Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

The Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe hosts some really kick ass events. Last week my wife and I went to see writer extraordinaire Neil Gaiman and musician Amanda Palmer read/perform together. Neil, ehem, Mr. Gaiman read a new, yet to be published, short story. Amanda performed vigorously and stared lovingly at Neil as he read. I snapped a few photos, enjoy.



housing works

Neil Gaiman talk at Cooper Union this weekend

As part of the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature’s Afternoon with International Graphic Novelists, Neil Gaiman will be giving a talk this weekend at Cooper Union. The talk will focus on the work he has done with graphic novels, including Coraline, which was recently adapted into a movie (an awesome movie, I might add).

As someone who enjoyed Gaiman’s Sandman comics/graphic novels so much that I got a tattoo of one of his characters, I’m bummed that I’ll have to miss this. Everyone I know who has attended his talks has enjoyed them immensely.

The talk is Saturday, May 2, at 1 PM at the Great Hall at Cooper Union, 7 E. 7th Street. Tickets are available for $10, or you can get tickets for all three graphic novelist talks for a discounted rate of $25. You can’t buy them online anymore, but tickets are still available by calling 212.868.4444.

Neil Gaiman has given several other talks this week – anyone who attended, please let us know what you thought!

McNally Jackson Bookstore

I just got back from McNally Jackson – an independent bookstore – located in Nolita. It was packed with people talking, browsing and having food at the cafe within the store.

The store is not too big, but it’s set up in a way that captivates your attention immediately. So after 30 minutes of being there, I had yet to go over to the cafe or notice that they have a downstairs.

I left those 2 out of my experience this time around as their collection of graphic novels and books on design/architecture and various other things kept me occupied.

I was surprised I hadn’t noticed the place after being through Nolita several times. Not since Coliseum Books have I really loved a bookstore so hard in New York City.

Definitely going again and checking out the downstairs.

RIP Norman Mailer

died of acute renal failure on Nov 10 in NYC. He’s one of my favorite American writers and for those who are not familiar with him he’s one of a bunch who coined the term “creative nonfiction” (aka New Journalism) and he is the author of books, such as The Naked and The Dead, Why are we in Vietnam?, An American Dream or the recent The Castle In The Forrest.

Norman Mailer was born and raised in Brooklyn. He studied engineering at Havard but soon decided to become a writer instead. As a notorius macho, he drank, smoked pot and liked to get into fights. He saw himself as a rather rough man of letters and enjoyed life to the fullest. He was 84 years old.

Harry Potter Madness


Photo of my copy!

No spoilers here.

I took part in the madness that was the release of the 7th Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I have been to every Midnight Madness Harry Potter book release since Goblet of Fire. This one by far outdid them all.

I went with my by biggest Harry Potter fan friend. We meant to the night off at a street fair In Soho, but when we arrived, there was a huge line just to get in. We decided to skip it and go right to the B & N in Union Square, where we had reserved copies. Starting from 5:00, they had events such as face-painting, wand-making, owl petting, and a rather unimpressive magic show. I was surrounded by Harrys and Dumbledores, as well as some more original costumes. After a while, we decided to head out for a quick drink and some theorizing.


Continue for costume photos and Harry Potter geek theories..

Scholastic invites muggles to Harry Potter Place.


So bookstores all over the country (world, probably) are doing big Harry Potter bashes when the next (and final) book comes out later this month. But it looks like the Potter fanatics here in NYC, in addition to countless midnight bookstore promotions, will have quite the chance to immerse themselves in Harry Potter mania.

On June 20, Scholastic (the US publisher of the Harry Potter books) will open “Harry Potter Place” on Mercer Street between Prince and Spring. All sorts of stuff will be going on (including a replica of the Knight Bus, which makes a number of appearances in the books) that you can read about here.

I imagine it’ll be pretty crowded, and as I’m not really a disciple I’ll probably avoid “Harry Potter Place” like the plague. However, I’ll be curious to hear all about it. Any big Potterphiles out there who plan to make the trek?

The Writer’s Song: A Conversation with Norman Mailer


Last night Norman Mailer spoke to a packed audience at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. In his only New York appearance to promote his new book, The Castle in the Forest, a novel that explores the childhood of the epitome of evil, Adolf Hitler, and Mailer’s first major work of fiction in 10 years, he talked about his career, his politics, and of course his writing.

Mailer was born in 1923 in Long Branch, NJ and grew up in Brooklyn. He went to Harvard, fought in World War II, and has been married six times – six! He’s written numerous books, both fiction and nonfiction, of which The Executioner’s Song is most well-known to this blogger, primarily because of the Tommy Lee Jones movie.

Interviewed by New York Times book editor, Sam Tanenhaus, Mailer talked on a range of subjects. Rather than try to summarize the whole evening, here are some highlights.

Graffiti New York


Sometimes I can’t stop seeing graffiti, and I mean the good kind, not just tags over and over, but something that looked like it took effort and had some vision. Some see graffiti as defacement. I see it as enhancement, if done in the right way.

On my train ride from the city to my homestead in New Jersey, we pass under a bridge outside of Newark. The abutment is alternatively covered in elaborate graffiti and painted over in plain white. A battle of the spray and paint can wills. Why not leave the graffiti? It’s more interesting to look at, especially on a long and boring ride through the swamps of Secaucus.

If you’re like me – and you’re still strapped for a gift – you might like this book, Burning New York, Graffiti NYC. To tell the truth, I haven’t had a chance to look at it since it’s been sold out in every book store I’ve looked in so far. But I attended a panel discussion earlier this month during which the authors and a few of the featured artists talked about graffiti, how they got started, how it’s evolved over the years, and how any street art, even licensed murals, is still seen as criminal.

Criminal? Nah. Free? Definitely, and in more than one way.

[Photo courtesy of me. Mosaic made with fd’s flickr toys.]

Marisha Pessl at Strand tonight author Marisha Pessl will be peddling her NYTimes top 10 book of the year, Special Topics in Calamity Physics at
Strand Bookstore tonight. I won’t be able to make it even though I’ve longed for something like this for a while. Besides J.K. Rowling who is also quite hot, I don’t recall the last time I’ve been so infatuated by an author. Now I’ll have to get reading on her novel.

Marisha’s publicists and publishers both say that they would have promoted her best selling book The Calamity of Physics even if the author wasn’t gorgeous.


Event info:
Strand Books
828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
at 12th St.

7 pm

Photo Courtesy:

Independent & Small Press Book Fair, Dec 2 & 3


This weekend is the Small Press Center’s 19th Annual Independent and Small Press Book Fair. The event is free though a $1 donation is suggested.

More than 100 indie presses will be on hand displaying their wares. As well, there will be events throughout each day, 11 to 5 on Saturday, and 12 to 5 on Sunday, including:

readings from small press authors

interviews with authors Michael Cunningham (The Hours) and Amira Baraka, among others

panel discussions on such topics as Chick Lit: More than just Bridget and Blahniks; The Rise of the Progressive Blogosphere; Stealing the Vote: Was the 2004 Election Stolen?; and Burning New York: Exposing the Subculture of Graffiti, among many others

Click here for more details.

To kick things off, tonight there’ll be a “pre-book fair fiesta” from 8 to 11, at KGB Bar on 85 E. 4th Street and 2nd Ave. Before the party, authors Joe Meno and Peter Plate will be reading at the Barnes & Noble at Astor Place at 7.

Yours truly will be on hand as a volunteer, though what sort of volunteer work I’ll be doing I’m not quite sure. Hopefully I’ll be allowed to yank the mike out of the hands of audience members asking dumb ass questions. One can dream.

Joe Meno/Peter Plate reading || Tonight, 7 PM || B&N Astor Place || FREE
Pre-Book Fair Fiesta || Tonight, 8 PM to 11 PM || KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St., @ 2nd Ave || FREE
Book Fair || Sat 12/2, 11 AM to 6 PM & Sun 12/3, 12 PM to 5 PM || Small Press Center, 20 W. 44th St. (betw’n 5th & 6th) || FREE ($1 suggested donation)

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