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August 11th, 2013

Is Chris Roberts an Obstinate Troll or Literary Muckraker?


Chris Roberts, when at rest and not tweeting.

Chris Roberts — Brooklyn short story writer nominated for the Pushcart Prize and author of Kindle SingleHazy Shade of Winter” — considers himself the literary world’s most ruthless critic and relentless muckraker of a padded, self-protective industry largely impervious to new and emerging writers lacking connections or arbitrary praise. But to others, he’s simply a nasty, mean-spirited troll — though he vehemently disputes the title. He recently sat down with fellow aspiring, frustrated, and unpublished writer Matthew Taub, of Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, for a few questions.

MAT: You’ve been been described as “the king of the one-star review” (for the long list of books others praised but which you’ve canned), a “mangler of English” (for your unsolicited, expletive-laden diatribes on social media), and more innocuously (but by no means less sympathetically), as an “aggressive suitor”  when seeking to have your own work accepted or promoted. How do these descriptions sit with you? Are you misunderstood? Should others should view you more kindly?

CR: It would be easy to say I am misunderstood and that is why I am not. I only really seek a reaction from my writings. Even then I make it a point not to respond to one-star reviews, it is bad form, old-fashioned or not. I find most people to be inconsequential and do not care what they think, I am truly my own man. I would rather spend time with a meth head, who is naturally inclined with more insight than ten Faulkners. And yes, I know Mr. American South is dead, it is an illustration.

MAT: You have some published articles from several years ago (in 3:AM Magazine, e.g.) that critically lampoon The New Yorker and others as sort of a self-protective, repetitive promotion for those already in the literary stratosphere. This criticism still resonates today. For example, I read a lovely piece by Zadie Smith in the New Yorker in February, but here she is again this week, with yet another work of short fiction, while new or emerging writers essentially don’t have a chance (as your 3:AM article describes). But is this really “collusion,” as you insist, or simply shortsightedness? And what, if anything, should the literary big wigs do differently to cultivate new talent?

CR: Short-sighted invariably and to the detriment more for “The New Yorker” than its readership. The leadership must groan when they have to run one more story from a Franzen or others who style their work via redundancy. I can easily say that most at the New Yorker are suffering from depression, the sameness clouding their eyes. How can you not laugh at their plight?

Read the rest of this entry »

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October 27th, 2009

Wed: Mixed Genres & Mixed Drinks With Electric Literature No. 2

What is Electric Literature?

It's a new lit magazine spearheaded by editors Andy Hunger and Scott Lindenbaum (of Community Bookstore fame).

In Electric Literature's Autumn 2009 anthology, Colson Whitehead charts
the rise to fame of a truth-telling comedian. Stephen O’Connor
transports the reader to a cabin in the woods, where a young woman attempting
to finish her dissertation in solitude becomes increasingly convinced
she’s not alone. Pasha Malla follows a young writer as he explores how
tragedy influences art—and how life falls short of it. Marisa Silver
tells the tale of three sisters who perceive the truth about their
parents through the eyes of some unexpected visitors, and Lydia Davis’
solitary narrator acutely details the behavior of three cows who live
in a pasture just across the road. They're sick and tired of hearing that literary fiction is doomed.

These visionary guys are throwing a launch party for Electric Literature No. 2 on Wednesday October 28th. The party begins at 7 PM with free martinis (until 8 PM) and a movie.

A night of mixed genres, mixed drinks, and mixed messages to celebrate the release of Electric Literature No. 2 featuring…

9:30 PM- NEW OPTIMISM featuring Miho Hatori, former vocalist of Cibo Matto, aka “Noodle” of Gorrilaz, Collaborator of Handsome Boy Modelling School, John Zorn, Blackalicious and The 6ths.

8:30 PM- Authors: MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Hours, and author of A Home At the End of the World, and Specimen Days

and JIM SHEPARD, author of six novels, including Project X, and three story collections, including Love and Hydrogen and Like You'd Understand, Anyway, which was nominated for the National Book Award and won The Story Prize.

7:30 PM- The films of MARTHA COLBURN with live musical accompaniment by MUDANG ROUGE

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October 27th, 2009

Brooklyn Writers Space Presents: The Reader



Wanna find out what's been going on at the Brooklyn Writers Space, a shared writing space for established
and emerging writers
located n Park Slope at 58 Garfield Place, offers a professional, respectful, and warm
environment for writers? 

THE READER is a collection of voices and
characters including gangsters, painters, weirdos, sad sacks,
wanderers, musicians, activists, sexual healers, angels, stoners,
hammer-wielding madmen, separated twins, and Glenn Gould written by the writers of the Brooklyn Writers Space.

THE READER includes novel
excerpts, stories, plays, and screenplays all by the unique writer’s
community at the Brooklyn Writers Space.

So that's what's been going in the writer's space with partitioned desks, a wall of windows and a skylight, a
lounge/kitchen area, two bathrooms  and a private roof deck.

And that's not all there's a book launch and party for The Reader, a Brooklyn Writers Space Reading Series Anthology.

Thursday, November 5TH @ 7:00pm

163 Court Street

(Between Dean and Bergen)

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October 24th, 2009

“Bravura 8th Novel” From Jonathan Lethem

First he was trashed by the NY Times chief book reviewer, Michiko Kakutani for Chronic City, his latest. But that was then. Now he's being hailed Gregory Cowles in Sunday's New York Times' Book Review for his "bravura 8th novel." All hail Brooklyn's great Lethem!

"By now, Jonathan Lethem is so identified with his native Brooklyn that when he chose Los Angeles as the setting for his last novel — the modest “You Don’t Love Me Yet,” in 2007 — it felt like a vacation or a willful act of misdirection. In fact, though, Lethem’s reputation as a hometown booster rests on the strength of just two books, “Motherless Brooklyn” and “The Fortress of Solitude,” each of which applied a cartographer’s loving attention to the borough. But in four earlier novels and two story collections, Lethem has traipsed all over creation, from Wyoming to the San Francisco Bay Area to the distant Planet of the Archbuilders. Now, in his bravura eighth novel, “Chronic City,” he visits what may be his strangest destination yet: the Upper East Side of Manhattan."

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October 24th, 2009

Park Slope Novelist in the Guardian, The Linewaiter’s Gazette

The Linewaiter's Gazette , the bi-weekly publication of the Park Slope Food Coop, has a nice profile of Amy Sohn, author of the recently published satiric novel about Park Slope, "Prospect Park West." 

And in the Guardian, Sohn pens her own article about Park Slope and writing a satiric novel about where you live:

"I hate it because there are too many pushy people – parents oblivious
to their badly behaved children; crazy dog people; militant vegans."  But she loves the child-friendly restaurants

"I began to see the risks of skewering a neighbourhood of loyalists:
they don't realise you can love and hate a place at the same time."

"I don't want to move – we haven't started that great school hunt yet,
but the main reason is there'll never be any place else quite as much
fun to satirise."

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October 14th, 2009

New Lethem Slammed By New York Times: Will Read It Anyway

Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times really didn't much like Jonathan Lethem's new book, Chronic City. I loved Lethem's Fortress of Solitude (and so did Kakutani), Lethem's opus about growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970's. So I have every intention of reading Chronic City even if it is about Manhattan. First I have to  finish Middlemarch and Big Machine by Victor LaValle.

…Mr. Lethem’s Chronic City seems like an insipid, cartoon
version of Manhattan: recognizable in outline (with snooty Upper East
Side dinner parties, a wealthy businessman turned mayor and all manner
of eccentric artists and has-beens, socialites and socialists), but
garnished with odd details (snow in the summertime, a tiger roaming the
streets, an apartment building for dogs) that feel more like whimsical
embroiderings than genuinely interesting or illuminating inventions
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September 6th, 2009

Read My “Review” of Amy Sohn’s “Prospect Park West” in The Brooklyn Paper

Here's my review/think piece on Amy Sohn's new novel, Prospect Park West in this week's Brooklyn Paper.

Another Slope Swipe From Amy Sohn

So, can Park Slopers take a joke?


And that’s the problem with “Prospect Park West,” Amy Sohn’s just
released satiric fiction about four clichés, er, mothers, whose lives
go into freefall during a long, hot summer in Park Slope.

The characters in the book are so busy being Gawker archetypes —
celebrity mom, sexy bad mom, former lesbian mom, frumpy supermom — that
they never take the time to laugh at themselves or make real
connections with each other.

And Park Slope is about making connections. You can’t step off your
stoop without having a conversation with a neighbor, a friend, a local
politician or a stranger.

Sohn, who used to pen a racy — and notorious — sex column in the NY
Press, also wrote for the NY Post where she once famously ogled the
penis sizes of various local baseball players. As the de-facto anti-Mom
of Park Slope, she aroused plenty of ire in her New York Magazine
“Mating” column when she wrote:

“Here in my neighborhood, Park Slope, I am constantly encountering
insane stay-at-home moms. And I have come to the all-too-un-PC
conclusion that stay-at-home motherhood, despite the way our culture
lionizes it, is bad for the child and bad for the mom. And bad for
society. It’s just plain bad.”

Sohn went on to say that most of the SAHMs she knows are really
miserable in a “neurotic, soul crippling, Zoloft-inducing, Yellow
Wallpaper-type way.” She also said that they have no opinions and spend
their time “talking about poop and pancakes with kale and Veggie Bootie
and natural Cheerios versus regular ones.” Nice.

Most shockingly Sohn recommended that college-educated women outsource their childcare:

“Childcare should be the province of immigrant women trying to get a
leg up. I do not believe it is ‘better for the child’ to be with his
mother. I believe it is better for the child to have a mother with some
modicum of a life — whether it’s volunteering, graduate degree, or
part-time work.”

So it should come as no surprise that Sohn’s fictional characters
are so similar to her public persona, isolated and angry and defining
themselves by choices they make about their clothing, their marriages,
their parenting styles and their careers.

It’s Park Slope as seen from a blog, not a stoop. And it feels like
a sexist war zone where what you wear to shop at Met Food or which
stroller you buy is referendum on your worth as a human being.

While the novel is full of jokes at the expense of Park Slope moms,
who are savaged by Sohn for being fat, ugly and uninteresting, the book
rarely shows anyone having fun or being self-aware.

And speaking of self-awareness, there actually is a culture of self-criticism
and satire within Park Slope that is alive and well — and completely
left out of Sohn’s book. How convenient.

What about Edgy Mother’s Day, an annual literary reading featuring
local authors like Mary Morris, Sophia Romero, Jenny Offili, Jill
Eisenstadt and, yes, Amy Sohn reading stories about motherhood without

How about satiric bloggers like Blog Nigger and F—ked in Park Slope, the blog with the motto, “Embrace the hate”?

People in Park Slope do, in fact, laugh at themselves and think it’s
ridiculous that strollers cost $700. They actually make fun of the Tea
Lounge, the Food Co-op and all the other people, places and things
mentioned in the book. When the novel works well, it does so because
Sohn grounds it in an up-to-date Park Slope landscape.

But what about the places and activities that Sohn doesn’t mention —
places that really make Park Slope tick — like the Community Bookstore,
Old First Church and Snice; the various book, running, bike and writing
groups; the community board, Civic Council and political clubs; cool
musical venues like Barbes and Issue Project Room; and essential local
landmarks like the Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Museum?

Amy Sohn’s “Prospect Park West” isn’t the eastern strip of the real
Park Slope because her characters lack a sense of humor about
themselves and a meaningful connection to their community.

Which isn’t to say that there’s not a lot to satirize about this neighborhood.

Plenty of us are annoyingly obsessed with real estate and celebrity culture.

Many of us watch the sex go out of our marriages as we devote
ourselves too vigorously to our children, our jobs and the logistics of
our daily lives.

Some of us exhibit strange — and exasperating — parenting habits,
like talking incessantly to our children or letting them sleep in our
beds until they’re 5.

Yes, Sohn does a good job of satirizing the Food Co-op, a certain
strata of frumpy mom, and even the fishbowl culture of Park Slope that
sometimes resembles a very small town.

She uses the Park Slope Parents Web site as a great narrative device
when Lizzie discovers a post about a couple looking for neighborhood
swingers — an actual post from a few years back. In the book, the
response on the list-serv is pretty Puritanical, though, in reality,
members had a lot of fun with it.

I also appreciate that Sohn puts to bed the sexist notion that
sexless marriages are always a woman’s fault. Probably the biggest
insight in the book is that men, after fatherhood, become less
interested in sex. And it’s not because their wives are a turnoff — but
because the pressures they face at work and home are a buzz kill.

“Rebecca saw what she’d been doing wrong all the time: She had been
trying to go through the front door when he wanted to be approached
from the side. He needed to be approached through the door marked
‘Father’ because the one marked ‘Husband’ was locked.”

But there are also lines in the book that really cross the line,
like the one about “adoption being the ultimate form of recycling.”

And while there aren't a lot of Park Slope mommies who dress like Angelina Jolie when they go to the playground, the women around here are as beautiful as anyplace else. I am, in fact, astounded at how many beautiful mothers there are in Park Slope. (note: this graph was left out of the article int he BP).

The real-life Park Slope just isn’t so mean spirited—and ugly—as Sohn’s.

Where’s the warmth and community spirit of moms like Susan Fox and
Rachel Mauer, who run Park Slope Parents and Kim Maier, executive
director of the Old Stone House?

How about dedicated community leaders like PS 321’s principal Liz
Phillips, Bobby Finkelstein, who runs the after-school program at Beth
Elohim and Nancy Romer, organizer of the Brooklyn Food Conference?

Or glamorous moms like author Elissa Schappell, who writes the Hot
Type column for Vanity Fair; Suzanne Donaldson, photo editor of Glamour
Magazine and Kathy Malone, founder of the Brooklyn Indie Market.

This Prospect Park West is made up of really interesting women, with a wide range of interests, passions and styles.

But the other “Prospect Park West” is too busy wanting to be the hit
show, “Sexless and the City” or “Actually Very Desperate Housewives”
rather than be a true mirror on a neighborhood that is still dying for
a real fictive takedown.

In “Prospect Park West,” the characters are at each other’s throats
and are only looking out for number one. In other words, they lack a
connection to community and the sense of how they affect the world
around them.

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August 26th, 2009

I Finished Amy Sohn’s Prospect Park West

Sohn_Amy I read the entire 379 pages of Prospect Park West, Amy Sohn's roman a clef about Park Slope moms, yesterday by the pool in California.

It's a quick read that's for sure. Especially if you're intimately acquainted with all the people and places Sohn satirizes in the book.

Is it insulting to Park Slope moms? You bet.

Is it mean spirited?  You bet. At times gratuitously so. I lost count of the number of times she referred to the woman of Park Slope as fat, ugly and uninteresting. 

Is the book insulting to Jennifer Connelly? Not really. Sohn
takes major poetic license with the character I thought was based on
Jennifer Connelly. Melora Leigh is definitely not the smart, talented, Brooklyn-born Connelly at all. Sure there are some bits of Jennifer's bio in
there (yes, she is married to a handsome, tall Austrailian actor and she lived in a PPW mansion, etc) but
maybe Simon and Schuster's lawyer scared Sohn and her editors into
making up the character out of whole cloth. Hey, Sohn had to use her

Is it truthful? The book is filled with cliches about the Bugaboo culture in Park Slope and the parents that live there. And you know what they say about cliches…

In my Smartmom columns, I have written about just about everything Sohn covers in the novel: envy and obsession with neighborhood celebrities and real estate; sexless marriages; the way that moms give over their power to their children; the tendency for women to go frumpy after childbirth; the thinly veiled racism that accompanies the obsession with certain schools;  the zany culture of the Food Coop and on and on.

Prospect Park West is chock full of real people, places and things (restaurants, playgrounds, Park Slope Parents, schools, etc.) about Park Slope and that makes it a fun read. The book works as well as it does because Sohn grounds it in an accurate and up-to-date Park Slope landscape (it's Park Slope circa Fall 2008).

Truth is stranger than fiction and you don't have to make this stuff up. It really exists.

Is it insightful? Sohn's portrayal of Rebecca Rose does contain some insights and psychological truths about a not very likable, non-maternal stroller mom with iffy parenting skills, who feels smarter, sexier and prettier than all the other moms in Park Slope.

How about the celebrity character, Melora Leigh? To me, she was the weakest and
most superficial character in the book. She not really Jennifer Connelly at all. More like Brittany Spears and every other celeb who's had a public meltdown. Frankly, I just wasn't that interested in the faux and real celebrity name dropping, the made up movie titles and plots, and the US Magazine crap.

How about Lizzie (the former lesbian or "hasbian")? She's probably one of the most likable (?) characters in the book, though Sohn takes her through a weird—and out of character—sexcapade that includes a meet-up at The Gate with a couple of swingers, who happen to be the only good looking couple in Park Slope. Turns out they're really dumb and boring. Rebecca and Lizzie's brief sexual encounter is also turned into cliche fodder when Rebecca fears that the "needy" Lizzie will enact a "Single, White Female" scenario.

And Karen, the frumpy Park Slope mom? We all know many like Karen and Sohn writes good and nasty about this pathetic, unattractive supermom who is obsessed with buying a coop and getting her kid into PS 321. Karen ultimately morphs into a really scary psycho who is obsessed with the local celebrity.

How about the stuff about the Food Coop? Sohn does a great job satirizing the Food Coop (called the Prospect Park Food Coop in the book) by painting a truer than true (and only slightly amped up) portrait of what goes on in there, including a great take-off on the Linewaiter's Gazette.

How's the story? The plot, which strains credulity, reads like it was written to be a movie or a TV show. In fact, there are so many episodes in this silly narrative, the TV writers should be set for quite a while. 

Is it exasperating? You bet.

–Painting an entire neighborhood in broad, unflattering strokes is, well, a little nasty.

–Leaving out everything that is positive about Park Slope and its own culture of self-criticism and satire is a bit disingenuous. Saying that no-one in Park Slope makes fun of sanctimonious motherhood is pure nonsense. What about the Edgy Mother's Day readings that Sohn herself has helped to curate for two years? And are those moms ugly and frumpy? I don't think so.

–An OTBKB reader already wrote in to say that "It was like looking at a train wreck and after a while, complete with
all the tacky racism tossed in for effect, it just made one disgusted."

–The book is a tad superficial unless you think that wearing Marc Jacobs and your prowess giving blow jobs is a true measure of your worth as a person.

So What Did I Like? 

–Sohn exposes some of the crazier examples of Park Slope parenting and highlights the "New Victorians," the current generation of parents who are like "factory workers on the same assembly line, watching the clock and thinking, Only eighteen years to go."  

–I liked all the references to "iconic" 1970's movies like The Stepford Wives, Klute, Coming Home, Blume in Love and The Tenant.

–The first chapter in which Rebecca mastrubates using a Babeland egg vibrator (good product placement) is well done. The moms kissing over white wine during a play date was also a nice touch. 

–I think Sohn puts to bed the notion that sexless marriages are always a woman's fault. Probably the biggest insight in the book is that men, after fatherhood, become less interested in sex. And it's not because their wives are a turnoff. It's because the pressures they face at work and home are a buzz kill. Theo, probably the most interesting character in the book, is an adoring father (and better at parenting than his wife). He loses interest in his wife sexually because she doesn't share his interest in parenthood.

"Rebecca saw what she'd been doing wrong all the time: She had been trying to go through the front door when he wanted to be appraoched from the side. He needed to be approached through the door marked Father becuase the one marked Husband was locked.

"…In so many ways, their relationship since Abbie's birth had been gender-reversed; he wanted her to touch him more, while she wanted him to have sex with her. It had never occurred to her that there might a a through line between touching him and sleeping with him. She had been so angry with him for witholding sex that she never felt affectionate enough to kiss him lovingly."

So Did I Like the Book?   I haven't decided yet. Stay tuned while I mull. But in the meantime I am wondering what the reaction in Park Slope is going to be. 

Posted in Books | 10 Comments »

August 25th, 2009

I Am Reading Amy Sohn’s Prospect Park West

It arrived by Fed Ex this morning on the farm. You can't imagine a more out-of-context place to read Sohn's roman a clef about the mommy life in Park Slope.

Or maybe's it's not a roman a clef. More like a dramady/satire about Park Slope moms of many stripes, including a character more than loosely based on Jennifer Connelly, a character more than loosely based on Amy Sohn….

There's mommy mastrubation, mommy-to-mommy tongue kissing while drinking wine (with the kids in the other room) and a crush on a celebrity co-worker at the Food Coop.

Sound like fun? Stay tuned…

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August 25th, 2009

I Finally Read Sentimental Education…

14734666 …and the novel by Gustav Flaubert, the story of a law student in Paris, who is infatuated with an older married woman, is now on my top ten list of great books.

In 1864, while writing Sentimental Education, his last novel, Gustave Flaubert wrote:

 "I want to write the moral history of the men of my generation– or, more accurately, the history of their feelings. It's a book about love, about passion; but passion such as can exist nowadays– that is to say, inactive."

And remember Woody Allen's narration in Manhattan? Sentimental Education is the only book he mentions in his list of things that make life worth living:

"Well, all right, why is life worth living? That's a very good question. Well, there are certain things, I guess, that make it worthwhile. Uh, like what? Okay. Um, for me… oh, I would say… what, Groucho Marx, to name one thing… um… and Willie Mays, and, um, the second movement of the Jupiter Symphony, and um… Louis Armstrong's recording of 'Potatohead Blues', …um, Swedish movies, naturally… 'Sentimental Education' by Flaubert… Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra… um, those incredible apples and pears by Cezanne,  …the crabs at Sam Wo's… Tracy's face…"

Here is a passage from the book that I loved.

"Besides, she was approaching the August of a woman's life, a period which combines reflection and tenderness, when the maturity which is beginning kindles a warmer flame in the eyes, when strength of heart mingles with experience of life, and when, in the fullness of its development, the whole being overflows with a wealth of harmony and beauty. She had never been gentler or more indulgent. Sure that she was not going to falter, she gave herself up to a feeling which struck her as a right she had earned by her sorrows."

There are many great passages in this book, which is a sweeping blend of love story, history and satire.

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August 23rd, 2009

TinTin Book Locked Away at Brooklyn Public Library

Amd_tintin The Daily News reports that TinTin Au Congo has been removed from general ciruclation at the Brooklyn Public Library by the library's chief librarian.

I have been following this story with interest because both Hepcat and Teen Spirit are huge TinTin fans.

The book was locked away because it "had illustrations that were racially offensive and inappropriate for children," said Richard Reyes-Gavilan, director of the library.

"The book was recently reissued. It was so over the top racist, imperialist, and colonialist that nobody had much interest in publishing it," said Hugh Crawford, who has been reading the TinTin books since childhood. According to Crawford, "Author George Herge had terrible misgivings about it himself.  An early associate of Herge said that The Blue Lotos was Herge's attempt to make amends for TinTin Au Congo being so bad."

"I think the book shouldn't be banned. It should be held up as an example of that sort of thing. All the editions I've seen have been published as a historical curiosity rather than part of the TinTin canon," Crawford said.

To see the book you have to make an appointment at the library.

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August 12th, 2009

Joining Together: Brooklyn Book Festival And New York Comic Con

Seems that the New York Comic Con (NYCC) will have a "powerful presence" at this year's Brooklyn Book Festival (BBF) on Sunday September 13, 2009 at locations in and around Brooklyn Borough Hall.

NYCC will have its programming area at the free Festival, which
draws nearly 30,000 visitors.

For the 6th year in a row, the BBF willhave readings and panels
featuring international literary superstars, buzzworthy newcomers and
more than 150 booksellers, publishers, independent presses and literary
organizations in a bustling literary marketplace.

 “We are proud
to bring an intense graphic lit and pop culture presence to such a great
I am sure this will provide our customers with the opportunity to
connect directly with lots of new fans.  Plus, it’s all for free!  This
is a win-win in every respect," says a spokesperson for NYCC.

Not surprisingly, Brooklyn
Borough President Marty Markowitz, who's office runs the festival had something to say

days, Brooklyn is a hotbed of pop culture, high-tech culture, literary
and blog culture, ethnic culture, indie culture, and has basically
become an international hub for in-your-face creativity,” says  “It’s only fitting that the Brooklyn
Book Festival would form a dynamic duo with New York Comic Con!”

NYCC’s programming area at the Brooklyn Book Festival will include a performance tent, guest presentations, guest
autographing sessions and a dedicated marketplace area. The next NYCC will take
place October 8 – 10, 2010 at the Jacob K. Javits Center. 

According to Crain's New York Business, NYCC is second-largest annual event in NYC. It has grown from a
convention that attracted 33,000 visitors when it was launched in 2006
to a show that will occupy the entire Javits Center and will attract
well over 75,000 fans in 2010. 

This year’s
Brooklyn Book Festival will again feature a literary marketplace with
more than 150 booksellers, publishers and literary organizations in
Borough Hall Plaza as well as panel discussions and readings, a
children’s authors stage and special programming for teens and
exhibitors that will include bookstores, publishers and literary
organizations. Readings are held at
Brooklyn Borough Hall, in Borough Hall Plaza and Columbus Park, at St. Francis College and the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Confirmed authors include Jonathan Ames, Paul Auster, Staceyann Chin, Guy Delisle, Lupe Fiasco, Edwidge Danticat, Rawi Hage, Tao Lin, Jonathan Lethem, Colson Whitehead, David Lida, Matt Madden, Thurston Moore, Gary Shteyngart, Melvin Van Peebles, Sherman Alexie, M.T. Anderson, Naomi Klein, Danica Novgorodoff, Esmeralda Santiago, George O’Connor, Raina Telgemeier, Jessica Abel, Nick Bruel, Peter and Randall de Seve, Christopher Myers, Tom Tomorrow, Mo Willems, Russell Banks, Kate DiCamillo, Cynthia Ozick, Anne Carson, A.M. Homes, David Cross, Mary Gaitskill, Oliver Sacks, Nelson George, Amy Sohn, Jeffrey Rotter, Keith Gessen, Greg Milner, Francine Prose, and more.

will include fiction, nonfiction and poetry panels on hot topics such
as: “The International Graphic Novel,” featuring
Guy Delisle (The Burma Chronicles), Peter Kuper (Diario de Oaxaca: A Sketchbook Journal of Two Years in Mexico), and Sarah Glidden (How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less), moderated by Matt Madden; “The Great Recession” (featuring Justin Fox, Naomi Klein, Kai Wright and moderator Errol Louis of the New York Daily News); “The Naked City: Urban Realism and the Global City in Fiction & Non-Fiction” (featuring David Lida, Meera Nair, Hirsh Sawhney and moderator Cheryl Harris Sharman; “Literature in a Digital Age” (John Freeman, Dwight Garner, Sarah Schmelling); “Poetry, Pop and Hip-Hop” (Lupe Fiasco, Thurston Moore, Tracie Morris, Matthew Zapruder and moderator Touré);
and “PSA Presents” (a reading by the nation’s oldest poetry
organization, featuring some of the country’s best bards, including
Anne Carson, Sonia Sanchez, Philip Schultz, Arthur Sze and Alice Quinn).

Posted in Books | 1 Comment »

July 3rd, 2009

Richard Grayson’s New Book: I Hate All of You On This L Train

I HATE with subway people The Brooklyn-based indie publisher Canarsie House has announced the
publication of a new book of selected stories by OTBKB fave Richard Grayson, I Hate All of You on This L Train. It features some of the best stories from five previously published
Richard Grayson books from the '70s, '80s, '90s and 21st century. This 94-page collection of selected stories is available online for $7.00 plus shipping and handling. Or, for those who don't want to carry it on the subway, the book is available for free downloads and online reading at Scribd.

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February 2nd, 2005

What a Line-Up

The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store (aka 826nyc) continues to amaze. All you Park Slope writers will not want to miss the following event:

February 17, 2005

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January 31st, 2005

It’d Take a Guy a Lifetime…

Curious about the name of this new blog. Here’s an excerpt from Thomas Woolfe’s masterful short story called: “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn” written in thick Brooklynese:

Dere’s no guy livin’ dat knows Brooklyn t’roo an t’roo, because it’d take a guy a lifetime just to find his way aroun’ duh goddam town.

“So like I say, I’m waitin’ for my train t’ come when I sees dis big guy standin’ deh — dis is the foist I eveh see of him. Well, he’s lookin’ wild, y’know, an’ I can see dat he’s had plenty, but still he’s holdin’ it; he talks good an’ is walkin’ straight enough. So den, dis big guy steps up to a little guy dat’s standin’ deh, an’ says, ‘How d’yuh get t’ Eighteent’ Avenoo an Sixty-sevent’ Street?’ he says…”


“Jesus! What a nut he was! I wondeh what evah happened to ‘m, anyway. I wondeh if someone knocked him on duh head, or if he’s till wanderin’ aroun’ in duh subway in duh middle of duh night with his little map! Duh poor guy. Say, I’ve got to laugh, at dat, when I t’ink about him! Maybe he’s found out by now dat he’ll never live long enought to know duh whole of Brooklyn. It’d take a guy a lifetime to Brooklyn t’roo an’ t’roo. An even den, yuh wouldn’t know it all.”

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