Spotlight on DLF Events - The Recital: The City
This Sunday is the inaugural Downtown Literary Festival hosted by Housing Works and our neighbors McNally Jackson. Check out this page from now until then for previews of some of the exciting events!
12:30pm @ HWBC: Maris Kreizman and Rachel Syme host the second edition of their series The Recital, which harkens to the one room schoolhouse days when people used to memorize texts for school. This time the theme is “The City,” and Simon Van Booy, Justin Taylor, Rosie Schaap, Adam Rathe, Jenn Northington, Eric Nelson, and Ryan Chapman each will recite a text they know by heart.
Check out the first episode of our podcast for a clip from February’s Recital of Rachel Fershleiser reciting the opening of Judy Blume’s Forever. Rachel’s clip starts around 3:30.
Laura (who works with HarperBooks) and Danny first met at an event/reading that Justin Taylor did for Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever. They went on to date for a few years, and then last weekend Danny proposed! He got Laura’s grandmother’s ring from Laura’s dad, hid it in their well-loved copy of the book that started it all, and surprised her on Saturday morning. Sometimes “Hey, I marked a passage that I think you should read,” turns into “Will you marry me?” and I just can’t stand it.
The best part is obviously the proposal (books! literally bringing people together!) but the second best part is Laura telling this story to Justin’s editor down the hall. Of course you always think that a book is going to change someone’s life, but rarely does your book actually introduce your coworker to her future husband and hide the engagement ring!
HOUSING WORKS BOOKMARK! OF LOVE!
Anonymous asked: do you have any recommendations for fiction literature that involves subcultures like Our Lady of the Flowers or Dream Story. or even any fiction that involves cults like Rosemary's Baby? thank you!
Fiction about cults; I can’t help but send you to Justin Taylor’s The Gospel of Anarchy, with admitted bias (the author is currently in our living room) but no less confidence.
icecreamkenny asked: So my friend loves Waiting for Godot. He wants more screenplays like such. Any ideas?
Oh gosh, screenplays, I don’t know, I’m sorry… but in this Bookforum essay, “Woes Make the Man,” Justin Taylor compares one of my favorite discoveries of the past couple years, Donald Antrim, to Samuel Beckett, so maybe a stack of Antrim’s three (brilliant, I love all of them) novels would be a cool, unexpected gift?
"A well-groomed beard is paramount, believes Gregory who when he meets new people says “Please, call me Greg” but doesn’t mean it. The full name is what he likes, its fine whiff of archaism, bouquet of saints and England, popes and Greece; the two “g” sounds granting clangorous passage toward the open and humming “ory” with its quick high finish like young wine or the inflatable slide you ride to escape from the burning plane. But nobody calls him Gregory except his mother, and he rarely calls her at all."
"At the same time, it would be a hopeless world if nobody was able to learn from their mistakes. I have to believe that everyone is capable of changing, but I don’t necessarily think it follows that all change is the result of self-awareness or direct engagement with one’s past. Sometimes the world conspires to offer you opportunities you don’t necessarily deserve, or to make you better than you’d planned to become."
Housing Works Bookstore regular Justin Taylor has a new short story (ABSTRACT: Short story about a man leaving his girlfriend.) in today’s New Yorker. Pick one up!
"She’s the “Girls Gone Wild Girl”—a caricature, a type of girl everybody knew in college, and dismissed, most likely as being nothing more than a character, if you will. No one cares what a girl like Bender has to say—in fact when I heard her voice in my head, I wrote her off as a joke. Until I realized what a hypocrite I was being. […] I chose not to tell the end of the Bender’s story. I wanted her to disappear. Because that is what happens in the lives of girls like Belinda, they exist for us in a time and place in our past. Perhaps the vanishing is of their own making, they want to distance themselves from the person they once were, and that time in their life. Perhaps they simply moved on. I know what happened to her, but the reader doesn’t."
Blueprints for Building Better Girls is now in paperback. Read this whole interview, go buy it, read it. It’s great.
"What they [the three novels] share is a group of crucial tropes: communities—civic, familial, professional—on the verge of collapse; masculinity in crisis, or rather, as crisis; the violence inherent in the everyday; a profound fear of having children (because in a world where all of the above is a given, any prospective act of creation can only appear terrifying and obscene); and, last but not least, a wild, pervasive black comedy that allows you to believe—for a while—that you’re reading absurdist farces rather than existential tragedies."
Justin Taylor, “Woes Make the Man”, a review of the Picador reissues of Donald Antrim’s three novels (woes make the man - bookforum.com / current issue)
The campaign to make you read Donald Antrim continues.
"Writing a place I know—the neighborhood where I grew up, for example—allows me to save my writerly energy for other things. The confidence that comes from authenticity doesn’t hurt either. But with a story like “Flings” (or, from my first book, “Tennessee”) the place is almost another character. It creates a unique set of circumstances that shapes how the characters act and therefore how the story develops."
"My poetry novel and then my sci-fi apocalypse trilogy—or should I switch the order? It’d be nice if they could somehow be the same project: a future-primitive world where poets are the only ones who can fight off the nuclear werewolves that plague our mud hut villages—or where the nuclear werewolves are all poets, and civilization’s last hope is to rediscover the printing press and placate the werewolf-poets by publishing their chapbooks."
Justin Taylor, Eight Questions for Justin Taylor | Prairie Schooner
Pick up a Prarie Schooner and read “Flings”, brand-new, Portland-set, and really great Justin Taylor story.
Stuff We like
“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”
This Week's Readings
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