MONDAY: Franklin Park: Tales of Love and Madness with jazz expert Stanley Crouch (CONSIDERING GENIUS: WRITINGS ON JAZZ), Jennifer Gilmore (THE MOTHERS) Mitchell S. Jackson (THE RESIDUE YEARS), and short fiction writer Molly Tolsky, with special guest Joseph Riippi (BECAUSE). [Franklin Park]
TUESDAY: Paperback launch for THE FLAMETHROWERS. Rachel Kushner + James Wood = swoon. [PowerHouse]
With a night focusing on “the total agony and creeping insanity of dating,” you know it’s gonna be good.
And indeed, this was one of the most hilarious literary events I’ve ever been to. Five fantastic storytellers gathered at Housing Works on Wednesday to celebrate the publication of Kate Heaney’s recent memoir, NEVER HAVE I EVER, about her life (so far) as a singleton. Chiara Atik, author of the rather excellent MODERN DATING: A FIELD GUIDE, moderated.
MONDAY: Memoirist Ishmael Beah (RADIANCE OF TOMORROW) in convo with Dinaw Mengestu (THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAT HEAVEN BEARS). [Greenlight]
TUESDAY: Satirical/critical lit series Animal Farm, featuring Gawker editor Tom Scocca, novelist Julia Fierro (CUTTING TEETH), critic and fiction writer Rahawa Haile, and poet Bruno Davey. [Over the Eight]
Stylish and inventive, sure. But the more I think about Spike Jonze’s “Her,” the more disturbed I become. And it’s not just the content—it’s also the endlessly fawning reviews and accolades (Golden Globe!) that shy away from the deeper gender issues the movie raises. Sady Doyle and others have done a good job of going into this, but I thought I’d add my annoyances here.
Over the holidaze, many a friend asked me for book recs. Since I’ve been remiss in my “Book I’m Into” posts (or…haven’t really started them…but I will! 2014!), I thought this would be a good chance to do an awesome book roundup. Most of these are from 2013, but a few older ones made the list.
Thanks to literary Tumblr superstar Rachel Fershleiser for mentioning BookStalker last week as a resource. I agree, it is hard to find ALL NY lit events in one place. BookBoroughing has gone a bit quiet (though I can imagine it coming back in the new year) and Timeout NY used to have a nice lit search feature that has since gone away. I usually rely on bookmarked event pages of bookstores and lit centers (/their monthly or weekly emails), along with my Facebook events page.
For this week, here are my top picks:
MONDAY: Franklin Park Reading Series, featuring 2013 NBA nominee Tom Drury (PACIFIC), Okey Ndibe (FOREIGN GODS, INC.), Sean H. Doyle (THE DAY WALT DISNEY DIED), and Lauren Belski (WHATEVER USED TO GROW AROUND HERE), with music by Heiko Julien (I AM READY TO DIE A VIOLENT DEATH). [Franklin Park]
MONDAY: Vol. 1 Brooklyn and Sari Botton Present: Should I Stay or Should I Go? Mike Albo, Emily Gould, Alexander Chee, Chloe Caldwell, Anna Holmes, Choire Sicha, Jon-Jon Goulian, Michelle Dean, Elissa Bassist, and Isaac Fitzgerald on their love/hate relationships with NYC. [Housing Works]
TUESDAY: A tribute to Frederick Busch with Elizabeth Strout, Benjamin Busch, Hilma Wolitzer, Stewart O’Nan, and Jill Bialosky. [Center for Fiction]
WEDNESDAY: Beverly Gologorsky on her newest novel, STOP HERE, with Elizabeth Strout. [Strand]
THURSDAY: Malcolm Gladwell on his newest, DAVID AND GOLIATH. [Community Bookstore, at Congregation Beth Elohim]
FRIDAY: Kevin Sampsell will present his newest novel, This Is Between Us, and will be joined by fellow readers Julia Fierro, Chelsea Hodson, and Joseph Riippi. [WORD]
Tonight, I saw saw 20 readings in a row. It was kind of like flipping through TV stations, or playing literary Chat Roulette. I haven’t attended the NBA Finalists Reading before, so I figured there would just be a couple readers from each category. But: not to worry. They were all there!
Granted, they each had only five minutes to read. And though most authors introduced their work, the dipping into a variety of genres (fiction, poetry, nonfiction and young people’s lit) as well as the different types of subject matter (a brother’s suicide, the War of 1812, Nazi women, scientology) was jarring, exhilarating and a bit overwhelming.
Oh man, what happened last night? The National Book Foundation’s 5 under 35 party at powerHouse Arena included: Carrie Brownstein hosting, Colson Whitehead DJ’ing, a bevy of hot under-35 writers speaking—plus swag bags, a Calexico cart outside, fancy cocktails…In other words, it was like an amazing literary fever dream.
Exciting news! This week I’ll be covering some of this week’s National Book Award events for Tumblr (along with the awesome Kate Gavino of Last Night’s Reading). Tonight I’ll be checking out the 5 Under 35 par-tay (hosted by CARRIE BROWNSTEIN, whom I love), and tomorrow I’ll be at the Finalists Reading. I’ll be posting writeups, but will also send some real-time dispatches from the events (if I can figure out how to do so with a glass of wine in hand).
WEDNESDAY: I don’t knit, but I am strangely intrigued by this: Elissa Schappell (BUILDING BLUEPRINTS FOR BETTER GIRLS) will speak with Ann Hood, who collected essays from 27 writers (including Elissa Schappell, along with Ann Patchett, Barbara Kingsolver and others) about knitting. [Center for Fiction]
THURSDAY: Book launch for Brooklynite Paul Auster’s new memoir, REPORT FROM THE INTERIOR. [PowerHouse]
Brooklyn Book Festival Special Report Part II: Poetry!
Dispatches from the BKBF from my splendid writerly friend, Sarah Mucek.
Greetings again! I had the chance to take in the fantastic BKBF Mainstage panel “Poets Laureate Past and Present,” and although it’s nigh impossible to do legendary poets justice by paraphrasing, I shall take my very best and belated stab at it here!
Brooklyn Book Festival Special Report Part I: Celebrate Banned Books Week! Panel
My good friend Sarah Mucek (who I’ve known since high school in Wisco) graciously agreed to cover some of the most interesting BKBF events that I, alas, could not. A fiction writer, poet and playright (her play Love Death Brains: A Pete Rydberg Musical Meme was in the 2012 International Fringe Festival), Sarah proved the perfect guest blogger. Part I of II here—the next installment to come soon.
Hello, fellow Bookstalkers, and belated greetings from the Brooklyn Book Festival! While Julia was (alas) out of town last weekend, I had the privilege of experiencing the BKBF for the very first time. I’m a recent transplant to New York and, no joke, the Festival was maybe my favorite event in the five boroughs so far. It was that sunny. The air was that cool. The panels were that fantastic. And yes, there were that many other bibliophiles sharing the love.
For those who didn’t make it or who spent their time at one of the other great events (understandable), the BKBF turned the steps of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall into their outdoor Mainstage. First up: Celebrate Banned Books Week! featuring YA authors Francesca Lia Block (WEETZIE BAT, BABY BE BOP), Lauren Myracle (THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US), and David Levithan (TWO BOYS KISSING), all of whom face regular challenges to their books in schools and libraries due to sexual and LGBT content.
Liz Rosenberg is an impressively multitalented writer: children’s book author, YA writer, poet, and novelist. A professor at Binghamton University, she’s also taught the likes of Nathan Englander and Josephine Schmidt. Her newest novel, THE LAWS OF GRAVITY, involves two cousins at a life-and-death crossroads: Nicole, who finds out she has cancer, and her cousin Ari, who could potentially save her life with umbilical cord blood he’s been saving for his own children. Liz based the tale on a real-life case she heard about decades ago, in which a man sued his cousin for changing his mind about a bone-marrow transplant. The man died, and Liz wondered what the surviving cousin felt afterwards.
Besides being a terrifically talented writer, Liz is a wonderful human being, and I’m delighted to be able to share some of her most memorable public speaking tales.
As a book blogger, I get quite a few books recs. But I can’t remember a novel that has generated quite so many emails and endorsements as THE LOVE AFFAIRS OF NATHANIEL P. Part of the reason is that I and many of my friends live amongst the Brooklyn 20/30-something set that the book describes. Another part is that NATE P. attempts to answer some Big Questions about the current (and sometimes shitty) state of dating on the East Coast.
All this week, Bookend events will lead up to the big day, aka Sunday, in which the largest free lit event in NY will descend on Burough Hall. I’ve compiled a list of some of this week’s most exciting events.
MONDAY: Adelle Waldman (THE LOVE AFFAIRS OF NATHANIEL P.) will hang out with Jay McInerney (BRIGHT LIGHTS BIG CITY). [Barnes and Noble UES]
TUESDAY: It’s tough to choose just one, so here are two:
Author and Jezebel columinst Lizzie Skurnick will celebrate the launch of her YA publishing imprint with LOIS FREAKING DUNCAN (I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, STRANGER WITH MY FACE). (Why yes, I did love her growing up.) [PowerHouse]
FRIDAY: The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, Slice Lit Mag and Largehearted Lit will host: Literary Past, Present and Future with Joyce Johnson (MINOR CHARACTERS), Alissa Nutting (TAMPA) and Gabriel Roth (THE UNKNOWNS). [BookCourt]
SUNDAY: There are too many events to name, but check them out here! Tragically, I will be traveling, but I hope to have a good friend (and talented writer) guest blog for me. Also, be sure to check out my writeups of BKBF 2012 (featuring Dan Savage and Naomi Wolf) and BKBF 2011 (featuring Joyce Carol Oates and Larry McMurtry).
I was pretty under the weather last week, but on Tuesday I got the chance to check out Marisha Pessl (SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS) at PowerHouse promoting her new book: NIGHT FILM. In lieu of a full writeup, I’ll just say that you can’t go wrong with a book based in part on Hitchcock films, gothic novels, and Stanley Kubrick. Learn more here and get your hands on it asap.
MONDAY: Ted Kerasote (PUKKA’S PROMISE) will talk dogs. [BookCourt]
TUESDAY: Fiction Addiction will host a night with Guernica Magazine, featuring Vaddey Ratner, Katie Kitamura, Elizabeth Crane, and Elliott Holt. [2A]
WEDNESDAY: The How I Learned Series will focus on “How I Learned to Break all the Rules” with Will Hines, Mindy Raf, Aaron Wolfe, Amanda Duarte, and Jen Bosworth. [Happy Ending]
THURSDAY: MK Asante will read from his memoir, BUCK. [PowerHouse Arena]
FRIDAY: Off to Wisco for me. Have a great Labor Day!
On Sex, Love and the Novel (along with This Week's Readings)
I meant to do a post on the excellent panel “Sex, Love and the Novel" at Housing Works last Thursday, which featured Kate Bolick, Emily Cooke, Parul Sehgal, Adelle Waldman, and moderator David Haglund. But now that I’m looking at my notes, it’s all a jumble of ideas and reading suggestions and opinions. So in a kind of (hopefully not too annoying) stream-of-conscious way, I’d like to share some of the discussions:
TUESDAY (Updated): I heard from a few sources that Gary Shteyngart was to be at KGB, but alas, it’s not to be. Thankfully, there are lots of great readings going on Tuesday, including Susan Choi discussing her newest novel, MY EDUCATION. [Greenlight]
Adelle Waldman’s hot-off-the-press debut novel, THE LOVE AFFAIRS OF NATHANIEL P., may help answer that age-old dating question: WTF? For anyone who’s been confused by the current dating scene (ahem, me), Adelle illuminates the perspective of the young, modern, sensitive-yet-jerkish male through main character Nate Piven. A literary breakout in Brooklyn, Nate faces of plethora of potential relationships but fails to navigate any of them smoothly.
Adelle’s book has been named a NYT Editors Choice, a B&N Discover Great New Writers Selection, and an Amazon Best Book of July. Critics have lauded her wry humor and have called the tale “a smart, engaging 21st-century comedy of manners.” Adelle agreed to chat about her reading experiences thus far, which (unsurprisingly) contain the same level of observation and humor that can be found in her fiction.