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. 


Monday, February 26

Gapers Block

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


Leroy / July 22, 2005 12:40 PM

"Chicago Cellphone, Smoking, and Bicycle Usage Laws, 2005 Edition, Volumes 1 - 63"

carl / July 22, 2005 12:44 PM

Waiting for the movie

scott / July 22, 2005 12:47 PM

Angela's Ashes - honest and depressing
Flags of our Fathers - enlightening and historical

robin.. / July 22, 2005 12:58 PM



a bunch of us were planning on doing an "infinite june" and bookclubbing it. i guess it almost goes without saying (clearly not!) that we did not suceed in reading the whole bloody thing in june. but, the slower pace is agreeing with all of us. i'm liking it even more this time around.

lms / July 22, 2005 12:58 PM

Just finished (erm) Harry Potter #6. (Had to!) Now back to my traditional summer mixture of classics no one made me read when I was in school and mystery novels. I re-read Wuthering Heights earlier this summer and was surprised a)how much I'd forgotten about it and b) that my 6th grade teacher recommended I read it for a book report. I really want to ask her now what about me as a 12 year old suggested that would be a good book for me...

pat / July 22, 2005 12:59 PM

Currently nursing Noel Coward: a biography by Philip Hoare printed by the U of C Press. I'm amazed at how nearly pornographic life in the early part of the 20th century could be, and how many vacations one person could take. Compelling stuff though.

On deck is Misfortune by Wesley Stace/John Wesley Harding.

robin.. / July 22, 2005 1:01 PM

erg, i mean, "INFINITE." how mortifying...

Roxana / July 22, 2005 1:16 PM

"Heat Wave" by Eric Klinenberg (Go GB Bookclub!) and Timbuktu by Paul Auster. I hope to get around to reading Jon Lee Anderson's biography of Che Guevara.

Roxana / July 22, 2005 1:16 PM

"Heat Wave" by Eric Klinenberg (Go GB Bookclub!) and Timbuktu by Paul Auster. I hope to get around to reading Jon Lee Anderson's biography of Che Guevara.

julie / July 22, 2005 1:41 PM

just finished "Survivor" by Palaniuk because i hadn't read it before. it was great!

now i'm double fisting it..trying to finish harry potter 5 so i can start 6 and also plowing through Hornby's "A Long Way Down"

after harry potter 6 it's on to "Haunted" by Palaniuk...

John S. / July 22, 2005 1:42 PM

"The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories" by Steve Almond and "Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s" by James Lileks.

Alex / July 22, 2005 1:42 PM

I just finished reading "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" which was O.K. A bit dated (no pun intended) but it was an interesting, quick read -- much better than the movie with Richard Gere and Diane Keaton.

Next I'll be taking all 800+ pages of "The Stand" on vacation with me. Haven't read any Stephen King since I was in the 7th grade, but I thought I'd revisit that genre. My choices for beach reading were either "The Stand" of "Foucault's Pendulum" but decided I would stick to a "less-heady" summer. NO THINKING AT THE BEACH! ONLY DRINKS AT THE POOL BAR!

waleeta / July 22, 2005 1:46 PM

Amy Chua - "World on Fire" (about globalization and nationalism)
Robert Payne - "The History of Islam"
Jeffrey Sachs - "The End of Poverty"

Good stuff.

Leah / July 22, 2005 2:02 PM

I am reading (for the first time) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Then Harry Potter Six is in line. I read a lot of books about Judasim--so also have The Sabbath by Heschel coming up.

Maybe I'll try some Umberto Eco after that. A friend and I are starting to share libraries and have wildly different tastes.

Sue / July 22, 2005 2:11 PM

East of Eden, Gone with the Wind and now Potter #6...not sure what's next.

HuckleCat / July 22, 2005 2:13 PM

Some David Sedaris and The Kite Runner.

jen / July 22, 2005 2:13 PM

completing my Murakami fascination, I just started reading Dance, Dance, Dance.
although I'm also halfway through The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin, if I can just manage to find where I put that book in the move....

Steve / July 22, 2005 2:20 PM

I've finally gotten around to The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami -- rather appropriately, I suppose, since I, like the narrator, am out of work and filling my days with bemusing adventures and cooking for my gal. (And eating lots of cherries, of course.)

Before that, it was a so-so effort by Ed McBain called Alice in Jeopardy -- weirdly enough, I checked it out from the Sulzer on the very day the author died, even though I didn't find out about his death 'til almost a week later.

And my copy of Book of Shadows has yet to be cracked open, which will limit my ability to heckle the author this Monday night.

Ben / July 22, 2005 2:20 PM

Just finished 'Life of Pi' by Yann Martel. Now working on 'Postoffice' by Bukowski and 'Cash' by Johnny Cash. and a little Sedaris when I need a good laugh!

Steve / July 22, 2005 2:29 PM

Um, that's Cast of Shadows, not Book of Shadows....

Alice / July 22, 2005 2:55 PM

Right now:
1. Heat Wave by Eric Klinenberg for the Gapers Block Book Club (of course!)
2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

3. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, also for the book club
And I want to read the new book by Jasper Fforde, even though it's gotten mixed reviews.

Naz / July 22, 2005 3:12 PM

Re-reading favourite chapters aside from Saveur magazine:

1) On Writing - Stephen King
2) Kitchen Confidential - Athony Bourdain
3) The Complete Walker IV - Colin Fletcher/Chip Rawlins (the hikers/campers bible)
4) Metal Cowboy - Joe Kurmaskie

kerry / July 22, 2005 3:12 PM

Currently finishing Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky, with Palahniuk's Haunted and that damned Malcom Gladwell book Blink on deck. Oh, and I'll maybe read Soft Power again.

e_five / July 22, 2005 3:19 PM

I have a tendency to wait for paperbacks.

"What's the Matter with Kansas?" by Thomas Franks*
"Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson*
"It Can't Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis*
"The Great Influenza" by John M. Barry
"Freakonomics" by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
"The Magnificent Ambersons" by Booth Tarkington

* finished

amy / July 22, 2005 3:21 PM

The Chicago River: A Natural and Unnatural History, by Libby Hill. It's extremely comprehensive and informative about the history of the river from glacial times to the present. A little dense for El reading, but definitely something to work through.

NotSoHealthy / July 22, 2005 3:38 PM

Also coming to paperback is the chicago story "The Devil of Shakespeare" by Billy McCarthy

Nuxrs / July 22, 2005 3:50 PM

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Diamond Age & Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Mich / July 22, 2005 4:04 PM

Libra by Don DeLillo...So good.

Blindness by Jose Saramango...very awesome Portugese writer. highly reccomended.

Just started Homo Faber by Max Frish...Swiss writer.

I guess I am into books in tranlation this summer.
Still staring at that GRAVITY'S RAINBOW on my bookshelf. Soon Tommy-baby...I promise.

Kelly / July 22, 2005 4:11 PM

Freakonomics -- Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

A Home at the End of the World -- Michael Cunningham

Heft on Wheels -- Mike Magnuson

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference – Malcom Gladwell

To Be Read:
Superstud, or, How I Became a 24 Year Old Virgin -- Paul Feig

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed – Jared M. Diamond

The Men Who Stare at Goats – Jon Ronson

Leah / July 22, 2005 4:23 PM

A lot of people don't know, but John Kennedy Toole had two books. The first (though published last) is The Neon Bible.

Justin / July 22, 2005 4:52 PM

Athenagoras's Apology to Marcus Aurelius in a collection of early Christian writings, followed in the same volume by excerpts from Against Heresies by Iranaeus. Then I attack a pile of Poetry magazines.

And then maybe something funny.

Rebecca / July 22, 2005 4:57 PM

The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride
Be Honest, You're Not That Into Him Eitherby Ian Kerner --the femininst answer to that terrible, belittlingHe's Just Not That Into You book. It's alwas nice to find feminist authors that are male.

(rereading)The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker -- amazing
Everything is Illuminated -- don't know if I like it yet.
The Will to Change by the brilliant bell hooks

Rebecca / July 22, 2005 5:01 PM

Hey Naz, good taste. Stephen King and Athony Bourdain.

Emerson Dameron / July 22, 2005 6:11 PM

David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
Alex Marshall - How Cities Work
Gorges Perec - A Void

Various experimental fiction I pull off my girlfriend's bookshelf while she's fixing her hair.

Any of the countless zines that land in my mailbox.

Eventually, the new Nick Tosches book. The reviews haven't been good, but as that kid in The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys might say, "it's OK... he's a genius."

Veronica / July 22, 2005 6:31 PM

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, and soon Heat Wave, by Eric Klinenberg, like all the other clubbies out there. I'll also read Dandelion Wine, not specifically for the club, but because it's one of my favorite books of all time and I read it every couple of years or so, always in the summer. Other than that, I can't plan what I read. I'll plan out a list and then get distracted and decide I really, really need to read some author because how can I live without having read them?! The plan always goes to pot.

hfhenf / July 22, 2005 6:55 PM

"Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil" - Hannah Arendt

Arendt covered the 1960 trial of an SS functionary emphasizing how "normal" the killing of Jews became under Hitler. A very good precautionary tale for our current times.

Lisa / July 22, 2005 7:27 PM

Killing Yourself to Live; 85% a true story by Chuck Klosterman and the new Harry Potter of course.

Actually I just finished those. I'm now getting ready to read some guidebooks on France for when I go there next spring. Gotta plan early...

Alex / July 22, 2005 9:41 PM

Mich, you'll love Frisch's "Homo Faber." It's one of my favorite books -- such a good story and Frisch writes beautifully.

Carlotta / July 22, 2005 11:28 PM

Picked up Dickens' "Great Expectations" at Bookworks' 20% sale in May, read it and had to read another of his novels, and I just finished "A Tale of Two Cities." Almost 50 years old and I had never gotten around to reading him.

Have also read "Virgins of Venice: Broken Vows and Cloistered Lives in the Renaissance Convent," by Mary Laven, a fascinating account of noble-born women warehoused in convents so that their families could build up dowries for another sibling. Very interesting study of gender and class in those times.

Will finish up the summer reading Kubrick film-related books, like a book devoted to "2001"'s making, criticism, etc. and reading Arthur Schnitzler's novella on which "Eyes Wide Shut" was based.

Mister C / July 23, 2005 1:18 AM

Because of my line of work (and my personal obsessions), I mostly read Chicago related stuff. Right now I'm reading Smoldering City by Karen Sawislak. It deals with the rebuilding of the city after the Great Fire of 1871, and all the various controversies and problems involved therein.

To mix things up, I'm going to start The Little Friend by Donna Tartt and then finally read Fight Club by "Chuck P" when my nephew's finished with the copy I bought him (it's always good to buy friends and family books that you want to read and then borrow them when they're done).

BTW-If anyone is looking for something new to read about our fair city, you can check out the annotated biliography of some favorite Chicago related books that my bride and I just added to our site. We just put the finishing touches on it (for now) and put it up tonight (so I'm somewhat justified in shamelessly plugging it in Fuel). I'm a bit intimidated to bring it to the attention of such a bunch of bad*ss bibliophiles, but I put a ton of work into it, so what the hay.

consigliere / July 23, 2005 7:48 AM

The New American Militarism by Andrew Bacevich
Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler
The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Urrea

miss mann / July 23, 2005 8:05 AM

I just finished Orwell's Burmese Days so that I can start reading Finding George Orwell in Burma.

I'm poking around some of Robert Kaplan's smart books on difficult places.

Recently finished Sarah Vowell's Assignation Vacation.

Thinking about rereading The Quiet American.

And Harry Potter of course.

HuckleCat / July 23, 2005 12:11 PM

Cool site/bibliography, Mr. C-- I'll have to start reading.

BTW, I could have used your service last week when my folks showed up in town while I was at a conference.

flowfeel / July 23, 2005 12:18 PM

And Yet It Moves A summer must!

elena / July 23, 2005 1:07 PM

"Can one be a saint without God? -- that's the problem, in fact the only problem, I'm up against today."
from The Plague, by Albert Camus.

"What does it mean? -- a catchword that was, caught up from some book, fitting her thought loosely, for she could not, this first morning with the Ramsays, contract her feelings, could only make a phrase resound to cover the blankness of her mind until these vapours had shrunk. For really, what did she fell, come back after all these years and Mrs. Ramsey dead? Nothing, nothing -- nothing that she could express at all."
from To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf

I'm just starting Au pays de mes racines by Marie Cardinal.
And I've finished a poor biography of Camus by Olivier Todd, and in between, I've been reading Virginia Woolf's letters, volume II.

For light entertainment: Russendisko by Vladimir Kaminer

Overwrought / July 23, 2005 4:56 PM

Just finished "The Wonder Spot" by Melissa Bank (good) and "Shopgirl" by Steve Martin (meh).

Am in the middle of "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers (great so far).

Up next, maybe "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand.

Mister C / July 23, 2005 5:34 PM

Thanks much, HC. You get so close to something like that when you're working on it that all you see is what's wrong with it. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Loved the picture of the Osaka Garden on your blog-BTW.

Warning to those about to read (and who are reading)Atlas Shrugged: It is a brilliant and epic piece of work, but it can put you in a scary cognitive/emotional place (kind of like reading Nietzsche) in regards to one's feelings about society and the value of others (that's really vague, but I don't know how else to put it). I grew up in a secularist, individualist intellectual family where it was sort of the unofficial "family bible", so I know of whence I speak (such as it is).

jessica (vit) / July 24, 2005 3:11 PM

Heat Wave, by Eric Klinenberg, like all the other club kids. The Eyre Affair for some fun beach reading, I'll probably start in on that Harry Potter book next week followed by Freakonomics (as soon as I can get my hands on a copy) and then Jhumpa Lahri's "The Namesake" is on my plate.

Unlucky Atlas / July 24, 2005 3:23 PM

"Remembrance of Things Past: Swann's Way" - Proust

It's the second time through it and it is better the second time.

"The Experience of Freedom" - Jean-Luc Nancy

Yet again a second read and better the second time, though I have had to go back through some Hegel, which is great summer reading, and rethink a lot of Heidegger.

pang / July 24, 2005 8:50 PM

"The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova. Up next is "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" by Susanna Clarke. Nothing but the most impossibly giant tomes for me!

Other books that I've bought recently and that are looking at me reproachfully are the new Murakami, Ishiguro and Hornby, not to mention the book on the SF Giants that my friend just published and I have yet to read. Maybe after the baby is born in Oct.

Leelah / July 24, 2005 10:04 PM

I already completed "Haunted" (AWESOME! Sick and disturbing, but awesome!), "A Long Way Down", "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" for fun. I still need to read "Fury" by Salman Rushdie.

I assigned "The Things They Carried", and a choice of "1984", "Beloved", "The Catcher in the Rye" or "Things Fall Apart" so I have to re-read all of them. I've only done Catcher. I'm going to read them all this week.

mike / July 25, 2005 12:02 AM

Crossing California by Adam Langer

Blink by Malcom Gladwell

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (every summer)

Men and Cartoons, Motherless Brooklyn, and Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem

I must be on a roll. I dug em all.

Sonja / July 25, 2005 9:01 AM

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn, and now Living My Life by Emma Goldman.
Suprisingly, a lot of Chicago in these two books. Both are good history reads.

Andrew / July 25, 2005 9:35 AM

>Also coming to paperback is the chicago >story "The Devil of Shakespeare" by Billy >McCarthy

HA! I love those ads on the El! The photo just screams "serious author."

For me it's "The Moviegoer" by Walker Percy.

redliner_chi / July 25, 2005 9:36 AM

Currently reading:

Leaves of Grass by Whitman
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann (not a good choice for the summer, by the way)
Fables of Identity by Northrup Frye

these are all great, if you are looking for reading ideas.

Veronica #2 / July 25, 2005 9:52 AM

I am reading My Less Than Secret Life by Jonathan Ames

Also reading: iDn, index, dwell, V, arkitip

Shermann6 / July 25, 2005 10:07 AM

Finished - Haunted by Chuck Paulnik (it was horrible) and now reading The Beach by Alex Garland (So far very good)

Naz / July 25, 2005 10:53 AM

Jonathan Ames is good! Veronica, have you read "What's Not to Love?" If you haven't, do it! I think it's better than My Less Than Secret Life but all of Ames' non-fiction, there's no real bad one.

jen*nee / July 25, 2005 12:19 PM

Gonna finally try to make it through all of the Harlequin "Temptation" collection, in alhabetical order. First up: The Adventurous Bride.

jen*nee / July 25, 2005 12:22 PM

*oops* alphabetic is probably more like it.

Y A J / July 25, 2005 2:10 PM

Just finished Harry Potter 6, now I'm reading "Heat Wave" and "Duty & Desire", which despite the name isn't in the aforementioned alphabetical list. It's the second book of the trilogy re-telling Pride and Predjudice from Darcy's view. There just isn't enough Jane Austen in the world for me, so I read her imitators too.

Veronica #2 / July 25, 2005 3:28 PM

Naz yes I have read Whats Not to Love. It was great and actually my first introduction to Ames.

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