What We’re Reading

Read any good books lately?  Curious about the intellectual climate behind the counter?  Read on…


76 comments on “What We’re Reading

  1. I’m reading HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HOLLOWS compliments of Tracie!
    woo hoo

    • YES! I have a soft spot for that little wizard. I just finished reading ‘Northanger Abbey’ by Jane Austen, which completely made my lazy, lay around the house domestic kind of Wednesday. On a lighter note, I’ve just started ‘Germans into Nazis’ by Peter Fritzsche, which, unless it completely blows my mind, I’ll spare the blog further details.

  2. Now beginning THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA by Michael Pollan, onto which while grossly envelopped in HARRY POTTER, I spilled my herbal infusion. bah! slash not bah for the book. I love this guy.

  3. Finished this month’s requisite Nazi book and am now reading John Lucacks’ ‘Budapest: 1900’. So far, so good!

    but I am going to need a novel soon…

  4. This was technically the first post, though I managed to make it the main body of the page (woops)

    —>Tracie reads one of Val’s least favorite books, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Val reads Plumes by Sarah Stein.

  5. Val is through with Hungary and back to Deutschland. Reading Steven Ozment’s ‘A Mighty Fortress’, which attempts to tell an entire history of Germany from Tacitus’ first mention of the ‘barbarian tribes’ t0 the fall of the Berlin Wall. Ausgezeichnet!

  6. Tracie just finished Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenburg and is now getting her mystery fix with Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death…

  7. Tracie is reading Kite Runner…

  8. still reading THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA, and currently immersed in May’s copy (May, the former general manager a few years back) of CRUDDY by Lynda Barry (a former evanston resident…)

  9. Tracie is reading MOMO by Micheal Ende.

  10. finished THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA on the busride home from the little Uni and an afternoon shift.
    Last night Rebekah began reading, although will more likely skim SURVIVING SCHIZOPHRENIA by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D.
    Rebekah is waiting for Daniel to finish reading the book she wants to read next.

  11. Tracie is reading Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene.

  12. Mortimer Adler’, Ten philosophical Mistakes
    consciousness and its objects, intellect and senses, words and meanings, knowledge and opinions…etc:

  13. more brain stuff… finished previous book. Rebekah is now reading A STROKE OF INSIGHT by Jill Bolte-Taylor

  14. by the way, rebekah and bekyalbert are the same…

  15. Rebekah is moving from the human brain to the drives and seduction of plants with Michael Pollan’s THE BOTANY OF DESIRE

  16. While visiting her parents, Rebekah is reading the LITTLE UNICORN’S ANTIQUE FAIRY TALES. Her mom conveniently left it at her bedside. *smile*

  17. Tracie is reading Strapless by Deborah Davis. It is a good read about John Singer Sargent and Amelie Gautraeu.

  18. Rebekah is also reading SAID THE SHOTGUN TO THE HEAD by Saul Williams. She loves this guy.

  19. Tracie just finished Scandal by s. Endo and began Fierce Invalids …by tom robbins.

  20. Rebekah finished THE BOTANY OF DESIRE and has moved onto a book on farming in small spaces by Ruppenthal.

  21. Rebekah is reading her diary from September 2005-April 2006! this includes when she started working at the lil Unicorn!
    Rebekah is also reading THE DEAD EMCEE SCROLLS: THE LOST TEACHINGS OF HIP-HOP by Saul Williams. still lovin that guy.

  22. Tracie is reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

  23. Rebekah wants to read THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING! Rebekah read ECSTASIA by Francesca Lia Block on her most recent busrides to and from the Uni.

  24. THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET by Sandra Cisneros!

  25. Rebekah reads HOMEOPATíA as part of a practice of learning la idioma bonita.

  26. Rebekah is also reading RIGHTEOUS DOPEFIEND by Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg

  27. Tracie is reading Three Musketeers- All for one, one for all!

  28. Rebekah couldn’t fall asleep for a time last night, and started reading WINTERGIRLS

  29. Rebekah is totally loving, drooling over, captivated by BORN TO RUN by Christopher Mcdougall.

  30. Rebekah no longer has 3 hours on a bus per day to read. She is slowly reading BREAD BUILDERS (a book borrowed from a customer), while she ices her feet.!

  31. Val just finished IVANHOE and has moved on to WHORAGE IN KIMMAGE (which is awesome awesome) and has revisited Peter Rheinhart’s BREAD BAKER’S APPRENTICE (which is delicious delicious).

  32. Rebekah is reading THE SEASONS OF HENRY’S FARM by Terra Brockman and reminiscing.


  34. Just finished and LOVED Bodily Harm by Margaret Atwood and is now trying to like Nick Hornby’s How to be Good…



  37. is reading ONE STRAW REVOLUTION by Fukuoka (an XMas gift from a custy)

  38. Val is reading her requisite 5 books at a time. This week’s line-up includes Roddy Doyle’s OH PLAY THAT THING, Caleb Carr’s THE ALIENIST, a history of New York’s Five Points neighborhood, and I’m slowly working my way through Mark Bittman’s HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING.

  39. Rebekah is reading A SAND COUNTY ALMANAC by the great Aldo Leopold!

  40. Rebekah is reading THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN by Carlos Casteneda

  41. Tracie is reading a Miss Marple Mystery. It went really well with last night’s thunderstorm.

  42. Rebekah is reading ILLUSIONS by Richard Bach (I think that’s his name)

  43. Rebekah is reading FRANNY AND ZOOEY by J.D. Salinger. Somebody tell Felix for me!

  44. Rebekah is reading LIFE IS A MIRACLE by Wendell Berry

  45. Rebekah is reading THE BLACK AND WHITE OF IT by Ann Allen Shockley

  46. Rebekah is reading THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X. Why am I the only one who keeps this updated?

  47. You are the only one who updates because Tracie and I are too embarrassed to admit we read Twilight!

    Maybe I’ll read along with you– I bought that book over the summer. Right now I’m reading Kathleen Flinn’s “The Sharper the Knife, the Less you Cry” (or something to that effect).

    Miss you!

  48. come on…! where are all the readers at??!!


  49. Wow! we have a blog!? Mandi is reading INVITATION TO A BEHEADING by Nabokov, preceded by JONATHAN STRANGE AND MISTER NORRELL by Susanna Clarke, preceded by THE HUNGER GAMES.

  50. yay! mandi! Rebekah read OLD YELLER, followed by THE PROPHET by Kahlil Gibran, and now reads PERFECT GIRLS, STARVING DAUGHTERS by Courtney E. Martin.

  51. Val just finished GRAPES OF WRATH and will now jalopy across Oklahoma with REBEKS!
    And there will be Harry Potter book on tape.

  52. Just finished White Teeth by Zadie Smith on Savannah’s recommendation- it was a fantastic read and I pass the recommendation on 🙂

  53. Rebekah is connecting to her land and herself and reading: ART OF THE COMMONPLACE: agrarian essays by Wendell Berry. and TAKING CHARGE OF YOUR FERTILITY by Toni Weschler.

  54. Hadn’t read this blog before. Came to it in the course of trying to find more information about the Bluegrass Extravaganza at the Unicorn in the afternoon on New Year’s Day, 2011. (Hope to see you there!)

    Most of what I read is borrowed from/through the Evanston Public Library (EPL). I do also occasionally buy books from (a) the EPL Main Floor nook where used books for sale are on display and available for $1, or (b) the EPL quarterly book sales. Listed below are one Non-Fiction and one Fiction book from the EPL that I’m currently reading.

    I’m reading “The Happiness Hypothesis” by Jonathan Heidt (2006). It synthesizes (a) the advice of ancient Eastern and Western spiritual and philosophical traditions regarding the pursuit of happiness, with (b) the findings of Western scientific psycho-neuro-cognitive research. on the foundations of experienced happiness. A great summary, with ample notation, written in an engaging style, by a professor of philosophy. I highly recommend it to those who (like me) are interested in this kind of synthesis.

    Mostly I read poetry. However, today I purchased a novel by Askold Melnyczuk called “What is Told” (1994). It’s about a couple that emigrates from Ukraine to New Jersey in 1914. The jacket blurb from the Boston Globe states:
    “Melnyczuk skips across decades and continents, from lyric passge to coarse account, from domestic scene to philosophical musing. His blend of myth and realism — punctuated with violence and comedy — recalls Garcia Marquez.”

    I’m very interested in the process of emigration from one culture to another. I enjoy visiting ethnic neighborhoods (such as Ukrainian Village) in Chicago. As a research coordinator at the University of Illinois at Chicago, I’ve worked with immigrants from all over the world, including Ukraine, Poland, Russia, the former Yugoslavia, Romania, and Bulgaria. My relatives are descended from immigrants from some of those countries. I hope to learn more about those cultures from reading this book.

  55. I recently purchased “Poetry for the Earth” for $.50 at the Evanston Public Library ( EPL). I found it in the EPL Main Floor nook that displays used books for sale. This 1991 anthology is edited by Sara Dunn. (You can borrow it from a nearby library through the EPL.) As the book jacket says, this anthology collects poetic responses to the environment from eras and places as diverse as classical Greece, Elizabethan England, 17th-century Japan, contemporary Africa, and modern America. I highly recommend it!

    I like to purchase anthologies of poetry, and keep them at hand, to peruse at the end of the work day. Poetry gives me release from the press of daily business. It leads me from the world of data to the realm of metaphor, and there to a bed of words in which to luxuriate….

  56. still struggling through The Cat in the Hat

  57. I just read LITTLE BEE by Chris Cleave. I needed a piece of fiction that would captivate me. It did.

  58. Making my way through the Entire Harry Potter Series (not for the first time). I’m halfway through number 4: HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE.

  59. wow, you guys are way more literary than I.

    I’m reading the back of the cereal box, and having trouble with the crossword.

  60. still reads Wendell Berry essays. seriously they rule. read them. seriously. read them read them read them: THE ART OF THE COMMONPLACE:agrarian essays of Wendell Berry.

    and currently reads Eldridge Cleaver essays SOUL ON ICE.

  61. I just bought that, Beks! And I just finished reading Aldo Leopold’s SAND COUNTY ALMANAC.

  62. When I was a student at Lawrence U. in the 1960s, a paperback copy of “Soul on Ice” was to be found on many a student’s bookshelf. Is it still a bestseller among liberal White college students?

    I just joined an Improv group for people over 55. So, I’m currently reading “Acting Up: An Innovative Approach to Creative Drama for Older Adults.” Also, just read “The Hothouse” — a play by Harold Pinter, set in a mental institution. Have begun reading “Three Tall Women” by Edward Albee. That play is currently in performance in this area. Have also begun reading “Endgame” — a play by Samuel Beckett.

    Since Brendan reported that he struggles with literary works that have too many words in them, I’ll be giving him a piece of short, short fiction to read (from an anthology of same owned by the Evanston Public Library). It’s only 300 words long, and most of those words are short and simple ones. So, it should be only a modest challenge. (I try so hard not to be too demanding of that earnest young lad….)

    And now, Young Reader, it’s time to turn the page….

  63. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix! Wee!

  64. Brendan’s film clip from “Glengarry Glen Ross” — posted on this Website — motivated me to read the original play by David Mamet last weekend.

    It appears that the film’s screenwriters added in the bit that includes the memorable line, “Coffee is for Closers.” (It’s not in the original play. ) So, should we think of that “Closers” bit as a form of “product placement” for coffee? Did The Unicorn pay for that placement? And, did Brendan write the dialog for that bit? He’s always had plenty of David Mamet attitude!

    If The Unicorn did pay for the product placement for coffee, what fantasy is The Unicorn trying to promote? That you can score a date in a coffeehouse just as easy as you can in a bar? ‘Cos the coffeehouse regulars know how to Close?

    Well, I liked coffee even before the movie came out. But if Unicorn Management will only serve coffee to Closers, I’ll have to go elsewhere, ‘cos in spite of all the Unicorn customers (and baristas) I’ve hit on, I’ve never been able to score a date there.

    For me, for now — Closing at the Unicorn is only a pipe dream…!

    ~ Dimestore Fred, A Bit Player From Way Back


  66. Those interested in reading fanciful light verse about fanciful creatures (like the Unicorn) with illustrations to match, might like a small tome that I just purchased a copy of for $.50 at the Evanston Public Library. It’s called “Johnny Appleseed” and the author is American Poet Vachel Lindsay.

    Lindsay was born in Springfield, IL in 1879. Johnny Appleseed was one of his heroes. In 1906, Lindsay took the first of several long “tramps” across a part of the U.S., securing food and lodging by writing, reciting, and selling poems — in addition to doing odd jobs. (Seems that some of our baristas are adventuring near to that kind of pen-to-mouth existence!)

    Here is one of Lindsay’s short poems, in tribute to our Unicorn bakers. (I heard a recording of this poem many times as a child, sung by Burl Ives.)

    ” The Moon’s the North Wind’s cooky;
    He bites it — day by day —
    Until there’s but a rim of scraps
    That crumble all away.

    ” The South Wind is a baker,
    He kneads clouds in his den,
    And bakes a crisp new moon…
    That greedy North Wind eats again! “

  67. well, I have finished all the Harry Potter books! Now, no idea what to read…Perhaps a more classic children’s series… The Chronic(what!)cles of Narnia! Bia!

  68. Mandi: I have two reading suggestions for you, based on books I enjoyed as a child. Of course, that was a long, long time ago. But then, you did say you were looking for “classic” literature. Newberry Medals have been won by both authors mentioned here.

    If you were looking for a single book, I’d recommend “Rabbit Hill” by Robert Lawson, while there are still a few weeks of Winter left. It’s a tale of the challenges of survival (including surviving Winter weather), told from a rabbit’s point of view. Rabbits maintain high visibility in Evanston, thereby reminding us that we share this prairie space with them, and making the book feel relevant. (Read the lips on those rabbits! All day long they chant: “This land belongs to you and me .”)

    If you insist on a series, I recommend the Dr. Doolittle series by Hugh Lofting. I think you’d find some animals and situations in those stories that could be dramatized at The Actor’s Gymnasium. Perhaps you [and Tracie?] would like to play the Pushmi-Pullyu?

    ~ Fred, Still Undergoing Psychoanalysis for his Pushmi-Pullyu Complex

  69. thanks for the suggestions…I’m now on the third installment of the Chronicles of Narnia, VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER!

  70. Mandi: You could also consider books by Jules Verne, the 19th Century inventor of the “science fiction” genre. In light of the recent tsunamis, caused by submarine earthquakes, you might want to read “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” or “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” When I was in 8th Grade, both books were on our reading list, and were very popular. Film versions have been made of both books.

    These books also suggest scenes that might appeal to the imagination of children, or that could be staged at the Actors’ Gymnasium.

    Here are some links to material about Verne and his books:

  71. Rebekah reads Peter Matthiessen’s THE SNOW LEOPARD. ! all smiles.

  72. Rebekah still reads Peter Matthiessen’s THE SNOW LEOPARD…although it’s on hiatus. She took a break to read THE HELP which she received in the mail from former general manager Val. and now she is reading the 2nd edition of Sandra Steingraber’s LIVING DOWNSTREAM.

  73. Tracie just finished Margret Atwood’s, Cat’s Eye. Love that woman and can’t get enough of her books. This book is one of her best and I recommend it to all. I then read the Weetzie Bat books recommended by Bekah and Savs- also very good. Now I’m in the purgatory zone- don’t really have an inspired read going- sort of humdrumming through a historical fiction that isn’t worth mentioning…yet- maybe it will turn out to be awesome. Love!

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