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This Week’s Readings

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What have you been reading lately? I recently took this Instagram pic to show my current library books. (Note: I also buy a good amount of books, especially by new authors, but the NYPL truly has ANY BOOK you could imagine. It is magical.) I’m about 80% of the way through the first draft of my current novel, which has a decidedly feminist/political undercurrent. You can probably see this in some of my reading choices (The Worst of Times: Illegal Abortion—Survivors, Practitioners, Coroners Talk about its Horrors; The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion).

One of the coolest things about writing fiction is the ability to throw in whatever fascinates you, and then seeing how those interests intertwine to form your characters/plot and themes. For this book, I’ve been ponderin’ the following: mothers/daughters, celebrityism in the digital age, fundamental Christianity, and women’s reproductive rights. There’s a still lot of writing and editing to be done, but I’m quite excited about it.

This week in readings: Franklin Park, Literary BFFs, bookshop talk, Christopher Bram, and a tribute to Louise Glück.

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BookStalked: Matt Dojny

Good lord, what a disturbing morning. So thankful that all my friends who work in that area are okay. Just wanted to mention that first.

In the spirit of marching literarily onward, let’s talk about Matt Dojny. Matt’s Book Boroughing event with John Wray (Lowboy) was one of the most entertaining events I’ve ever attended. Not only did Matt and John reminisce about hilarious shared experiences (like working together on a “blind vampire movie” in college), they also embarked on a karaoke rendition of “Don’t You Want Me Baby” — without the lyrics handy. Matt’s debut novel The Festival of Earthly Delights has been placed at the top of book lists and lauded throughout the land. I’m delighted to be able to share his tales of public readings — which include blackberry brandy drinkin’, cat-related accusations and Clifford-the-Big-Red-Dog-crashings — after the jump.

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BookStalked: Gabrielle Gantz of The Contextual Life and David Gutowski of Largehearted Boy

Gabrielle and David are two high-profile book bloggers who exemplify the best of the NYC  lit scene. Their friendliness, enthusiasm, and knowledge were a total inspiration to me in the early days of BookStalker. A book publicist by day, Gabrielle writes about lit events and reviews books at The Contextual Life in her off-hours. David started his popular lit and music blog Largehearted Boy OVER TEN YEARS AGO (which is like decades in blog-years) and also runs the related reading series Largehearted Lit. As if they weren’t busy enough, the two friends recently combined forces to start BookBoroughing, a literary event calendar. This month, they’re also launching a BookBoroughing reading series that pairs author friends, starting with Matthew Dojny and John Wray next Wednesday at Mcnally Jackson.

After the jump, both share their favorite events, surprising NYC experiences and which one of them was just a liiiittle wary of their newest endeavor.

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This Week’s Readings

Continuing my tour of the literary blogosphere:

Two of the friendliest and most delightful bloggers I’ve met thus far are Gabrielle Gantz and David Gutowski. They are my fave people to attend readings with, as they always know much more than I do about the book, author, publicist, editor, etc. I am constantly amazed by their extensive knowledge of the literary scene and literature in general.

Gabrielle is a book publicist and runs the blog The Contextual Life, which features writeups of literary events, book reviews, author interviews, podcast suggestions and more. David runs the site Largehearted Boy, in which he mixes music and literature—for example, asking authors to provide playlists for their books. He also hosts Largehearted Lit, a monthly reading series that features writers and musicians. (Read more via my Largehearted Lit post here.)

Both have recently started a site called Book Boroughing, which includes an extensive literary events calendar, as well as interviews with book-related folk and reading writeups. This site has become my primary source for figuring out my top picks o’ the week, so if you’re ever looking for options, this is the place to go.

Speaking of my top lit picks:

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Sara Levine

Treasure Island!!!

If you had to choose one book to model your life after, what would it be?

The unnamed female protagonist in Sara Levine’s debut novel, Treasure Island!!!, shapes hers after Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic. Though the woman’s friends denigrate it as a book for children—specifically, boys—she argues that it clearly shows how everyone can be separated into two categories: those who work on the ship (pirates, cabin boys), and those who cling to its sides (barnacles).

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