
A first year accounting textbook
the new Harry Potter

taJ / June 4, 2007 9:56 AM

so far:
witch of portobello- paolo cuelho
magister ludi - herman hesse
harry potter

taJ / June 4, 2007 9:57 AM

so far:
witch of portobello- paolo cuelho
magister ludi - herman hesse
harry potter

Spook / June 4, 2007 10:51 AM

Just finished... Fidel: A Critical Portrait.

Next on deck are
"nigger", The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word,

S.R.O. A novel,

All On Fire; a Biography of William Lloyd Garrison

Toussaint Louverture; a Biography,

For all you Cormac McCarthy fans (I’m one too)
I thought County of Old Men was better than Road, (which still was good)
Suttree is better both of the above, but Blood Meridian
is his best work, I think

Josh / June 4, 2007 10:54 AM

Hollywood Station - Joseph Wambaugh
Everybody Kills Somebody Sometime - Robert Randisi
Dean and Me - Jerry Lewis

editorkid / June 4, 2007 10:59 AM

I'm currently reading the fascinating "Only Yesterday," which a favorite person lent me; written in '31, it's a history of the 1920s, a decade that turns out to be eerily reminiscent of current times. I always reread one or two of Jean Shepherd's books over the summer. I hope to finish Dan Harrington's second and third books on Texas Hold 'Em, but my attempts to find a home game to join haven't been successful, so they're a lower priority. And I'm in the mood to read somethng about food, if anyone has any recommendations.

rebecca / June 4, 2007 11:27 AM

Coin Locker Babies - Ryu Murakami
After Dark - Haruki Murakami
Somersault - Kenzaburo Oe

ac / June 4, 2007 11:40 AM

I'm just finishing The Grapes of Wrath. I (sort of) read it in high school and thoroughly enjoyed it this time around. This is an interesting time to revisit the novel and the theme of man's effect on the land.

On deck:
52 Weeks; Interviews with Champions

The Omnivore's Dilemma; A Natural History of Four Meals

Bill V / June 4, 2007 11:46 AM

I'm a one book at a time guy, so I'm currently reading Punk Rock Dad by Jim Lindberg (singer of Pennywise). After that it just depends on what the library has in stock.

avant/Chicago / June 4, 2007 12:04 PM

This summer Brent Kado will be publishing "Blues and The Machine" in Blook form. The blook takes a look at the development of the Blues District on 47th St., local politics and the death of Post-Modernism. Publishing will begin July 2. Check Avant/Chicago for more info.

Mikey / June 4, 2007 12:04 PM

I was just on vacation this past week and finally read 1984--a much darker book than I had anticipated, and Heart-Shaped Box--the debut horror novel by Stephen King's son (good brain candy)...

I soon plan on reading The Omnivore's Dilemna and the new Harry Potter when it is released, but haven't otherwise given it much thought. Often, when I'm in the mood to read a new book, I'll just browse the shelves of a bookstore until a book "chooses" me (that was how I first discovered Dave Eggers). It never fails...

Annie / June 4, 2007 12:06 PM

That Nelson Algren is indeed something wonderful.
I'm finally getting around to reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel. Looking forward to the new Harry Potter.

k / June 4, 2007 12:39 PM

Good topic as I've been incredibly lax in my reading habits lately and it's making my brain mushy. Trying to turn things around for the summer...

I just picked up:
Cormak McCarthy - Blood Meridian
Jonathan Safran Foer - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Mikhail Bulgakov - The Master and Margarita

Almost picked up but 6 books at one time seemed excessive:
Chip Kidd - The Cheese Monkeys
Erik Larson - Isaak's Storm
Robert Graves - I Claudius

Eagerly anticipating:
Harry Potter

I also need to pick up some magazine subscriptions...I'm thinking Oxford American, The New Republic and The Atlantic Monthly. Anyone have any favorites?

Spook - how was the Fidel book?

annie / June 4, 2007 12:44 PM

I am finishing up Boomsday for my book club, very good read.
And I hope get to Chicago: City On the Make in between my book club reads this summer.

Appleby / June 4, 2007 12:49 PM

L'enfant noir by Camara Laye

Aké: the Years of Childhood by Wole Soyinka

Une vie de boy by Ferdinand Oyono

Allan / June 4, 2007 1:02 PM

I don't know how to say this but I never learned to read. So as a full functioning member of the illiterati my summer list is pretty slim. I can make my way through Go Dog Go, some of Hop On Pop, and of course the Redeye. If it wasn't for television I would be a moron.

Allan / June 4, 2007 1:06 PM

I don't know how to say this but I never learned to read. So as a full functioning member of the illiterati my summer list is pretty slim. I can make my way through Go Dog Go, some of Hop On Pop, and of course the Redeye. If it wasn't for television I would be a moron.

Paul Mccann / June 4, 2007 1:29 PM

Personally I had trouble with Fox in Sox.

My reading list consists of DOM Scripting and javascript books. I've got a few other books to dig into, including Uberto Eco's latest, but I won't get to until August.

Jill / June 4, 2007 1:41 PM

I'm still on Harry Potter #5, so I think those are priority for the summer. Maybe I'll get the series done by the time the last movie comes out.

Spook / June 4, 2007 1:44 PM


Oh My Gawd! Fidel: A Critical Portrait was excellent, very lively, insightful, and objective! And you will love Blood Meridian, wait to you "meet" “The Judge”!


did you know that Alexandre Dumas- père
also wrote cook books?

I’ve not come across any, but you might be interested in checking some of them out. I would also recommend a brilliant and hilarious biography on him called “King of Paris”, which also really gets into his cooking abilities and how it related to his work. It’s out of print but you can order copies via Amazon. I highly recommend it!

Allan, what about coloring books?

rebecca / June 4, 2007 2:30 PM

wendi - thanks for the rec - i just ordered The God Delusion.

fluffy / June 4, 2007 3:43 PM

science and law stuff mostly. maybe some biographies. whatever seems interesting at the time.
Personally, I'm not in reading mode- I'm in 'going out and doing stuff' mode. i go through phases. i read more during the winter months.

however, i will check out the printer's row book fair next weekend.

Jennifer 867 / June 4, 2007 4:31 PM

What the heck? No is reading any of Obama's books?

Or did we all read them already?

Judy / June 4, 2007 4:36 PM

Presently I am re-visiting
"The Catcher in the Rye."

I am also reading,
"Choke" by Chuck Palahniuk and
Plato's "The Republic"

I tend to read a few books at a time. At some point one of them will *grab* me and I'll inhale it 'til it's done, then go back to work on the others.

skafiend / June 4, 2007 4:52 PM

Actually, planning to put reading on hold and finish all my own damn writing projects I've started and shelved. When I'm sitting there reading someone else's stuff and thinking "man, I had this same idea", or "I could have written them as good if not better," I ask myself, well, asshole, why don't you? So I will. All my free time is for that. Well, except for the time I wasted to write this...

Actually, I will be re-reading some August Wilson plays. His work inspires me in so many way...

David / June 4, 2007 4:58 PM

After Dark - Haruki Murakami

Hudibras - Samuel Butler

Killer in the Rain - Raymond Chandler

Plus I just renewed my subscription to The New Yorker, so that sucks away at least half of my reading time every week.

My brain is sometimes too greedy.

editorkid / June 4, 2007 5:01 PM


Merci, mais ne parle pas français.

Le garçon de rédacteur

peanut / June 4, 2007 5:43 PM

Deep Economy by Bill McKibben, ...Bananafish for the umpteenth time, plus whatever looks good at both the Printers Row and Newberry sales.

Also Against the Day, we'll see if I can plow through it.

If you read (2) something(s) get a free travel mug!! Tell them at your nearest CPL branch that Peanut sent you.

Emerson Dameron / June 4, 2007 9:38 PM

I always have a huge stack of books lying around, all of which I've read parts of, few of which I've finished. I'll pick at anything. I never know what I'm going to sink into until it happens.

I find Dawkins shrill, alienating and logically inconsistent, and I'm no friend of organized religion. The Man Without Qualities holds up. If you like Algren, Jim Thompson's Bad Boy is another smart, fun book with a similar attitude.

Pman / June 4, 2007 10:36 PM

Anyone who's planning on reading Gravity's Rainbow can save themselves the trouble. Just slam your head in a car door for half an hour or so, and it'll feel just like the real thing. I've tried reading it twice. After 150 pages, I still didn't know what the fuck was going on. And this is from someone who loved Focault's Pendulum.

After I finish My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk (fantastic so far), I plan on returning to the Lone Wolf and Cub series. There's something very Blagg the Axman about it. Noble quest. Removing heads from shoulders for the sake of honor. Etc. They would be the same if Blagg was accompanied by his infant son who sometimes showed his wiener.

Also, I wish I hadn't read all of Murakami's books just so I could read them again for the first time.

Carlotta / June 5, 2007 12:34 AM

-- "Dating Is Murder," some kind of "humorous suspense" novel I picked up from the discard/freebie box in front of Powell's in Hyde Park a few weeks ago. Eh, the title appealed to me.

-- "The Average American Male," a novel by Chad Kultgen. (Got it at the Reader Book Swap last week, where I contributed 1 book and walked away with 9. GROAN) It looks sufficiently raunchy.

I figure I'll read one or both of the above when I escape from Boyztown on Pride Parade day.

-- Temple Grandin's "Animals In Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior," whenever I excavate it from whatever pile it's in.

Overall, my standards are pretty low this summer; too many other things going on to devote the energy to more worthwhile books.

Judy / June 5, 2007 9:06 AM

ooh, I really like Murakami.
I have one book at home that I haven't read. Can't remember the title right now tho. Need more coffee first.

Nuxrs / June 5, 2007 10:21 AM

After Dark was good, but short. If you like Murakami, you'll probably like it....but if you're looking for a coherent plot, you should avoid it.

Anyone gearing up for the new McEwan is in for a disappointment! Boy, did it suck.

Leelah / June 5, 2007 11:15 AM

McEwan sucks. Atonement may have been the worst book I ever finished... and I have finished "Moby Dick", "Wuthering Heights" and "The Scarlet Letter".

I'm still in school, so I am not sure what I'm reading this summer, though Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" will probably be the first. That guy can write.

Sarah / June 5, 2007 11:18 AM

TaJ: Magister Ludi is one of my favorite books.

I am reading American Gods right now, then will be re-reading all of the Harry Potter books in advance of the new HP book and movie coming out.

Mac / June 5, 2007 12:13 PM

Old issues of The New Yorker.

And porn.

miss casual / June 5, 2007 12:41 PM

ugh... murakami. yuck.

im reading a tom robbins book. another roadside attraction. after this one i think therell only be like two of his left that i havent read.

after that i need to read some charles bukowski. ive never read any of his novels and constantly get told i will love them. but actually i dont know which one to start with... suggestions anyone?

mike / June 5, 2007 1:22 PM

Magister Ludi should be renamed "The Glass Bead Zzzzzzzzzz."

Nuxrs / June 5, 2007 2:34 PM

ugh...robbins. yuck. so there!

Bukowski? Start with Ham on Rye.

Emerson Dameron / June 5, 2007 3:30 PM

Miss C,
As many smart-dumb quotations as I owe to Buk, if you've passed your 20th birthday, you might've missed out. It's sort of like being into serial killers or the Doors.

TaJ / June 5, 2007 5:15 PM

i would love to recommend something else i just re-read as part of the summer list:

Narcisuss and Goldmund- also by H Hesse

pat / June 6, 2007 8:32 AM

Currently working on "The Boy Detective Fails" by Chicago's Joe Meno... And it's totally one of those books that I read slowly, because I don't want it to end; but I'm dying to know how it ends.

Next up is the "Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay."

Oddly for a bit of contrast, I also really want to read Madeline Albright's latest book: "The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World Affairs."

Unfortunately I'm not commuting by train anymore, so my reading time is a but more scarce; so unfortunately that really could be all my summer reading.

chuck / June 26, 2007 8:49 AM

last summer
this summer
next summer

GB store

Recently on Fuel

Urban Ethos [26]
What is Chicago's "urban ethos"?

Cool Glass of... [16]
What're you drinking?

Supreme Decision [22]
What's your reaction to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act?

Taking it to the Streets [20]
Chicago Street Fairs: Revolting or Awesome?

I Can Be Cruel [9]
Be real: what is the meanest thing you've ever done?

View the complete archive

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15