Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

One Book, Chicago, One Book

According to Mayor Daley, this spring the city is reading GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN by James Baldwin.I won’t make it to the B’s for another couple of weeks/months, but there are a lot of cool events going on.Like tonight, at the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, Lower Level of the Harold Washington Library (400 S. State), members of the Steppenwolf Ensemble will read from the book, the Pilgrim Baptist Church Choir will perform, and Dr. Danielle Allen, Dean of the Humanities at The University of Chicago, will lead a discussion. It starts at 6.If I was in Chicago, I’d be there.

Happy Library Week!

April 15-21 is National Library Week. Celebrate by going to your library this week.

Goodnight Mr.Vonnegut

Author Kurt Vonnegut died April 11 at age 84. He wrote SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, CAT’S CRADLE, BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS, and a host of others. He started his career as a police reporter right here in Chicago.A few sites already have obituaries:VarietyNewsdayChicago Tribune (via the NY Times News Wire)He will be missed. Reread one his titles (or one you haven’t picked up yet) in his honor.(thanks to Matt who saw this via Kottke)(Correction from first publication. I originally wrote that he passed away on Tuesday, but his death occurred on Wednesday. I apologize for the error.)


Thanks to the comments online and in life, I came to a decision about ZORRO. I decided to leave it behind. I returned to the library, triumphantly, I might add.I’m still working on my Shelf 2 wrap (you’ll get that soon, then what I chose for Shelf 3), but I noticed a sign that piqued my interest: Summer Jobs.I got a little envious. I could tell from the Crayola font that it’s geared toward teens and back-from-collegers, but I remembered my days working in the Royal Palm Beach, Florida library (for free, mind you). It was a blast.In addition to tallying the reading records of kids’ summer reading programs (if they read X number of books, they got a t-shirt and an invite to the pizza party), I also stocked the shelves. This part was dull, but occasionally, I’d be in the stacks and someone would ask me where a certain book was located. I would also shelve the occasional book upside down, just as a surprise to library patrons. Whenever I see a book upside down now, I smile and wonder if a bored 12-year-old has been tracing my footsteps.The coolest thing I did that summer was try and decode “I am the Walrus” by the Beatles. The library staff had an old record player with a lot of different speeds. I had access to it. I think, by the end of the summer, I decided that they weren’t saying “John is dead” as I previously had been told, but instead saying “Paul is dead,” which didn’t make any sense at all because, if they were predicting their own deaths, they had totally missed the mark. Ah, kid logic.In any case, the Chicago Public Library is hiring for the summer. If you’re a teen, college student, or tween, give it a go because it’s a lot of fun. You might actually get paid.

Help Me Decide

So, I’ve read everything on Shelf 2/216 except for Zorro. I’m having a hard time with it. Not that the book is bad (I have no idea, as I’m only on pg 10), but that I have no real interest in it. Every time I sit down to read it, I find my mind wandering to other things.What’s your take? Should I put it down, send it back to the library, and move on to Shelf 3? Or, do I stick with it, despite the fact that the books are overdue, and finish what I started?Help me decide.

Shelf 2/216

Hello, Shelf 2.21 books on this shelf. It makes me a little nervous. It’s 8:10 and the library closes in less than an hour. Hopefully, I can get through this shelf.Find out if I do after the jump. (more…)

Caught Read-Handed

Name: Rachel KentonNeighborhood: N/A; visiting from PhoenixPlace: Heartland CafeDate: 3/16/07Time: 6:24 pmCaught Reading: Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller.Page You’re On Right Now: 63Teeny-Tiny Review: “This is the first one by him that I’m reading. I’m really liking it. My friend lent it to me while I’m here. I just started yesterday and I’m really loving it.”Catch someone with a book? Find out what they’re reading, snap a pic if you can, and send it here.

Whatcha Reading?

Name: Sam FitzgeraldNeighborhood: McKinley ParkCurrently Reading: Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare by Clare Asquith and The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury.Teeny-Tiny Review: “Both are pretty cool so far.”Are you reading something cool? Let me know. Special gold stars if you include a picture of yourself with the title.

Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow

Don't Go Where I Can't Follow

Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow is a spare and affecting work from Chicago comic book writer and artist Anders Nilsen. It’s snapshots of his relationship with his girlfriend Cheryl Weaver, culminating in her sudden illness and death in the winter of 2005. By no means an exhaustive memoir of their life together, instead we get illustrative moments — postcards they sent each other, a letter to his sister detailing a comically disastrous camping trip, a short list of Anders’ faults as a fiancee. And almost before it’s begun, the book is over — returning from France, Cheryl is diagnosed with cancer and then treatments fail and then she dies. To the reader, it’s devastating.

Cancer is something of a hot-button topic around our house these days, but I don’t think that’s a requirement to appreciate this book — as Anders says in his afterword, “it’s just love and loss. And everyone, for better or worse, can relate to that.”

“The new graphic memoir, “Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow,” breaks a great many rules of form, concluding with what might be the most devastating 16 panels of artwork in Anders Nilsen’s career.” [LA Times]

“It’s very difficult to deal with Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow from any sort of objective or critical viewpoint: simply put, it’s the best graphic novel to be released this year.” [Tucker Stone]

Shelf 1/216

Let me take you back in time. It’s Tuesday, the ninth of January. I’m in the Rogers Park library. I just came up with the idea for The Library Project and I need something to read, so it’s a good time to begin.I start with shelf one. I take down all of the books (22 in all) and evaluate each one, mostly based on the cover (take that folk wisdom) and other random criteria that I’ll describe after the jump. (more…)

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