Joshua Ferris Reads To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

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Friday, May 16th, 2014 | 2,607 views

Joshua Ferris reads from his new novel about dentists, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

Joshua Ferris read from his latest novel To Rise Again at a Decent Hour at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn. The novel explores the life of a dentist obsessing over his online doppelgänger through the neurotic voice of the protagonist. Ferris has a knack for portraying characters in otherwise bland occupations. His debut novel, Then We Came to the End (2007) chronicles the final days of an ad agency while The Unnamed (2010) features an overworked lawyer.

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Julia Fierro Reads Debut Novel Cutting Teeth

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Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 | 3,099 views

Julia Fierro reads from Cutting Teeth at BookCourt

Julia Fierro launched her debut novel Cutting Teeth to a full house at Brooklyn’s BookCourt bookstore. Fierro, as the founder of Sackett Street Writer’s Workshop, has influenced the lives of more than 2,000 Brooklyn writers, many of whom had crammed into the store. Her husband, Justin Feinstein introduced her.

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Roxane Gay and Sari Botton Discuss Gay’s An Untamed State

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Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 | 4,133 views

Tobias Caroll introduces Roxane Gay at Community Bookstore

Roxane Gay’s debut novel, An Untamed State (May 2014) has garnered widespread praise. Essays editor at The Rumpus and a publisher/editor of [PANK], Gay is a prolific author with an essay collection on feminism due in August and a memoir relating to hunger and body image in 2016. Volume 1 Brooklyn hosted Gay at Community Bookstore to discuss her new novel with The Rumpus columnist Sari Botton.

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Jaime Clarke reads Vernon Downs with Charles Bock

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Thursday, May 1st, 2014 | 2,383 views

Jaime Clarke and Charles Bock discussing Vernon Downs at the Center for Fiction in Manhattan

Thirteen years after his debut, We’re So Famous (2001), Jaime Clarke has a new novel. Vernon Downs draws inspiration from Clarke’s own life as a twenty-something living in New York City. Then, Clarke belonged to an entourage of young writers that Bret Easton Ellis fostered, and the title character shares many similarities. Clarke was joined by his friend Charles Bock to discuss the book at the Center for Fiction. Bock is the author of Beautiful Children (2008), a novel set in Las Vegas tracing two parallel narratives that stem from the disappearance of a twelve-year-old boy.

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Nikil Saval reads Cubed with Chad Harbach

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Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 | 2,233 views

Nikil Saval reads from his new book Cubed with Chad Harbach

Over the last century, labor has shifted away from a manual as a dominant form towards clerical office work. Nikil Saval’s book, Cubed, traces the history of this evolution and explores the limits of the office as a place for work. He celebrated the launch of the book at Powerhouse Arena with Chad Harbach, editor of the journal n+1 and author of The Art of Fielding (2011).

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Cara Hoffman, Helen Benedict, and Katey Schultz Talk War Stories

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Friday, April 25th, 2014 | 2,539 views

Cara Hoffman, Helen Benedict, and Katey Schultz Talk War Stories at Word in Brooklyn

Traditional war stories have long featured male protagonists by default. But modern war has meant female soldiers serving alongside their male counterparts. Brooklyn’s WORD Bookstore brought together three authors to talk about their war story books books featuring female soldiers. Cara Hoffman’s new novel, Be Safe I Love you (April 2014) explores the family life of a returning war veteran readjusting. Katey Schultz’s collection Flashes of War (2013) contains a mix of flash fiction and short stories. Helen Benedict has spent several years interviewing soldiers and victims of war resulting in a play, a non-fiction book, and a trilogy. She read from Sand Queen (2011), a novel of two opposing narratives, one an Iraqi medical student caught in a war prison and the other a soldier prison guard.

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A Case for Comedy

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Monday, April 21st, 2014 | 3,206 views

An art form that correlates well with poetry is standup comedy. Such connections are not often made in classrooms or seen on TV classrooms. In my courses, I reference movies or shows in order to connect the more “popular” examples to assigned short stories. Such comparisons are obvious and in no way novel since all of these forms use character and plot. When teaching poetry, many instructors typically compare poetic verse to song lyrics, and I do this, too. Who can’t think of at least one example of the English teacher rapping Shakespeare? (I do not do this). Although this comparison works on many levels, music still, well, uses music: a creation of melodies through instruments, whereas poetry only relies on its words to create tone, cadence, and rhythm—no other sounds accompany it. Thus, the art of standup translates more easily to poetry.

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Second Downtown Literary Festival: A Collective (Abbreviated) Review

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Thursday, April 17th, 2014 | 3,077 views

Tobias Carroll hosts The Greatest 3-Minute Bad Apartment Stories at Housing Works Bookstore Café

At a time when the independent bookstore has been under scrutiny—Julie Bosman of The New York Times, most notably, investigated whether the burgeoning rent costs would drive sellers out of Manhattan—McNally Jackson Books and Housing Works joined together to host the Second Annual Downtown Literary Festival on Sunday, April 13th. Though there were moments when the young age of the festival showed a bit (some events were simply more organized and better prepared than others), the joint McNally Jackson and Housing Works production succeeded in displaying the vibrant literary culture that still exists around Houston Street, adding, in its own way, to the recent trend of criticism and analyses that has centered on Manhattan as the “Writer Mecca” of the United States.

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