43 posts tagged BookStalked
The Arabic saying “bukra fil mish mish” means “tomorrow, apricots may bloom.” Jessica Soffer’s debut novel Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots focuses on two surprising friends facing uncertain futures. Young Lorca, about to be sent off to boarding school, thinks that if she’s able to make her mother’s favorite Middle Eastern dish, she might be allowed to stay. Victoria, an Iraqi Jewish immigrant and grieving widow in New York, teaches cooking lessons to Lorca. As they uncover secrets from their pasts, they begin to suspect that their connection runs deeper than food. Apricots has been called “a profoundly redemptive story” (O Magazine) and “a work of beauty in words” (New York Journal of Books). Jessica has just started doing readings about town, and she was kind enough to share some of her most memorable event experiences thus far — after the jump!
The Franklin Park Reading Series is one of the most popular reading series in Brooklyn, and I’m constantly amazed by the big names it draws in (seriously, every time). Curator Penina is my social media guru, but I was also impressed to find out that she single-handedly got the series going — after meeting with various Crown Heights inhabitants to find out what they were interested in (literature and bars, natch). After the jump, Penina shares stories about how she started FPRS, some of its most memorable moments, and, of course, the awesome events to look for this spring.
I heard about the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop shortly after moving to New York. I thought the concept—workshops run out of the homes of lauded authors like Emma Straub, Karen Thompson Walker and Catherine Chung—sounded like an amazing idea. What I didn’t know then (and only just discovered) is that there’s literally one woman behind the operation: founder Julia Fierro. Julia reads all the applications, fills the classes, hires and trains new teachers, teaches her own classes, and consults with students, along with scheduling, curating and hosting the related reading series. Whew! Somehow, in the midst of this (and raising two totally adorable kids), Julia found time to write a book—Cutting Teeth, forthcoming from St. Martins Press in spring 2014.
Without further ado, I want to get to Julia’s remarkable stories about Sackett Street—why and how she founded it, her most memorable experiences, and some exciting upcoming events.
Rosie Schaap has held down some pretty interesting gigs: fortuneteller, full-time Deadhead, preacher, homeless shelter manager, and, most recently, bartender. Her new memoir, Drinking with Men, shares tales from these various periods through the lens of her life-long search for the perfect bar. Besides her current post at South Brooklyn’s SOUTH, Rosie writes the monthly “Drink” column for The New York Times Magazine and also contributes to This American Life. Due to her witty and warm prose style, I felt like I knew Rosie even before reaching out. I was delighted to find her as friendly as I’d hoped. After the jump, Rosie provides stories of meeting fellow barflies on her book tour, hosting a rowdy series, and attending an unforgettable event .
With its 24-foot ceilings, amphitheater-style seating and gorgeous views of Manhattan, DUMBO’s powerHouse Arena is one of the most visually arresting places you can browse for books. The arena was built in 2006 by publisher powerHouse Books, who envisioned it as a hybrid gallery/events space/bookstore. PowerHouse constantly hosts big-name guests (some authors I’ve seen there recently include A.S. Byatt and Jeffrey Eugenides), and I’m always eagerly scrolling through their just-announced events.
Julie Buntin has been powerHouse’s events coordinator for about five months, but she already has an assortment of tales, ranging from dealing with Sandy’s devastating effects to hanging with NYC’s most brilliant to reining in a punk party that got a bit out of control. More after the jump.
It’s been a great year in bookstalking, and I think the best part has been adding BookStalked, a feature in which authors and other big names in the NYC book scene discuss their most memorable literary moments. I wanted to share just a few of my fave moments (though I truly love them all!).
- Jami Attenberg (The Middlesteins) on the dude who just wouldn’t stop talking about his coma.
- Myla Goldberg (The False Friend) on her reading that caused audience members to leave the room.
- Amanda Bullock (Housing Works Bookstore) on dealing with in-store urination.
- Matt Dojny (The Festival of Earthly Delights) on the event where a Clifford the Big Red Dog stole the show.
- Corey Eastwood (Book Thug Nation) on the Estonian performance group who took a chainsaw AND lighter to a giant book shrine.
- Teddy Wayne (The Love Song of Johnny Valentine) on causing some awkwardness in his friend’s mother’s book club.
- Chloe Caldwell (Legs Get Led Astray) on events where exes showed up “drunk and high and crying.”
- Mira Ptacin (formerly of Freerange Nonfiction) sharing her reflections on the NYC lit life after announcing her move to the Salt Institute in Portland, ME.
- Darin Strauss (Half a Life) on passing out at a Julian Barnes reading.
- Carmela Ciuraru (Nom de Plume) on meeting her (and my) literary hero.
I’m so grateful these amazing people took the time to share such crazy, fascinating and moving tales. If you missed any features, be sure to catch up on them here! Also, here’s another top-ten countdown from last year’s B-Day.
This Week’s Readings after the jump.
Photo via drinknectar.com.
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Manuel Gonzales at an event thrown by his publisher, Riverhead. Manuel was in town from Austin to promote his buzzy debut collection, The Miniature Wife. Manuel’s surrealist short stories range in subject from a composer who talks through his ears to a man who accidentally shrinks his wife. Many have raved about Manuel’s work, though the coolest praise may be from the NYT, who called the tales: “Delightful freakishness.”
Manuel had some great stories to share in person, so I knew I had to BookStalk him immediately. Click on the jump for some tales about Manuel’s most memorable reading, the question he always gets asked, and the most unforgettable event he’s attended.
In How to Get into the Twin Palms, a 25-year-old Polish immigrant in LA takes on a new name (Anya) and a new mission: to get into the exclusive Russian club in her neighborhood. Believer editor Karolina Waclawiak’s debut novel has been called a “fresh and bizarre” take on the immigrant story, and her dark humor and engaging prose have landed it on various top-ten lists. (Plus, how awesome is the cover)? Karolina was able to share some fascinating tales of her public reading experiences, including feedback from Polish book clubs and the most memorable reading of her life.
Catherine Chung’s first novel, Forgotten Country (named an Indie Next, O Magazine and Publishers Weekly pick), skillfully weaves a Korean family’s history with their rather dire present. When Janie’s sister Hannah was born in Korea, her grandmother told them that the family had lost a daughter in every generation since the Japanese occupation of Korea. When college-aged Hannah goes missing in Michigan, Janie is charged with finding her and bringing her back. Focusing on themes of family, legend, loss and immigration, the book has been called “luminous,” “gorgeous” and “inexpressibly beautiful.”
A Midwestern transplant, Catherine now lives in New York and is a fiction editor at Guernica Magazine. True to her writing style, she provided me with some truly momentous and magical tales—after the jump.
Happy New Year! I’m excited to kick off 2013 with a very special BookStalked featuring the brilliant and prolific writer Christopher Bram. Christopher has authored eleven books, which range from modern novels (Surprising Myself) to historical thrillers (Hold Tight) to speculative biographies (Father of Frankenstein, which was turned into the movie “Gods and Monsters”). Christopher’s most recent work, Eminent Outlaws, chronicles more than 50 years of gay literary history. It details the lives of writers like Truman Capote, Allen Ginsberg, Edward Albee, and Armistead Maupin.
Despite his busy schedule, Christopher was kind enough to share some tales. Read on to find out Christopher’s favorite NY bookstore, the one question he answered with silence, and which event changed his artistic perspective.