29 June 2012

Free Advice Friday: With a dreamy far-off look, and her nose stuck in a book

In this week's Dear Prudence chat, the manners police strikes out at public readers:
Sometimes when I want to eat out but don't have anyone to dine with I take a book to read during my meal. Sometimes I also read before a play begins. Recently an older woman came up to my table at a restaurant and told me it was very rude to read in public. I was shocked and embarrassed. I never read when I'm with others. Is it rude to read in public?
PRUDENCE: Apparently there is a cadre of people who would like to increase the amount of illiteracy in the world. They think we should all stare straight ahead when we are relieving ourselves, or waiting for an event, or enjoying a dinner out alone. Having a nice meal while engrossed in a good book sounds like a delightful evening—I'm one of those people who when dining alone would end up reading the ingredients on the Tabasco bottle if I didn't have a book with me. I assume the old lady also goes around pulling out people's earbuds and spilling ink on their crossword puzzles. She was a nut—ignore her remarks.

All I wish to add is, if this older woman is conducting this intervention on people reading books, the mere presence of smartphones must make her head explode.

28 June 2012

Hey, in case you need a break from reading about today's important Supreme Court decision (Pre-Existing Condition Dance Party, Saturday, my place!) you can read about Rielle Hunter's alternate Edwards Family history in her own memoir, as reviewed by Emily Bazelon at Slate.

27 June 2012

Summer Reading: Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum Make Me WANT MY MTV

I started watching MTV in secret when I was 11 or 12. I was just old enough to be allowed to stay home by myself while my parents were out running errands, and when I heard the garage door close I would creep up to my parents' room to watch their TV. I remember the texture of the purple corduroy pillow I would sit on to watch so I wouldn't leave a tell-tale crease in my parents' bed. I don't think I ever asked permission; I just knew it wasn't allowed.

Whatever was on, I would watch, but back then mostly I watched videos. This was the era of Prodigy and No Doubt, of Missy Elliott wearing a coat like a garbage bag and Fiona Apple rolling around on the floor. Biggie and Tupac had just died, but I wouldn't understand the significance beyond the tribute videos for a long time. I loved "Daria" and thought it might be fun to be on "The Real World" (this was back when they made them all get jobs and weren't full-time drunk hot messes).

I wasn't around to see the first golden age of MTV when the channel flipped on with "Video Killed the Radio Star," but nor do I feel insta-nostalgic for whatever JWOWW did last week. As a creation myth, Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum's oral history of MTV was an eye-opener for me, and even when I got to the aspects of its history I was familiar with, the detail they dug up over what must have been thousands of interviews made the retelling new.

Before delving into the videos we know and loved (or hated), Marks and Tannenbaum spend a fair amount of time explaining the way that the channel was shaped by its shoestring budget and casual operation. MTV began as a small pet project of a giant corporation with the budget of a rounding error, and couldn't afford to pay record labels for their videos (most of which were promotional pieces aimed at Australian or European audiences) -- so they convinced labels to air them for free, and played whatever they had. Cable owners didn't want to pick the channel up, so one executive begged Mick Jagger to record a commercial that would appeal to viewers to demand it -- the legendary "I Want My MTV" spot. They couldn't afford famous on-air talent, so they did a talent search and picked 5 unknowns to be the first "VJs," who look back on their time at MTV with fondness but feel a little cheated by their old contracts.

Some of the more salacious details about past misdeeds on sets and catering money going to less legal pleasures go unchecked, but Marks and Tannenbaum probably have at least one tidbit that will shock you even if you've heard it all. Mine concerned Rod Stewart, some lovely ladies and the River Cafe, a respectable upscale restaurant here in Brooklyn... and that's all I'll say about that. I'd recommend this book for trivia obsessives, people who like to wax nostalgic about the "good old days" of music videos and anyone who, like me, wishes to have been present at the creation.

A place I took this book in 100 words or less: Long Island City, Queens for work. Warehouses scrolling by on every block interspersed with views of the UN. A parking lot containing small planes instead of cars. Stained-glass windows on the platform of the elevated train, representing shops on the street and a train itself. I took a picture of the platform's Art Deco detail and accidentally captured a man in the foreground who was sitting in the trunk of his hatchback. Winds chased each other down to the river as if pulled by gravity. Sandals over cobblestones. Sunshine and no one.

26 June 2012

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
- RIP Nora Ephron, 71, author of HEARTBURN, I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK and others.

25 June 2012

“Is Mitt Romney electable?” he continued. “On the face of it, he looks presidential and he’s not stupid. But he lets himself down hideously whenever he has a victory. He looks as if he’s had five grams of coke — he’s shaking with a power rush. And that was always the most impressive thing about Obama: how he didn’t let that happen to himself. As if he didn’t feel it.”
--Martin Amis for political pundit 2012

Let's talk about vaginas in order to make Mitch Albom very uncomfortable

On some level it makes perfect sense that Albom, Michigander, is uncomfortable with words like penis and vagina in literature; after all, one of his state reps was banned from saying "vagina" within the context of a debate about abortion bills. (Not because, technically, abortions do not occur in vaginas, but rather because Rep. Mike Callton found the word "vagina" inappropriate to be used "in mixed company" -- that is, around the owners of vaginas and others who do not have them. He also said the term vagina was "so offensive, I don't even want to say it in front of women." This is rather curious because, well, most-to-almost-all of them have vaginas! I'm not saying teach your three-year-old niece what a vagina is without her parents' consent, but these are adult women in front of whom

(Let it also be entered into the record that Callton is not a doctor. He is a chiropractor, but not an M.D. Not that being an M.D. gives one law to decide which medical terms like "vagina" are inappropriate... but I think you get my drift.)

(He's also a Birther. Just adding another fact I found out about Mike "I Don't Want To Hear The Word Vagina Ever, Even Though I Have Probably* Traveled Through One Once**" Carlton.)

Back to Albom: Under pressure, perhaps, to write a 50 SHADES OF GREY column, he focuses on how it embarrasses him that such crude language is used in our culture. This is the entirety of his column -- that he feels embarrassed by 50 SHADES, by movies like "Hysteria" and by "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23," because there is open discussion of sex in all those things. Somewhere, Andy Rooney shakes his heavenly fist that he didn't think of this one first***.

At least he doesn't use the throw blanket of "But think of the children!!" to cover up his shoddy argument. But pray tell, who made Albom read 50 SHADES and watch "Don't Trust the B----" (I hear it's good, actually) or "Girls" (which he paints with the Katie Roiphe brush that if it isn't fun-looking then it must be bad)? Oh... nobody. But just knowing that women like 50 SHADES or that a character in "Don't Trust the B----" sleeps with another character gives him the bad tingles in the no-no place.  As much as Albom claims he's not trying to tell people what to do, he's... suggesting to people what to do, and that's the same. 

Now if I ran into Mitch Albom at a party I wouldn't say, "Let's talk about vaginas." I know my crowd. (I'd probably open with "What are you doing in New York?", which is safe enough.) But unfortunately, "It makes me embarrassed for the world" is not a good enough reason to not have free speech. If that were the case I would send Mike Callton into deep space, where no one could hear him rattle off his preferred euphemisms for vagina****, along with people who post homophobic jokes on Facebook, wear blackface or own a "No Fat Chicks" bumper sticker. I can't blast them off into deep space because I have to deal with them here on earth, and so does Albom. There are centuries of more "demure" popular culture he can dive into -- well, some of it may not be all that demure, but at least it doesn't have the word vagina in it, oh heavens where are my smelling salts. You can choose not to consume whatever forms of various entertainments you wish, but leave us out of it.

For the record, the word vagina is used 6 times in 50 SHADES OF GREY; penis, not at all.

As to Albom's contention that "If there isn't some shock involved, it isn't worth doing anymore," I would hope for the sake of the human race that he is incorrect, and so does my vagina. 

*I would prefer not to double check this fact.
**There is likely a more clinical way to say that, that makes birth sound less like an airport hub. 
***Actually, there is probably an Andy Rooney "60 Minutes" commentary about this somewhere. And if you know where it is, let me know.
****...I don't want to know.

24 June 2012

This month in Ayn Rand jokes

"I would do anything to spend one night with Howard Roark."
-Monica, Ellen Page's character in "To Rome With Love" (W. Allen, 2012). This is how we know not only that she is culturally as deep as a kiddie pool, but also that the addressee of this remark, Jack (Jesse Eisenberg), will fall in love with her anyway. I was very much alone in laughing at this in the theatre, which is why I'm recruiting the Internet to have my back on this.

22 June 2012

Reading jam of the moment: Pylon, "Read A Book"

Short and sweet.

Class of 2012: Do more drugs! Plaigiarize yourself! Take full custody of your younger brother?

The Strand Bookstore's collection of "inspirational" books could take your child in any number of interesting directions. Nice to see Patton Oswalt's ZOMBIE SPACESHIP WASTELAND in a primo spot, though.

20 June 2012

Filmbook-to-be: "Anna Karenina" (2012)

It must be really damaging to Jude Law's dignity to get stuck playing Anna Karenina's husband instead of her (spoiler, but come on) dashing younger lover. On the other hand: fair. I can't lie, this trailer gives me a lot of pause -- and I like Joe Wright, I like Knightley, I like the idea of remaking this one every 15-20 years or so. I think it's just the odd dancing bringing me down.

Take the Staples reading speed challenge... with a grain of salt

Oh lord, if this were even possible? I would get so much more shit done.

Take the Staples timed test here.

Via Iris Blasi on Twitter.

19 June 2012

"I found work in a dusty tomb of a book­store, doing data entry with cowork­ers who com­plained about their neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­ders, or who told me about the mag­i­cal crea­tures they saw on their way home, and who kept web­sites depict­ing them­selves as minotaurs."

-There's a lot to unpack in this sentence from Frank Bures' "The Fall of the Creative Class," about Richard Florida and the fallacy of picking a place based on external rankings of any kind. To summarize, Bures (a freelance writer) and his wife moved to Madison, Wisconsin, from Portland (OR), expecting to find a liberal oasis full of creative people they could connect with while they settled down to start a family. They didn't feel like they fit in, and then they moved to Minneapolis. His argument that this is Florida's fault for producing a faulty thesis, upon which he once placed undue weight, is a little shortsighted.

However, there is a larger truth to Bures' flight pattern in this piece, about the expectations that people bring to moves like this and even jobs like that. Clearly, by working at a bookstore Bures expected to meet kindred souls, and instead found the same weird people who work at any job. But this isn't a crazy expectation; it's the same one I have while leaving a bookstore and thinking "it must be so great to work here!" It's an idealization of a trade of ideas (in book form); for others, maybe the idea of owning a bookstore is the shining thing. On one hand we might say, "Well, Bures is lucky, at least there are still brick-and-mortar bookstores in Madison." But he didn't go there just because of those.

Same goes for Madison (a city I have never lived in, but has been very nice on my brief visits). Bures and his wife idealized the image of the "Creative Class" to the extent that they expected -- and I'm not blaming them here -- to burrow into it immediately on arrival. When that didn't happen, and their neighbors were not so friendly, and their jobs weren't so stirring, they withdrew from their new hometown and began to doubt. (I related to this, having gone through something similar for about six or seven months here in New York, but solved it in a different way.) The gap between the infrastructure of culture and the real people who live in it broadens at the point where Bures and his wife base their next move on "cheap hous­ing, jobs, fam­ily and friends," rather than points of public transit and the arts -- and even then, it's "not perfect," and after four years it has only "begun to feel like" a good match, but this is considered better.

It's not Madison's fault that Bures never found the "Creative Class" he was looking for, but neither is it Florida's, really. He may have misattributed the driver of the city's economic power, but in the end, the hard lesson is that the bookstore job is still a job, the search for community and like minds is still a search, and "creativity" is largely homegrown. If you aren't the type just to grow where you were planted, sometimes you have to refertilize the ground around you to make things come up.

Five authors to watch out for on Twitter

Last week I went to a reading cohosted by Jami Attenberg, an author I discovered solely because she's on Twitter. Because of that, I know she's been out of New York for five-ish months (photos of New Orleans, road trips, cute dogs) and if we're lucky she might read from her new book THE MIDDLESTEINS, out this fall, whose fast food-patterned cover bears a blurb from none other than Jonathan Franzen. Of course, Franzen famously hates Twitter, but in Attenberg's case he might make an exception.

From Attenberg's tweets, and her blog, I assembled a picture of a woman who was quiet and solemn and somewhat tall. This is why online impressions are dangerous, because at the reading I was acquainted with a happy, near-bubbly woman who read from her New Orleans travel journal and made me want to pack my bags right away. (Also, about average height, not that it matters.) Turns out that social-media first impressions can be just as dangerous as the other kinds.

Here are five other authors you should check out on Twitter, if you aren't already following them.

Meghan Daum (@Meghan_Daum): Apparently she's not going to answer my pleas to write a new book every year, but the author of MY MISSPENT YOUTH and the recent LIFE WOULD BE PERFECT IF I LIVED IN THAT HOUSE writes a regular column for the L.A. Times now, and tweets about her writing life ("Speaking tonight at my alma mater. Managed to get worst case of laryngitis in my life. Anxiety dreams can come true!") as well as pithy commentary on the viral human-interest story of the day (on Marina Keegan: "Death of young Yale grad indisputably tragic. Wondering how many others w/o NYer jobs lined up also died last wk that we haven't heard abt?") It was also on Twitter that I found out (via Sarah Weinman, newsbearer to the book world) that she just signed a deal for a new essay collection, UNSPEAKABLE. Maybe I'll get my wish after all.

Elif Batuman (@BananaKarenina): Come for the punny name, stay for the insights into Turkish culture ("Naming the one Turkish character on your TV show 'Kemal Pamuk' is like naming your only British character 'Sir Winston Shakespeare.'") and meta-jokes ("Twitter suggested I follow Dalai Lama - I considered it, but what if later I change my mind and unfollow him and he gets super-mad?")

Matthew Batt (@MattCBatt): This is my official debutante pick for the first-time memoirist whose book SUGARHOUSE, out this very week, chronicles the years when he and his wife bought an old crack house and planted their unsteady flag in it. His tweets are like a tiny window into a different life ("Nothing like a trip on a hot day to a public pool to make me feel like a complete patrician ass.") and while he's there to promote, he does so with whimsy ("Index of evildoers mentioned in SUGARHOUSE: Karl Rove; Idi Amin; Darth Vader (twice); my 8th grade shop teacher; Mr & Lady Macbeth.")

Andrew Shaffer (@AndrewTShaffer, also @EvilWylie, @EmperorFranzen): The busiest man on Twitter, the one who showed up to Franzen's first FREEDOM reading in New York City in an Emperor Palpatine-style cloak, was always working stealthily behind the curtain even as he quipped about the sad state of modern letters ("TELL ME you didn't just put a link to your Amazon book on my Facebook wall with the status "Indie Authors Rule!" delete block block block"). And if I take the time to read anyone's parody of FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY, it's going to be his, FIFTY SHAMES OF EARL GREY, for which I hear he was handing out branded tea bags at BookExpo America a few weeks ago.

Kate Christensen (@aquavita): Attenberg's cohost at the event I went to last week is new to my Twitter feed, a former Brooklynite who lives in Maine now (a place, like Batt's St. Paul, I can only imagine). Unlike her cohost as well as Batt and Shaffer, I had read Christensen's most recent book THE ASTRAL (and really liked it) before I was even aware that she was on Twitter. From the landscape, I look forward to her blog posts about cooking and advice on writing as she presses forward with the memoir she said last week she had to write.

For more recommendations: Social media for authors: Play now, get to work later

18 June 2012

New York City: September 23, save the date

The Brooklyn Book Festival 2012 announced its existence, and that there will be authors there (most of them not surprising because they've been around in previous editions, but still: exciting).

14 June 2012

Wallaceblogging: LA BROMA INFINITA

My Spanish was never good enough to be able to read this even at its peak, but I find this cover both unbearably creepy and strangely compelling, despite it having nothing to do with the book.

13 June 2012

How to know you are truly a book person

When you have to cross 3 boroughs to attend separate functions for a work event, and it will probably take you 2 hours on the subway... you're not stressed about the travel. You'll come prepared.

Take the Flavorwire 30 Before 30 Challenge, If You Dare

It's been at least 15 minutes since we've contended with one of those must-read lists, so let the games begin! Flavorwire just posted a "30 Books to Read Before You are 30" list, responding to a similar Divine Caroline piece. Conveniently, I still have a year and change to do something about these lists, so it's not too late to really make an impact. But should I bother?

Notes on the Flavorwire list:
  • 20.5 out of 30 isn't bad (the half-point is for reading THE ODYSSEY, but not THE ILIAD). 
  • Seeing somewhat of an emphasis on graphic novels between MAUS and GHOST WORLD.Two books out of thirty is significant -- not that I'm complaining,
  • It's a shame that the author had to point out that PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is important to read "even for guys." As if there's some kind of mythic Lady List out there. (No boys can like Jane Austen! Back in the clubhouse!)
  • I had no idea CAT'S CRADLE was Kurt Vonnegut's thesis. What an eternal badass.
  • The described "best book in the Western canon" is -- a stretch. 
  • All this said, I am surprised when I meet someone around my age who hasn't read 1984, THE SUN ALSO RISES, ON THE ROAD, THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, THE GREAT GATSBY, LORD OF THE FLIES, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and FAHRENHEIT 451. (There are certainly
And as for the Divine Caroline piece:
  • I did slightly worse on this - 18/30 - attributed to the works of classic nonfiction whose excerpts I didn't count as having read the whole book.
  • I had to look up FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS to figure out whether I had read it. Not an encouraging sign. (Although, once I did, I realized I had read it while I was in Spain and on a spree of "books about Spain.") 
  • THE MASTER AND MARGARITA was the book my old (as in previous) Russian teacher said was the essential volume of Russian lit. Take it as you will. (I still never got to it, because I was busy swooning over EUGENE ONEGIN because that's how I roll.)
  • But seriously: has anyone here actually read all of ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES? Elizabeth, this is your category to lose, I think!

12 June 2012

"Listen, I'm going to be honest here: half the books in my apartment (WALLFLOWER AT THE ORGY; I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK; anything Sloane Crosley has written; THE BRIEF AND WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO; the Old Testament) have names written in them that aren't mine."
-Jessie Malle at Nerve.com on the rewards and risks of lending books to lovers. Once I lent a guy MIDDLEMARCH after he heard me gushing about it, only to have him sheepishly return it some months later because he couldn't see himself actually reading it. I guess I could have been mad, but it's worked out pretty well so far.

11 June 2012

Important "Carrots." news

A Canadian production company is working on a new ANNE OF GREEN GABLES TV series. It won't be shooting till next summer, though, so if you happen to have a red-headed daughter with a flair for the dramatic...
(This is a blog about my childhood literary obsessions now that I've grown up, apparently. We owned the 1985 original series on VHS! It must have been 2 or even 3 tapes!)

08 June 2012

Important Madeleine L'Engle news

Your weekend, should you choose to accept it, is watching the 2002 Disney Channel original movie of "A Ring of Endless Light" starring Mischa Barton as Vicky Austin (no. no no no no no) and that dude from "Supernatural" as Zachery, a character I probably still have a crush on. Apparently in this version, there is no Leo (?!) and according to Wikipedia, Zachery is shown "involved in positive activities." Well, there goes that crush, am I right, people who cop to having crushes on fictional characters?

Nine installments on YouTube, starting here.

Old gossip

On Tuesday night I went to a lecture sponsored by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation about gay writers in Greenwich Village. The speaker, Christopher Bram, just wrote a collective biography of several gay writers including Truman Capote, Allen Ginsberg and James Baldwin, and he led us on a virtual walking tour of the Village by the places where these writers lived and socialized.

One of the sites he singled out was the bar where Gore Vidal and Jack Kerouac met before their maybe-one night stand uptown at the Chelsea Hotel. The confusion, as Bram explained, lies in the fact that Vidal wrote three different versions of that night - in his diary, in his memoir, and in fiction. And for his part, Kerouac told Allen Ginsberg one version (possibly to make Ginsberg jealous) and William S. Burroughs, Vidal's friend, another.

Writers are famous for their indiscretion in print, but maybe dating one of them is a way to maintain discretion. After all, only you know the real story. Seems like a way to cultivate the mystery without doing much work.

It was a great lecture and I'm looking forward to checking out EMINENT OUTLAWS, particularly for writers like James Baldwin who I didn't have much exposure to in my education. (Same with Vidal, actually; he seems to be one of the writers most referenced by the ones I read, that I haven't actually read.) The night ended with several men in the crowd volunteering their memories of the old Stonewall Inn, which for all its historic importance was apparently a little stuffy with a high cover charge for the neighborhood.

07 June 2012

Real Housewives of William Shakespeare

The Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN imagines Lady Macbeth, Titania, Goneril, Juliet and Gertrude all hanging out and talking trash about each other. So much more relevant than those other "Real" housewives.

"I don't even know what a ringlet is."

Onion News Network: Shadows Meet The Clouds, Gray On Gray, Like Dusty Charcoal On An Ashen Brow, Nation's Poets Report

Shadows Meet The Clouds, Gray On Gray, Like Dusty Charcoal On An Ashen Brow, Nation's Poets Report

06 June 2012

According to that one woman on YouTube, "the greatest scifi writer in history"

Ray Bradbury has died at 91. Favorite Bradbury work... go!

Filmbook-to-Be: "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" (2012)

The actor who plays Kevin from "We Need To Talk About Kevin" is in this movie and I spent the entire trailer waiting for him to get scary. (Spoiler alert, doesn't happen.)

05 June 2012

May Unbookening

No progress to see here.

Checked out 7 from library
Bought 3
Received 3 for review, 2 as gifts
15 in

Returned 7 to library
Donated 3
10 out

Now begins the summer of reading what I have around and not indiscriminately shopping for more. Must make shelf space!

04 June 2012

On Oprah and parting being all we need of hell

Oprah is the Jay-Z of book clubs. She can't leave books alone, but also, the game needs her. The first Oprah's Book Club "ending" was in 2002, after the Franzen kerfuffle (aw, remember?) After that, Winfrey publicly chose to focus on "classics" -- the second close, in 2010, with Charles Dickens, who would not have turned down an Oprah appearance had he been alive at the appropriate time. And now we're back in 2012, with Friday's announcement that the book club will return with Cheryl Strayed's memoir WILD. It's being pitched as "2.0," with Facebook and Twitter avenues through which Oprah fans can discuss the book, but there are many similarities: Strayed and Winfrey will now make webisodes, but their above-the-fold interview will air July 22 across every outlet Oprah has available, which is a lot.

The question is, why even go through the formality of ending the club in the first place? Even her critics can probably agree that Winfrey could do whatever the hell she wants at this point (except have the #1 cable network in the country, but that is outside scope for now). She could feature books whenever without any kind of commitment to her audience, and while some momentum would be lost, it wouldn't really be a big deal. Instead, her reading efforts follow the same two-steps-forward-one-step-back progression of her health initiatives, as if between the book clubs Winfrey doesn't read at all (highly unlikely in my view, but I have no insider info).

On the other hand, Winfrey sells a lot of books, and you have to be pretty short-sighted to see that as a bad thing. During the previous book-club "endings" there were varying amounts of hand-wringing over what her programming choices would "mean," a little unnecessary given the big implication. Her selection of WILD will undoubtedly take the already successful memoir to EAT, PRAY, LOVE levels, and the book, from what I know about it, echoes a lot of the themes of early book-club selections, only in nonfictional form. Female protagonist on an improbable journey? Check. Death, abuse and unluckiness clouding the way? Check. Uplifting spin on a life-changing moment? Check, I think (the many of you who have read it, feel free to weigh in).

By chance, I picked up my library-reserve copy of WILD on Friday, just hours before the news hit. I've been waiting since March to get it. I would have read it anyway, thanks to the somewhat unusual circumstances surrounding the author and her formerly anonymous advice column, the revelation of which happened appropriately close to the memoir's release. (I don't like Dear Sugar, the column on The Rumpus that Cheryl Strayed writes, but had heard hype about the memoir before Strayed was revealed as "Sugar" and think the whole thing was very well handled.) I'll probably read it differently knowing that thousands will be seeking it out just for the endorsement, but that's my burden, not hers. Over at Knopf they're opening the champagne, and it is good.
Michael Chabon's essay collection MAPS AND LEGENDS is $1.99 on Kindle today.

02 June 2012

NYC: Two great book-related events tomorrow

In SoHo, Housing Works Bookstore is having its semiannual Open Air Street Fair from 10 to 4 at Houston and Crosby. As if the lure of $1 books isn't enough, I hear the Coolhaus build-your-own ice cream sandwich truck will be there.

And in Brooklyn, speaking of birthday boy Walt Whitman, there's a public reading of "Song Of Myself" at Brooklyn Bridge Park from 3 to 5:30.

01 June 2012

This week, in spectacular cover design: Rob Grom (SMP)

THE LEFTOVERS, hardcover:
THE LEFTOVERS, paperback:

It's clever, it's evocative, and the match is perfect.
Appropriately summery: Listen to Allegra Goodman reading John Updike's short-story classic "A&P."