Christian Rudder is co-founder and President of OkCupid—yes, the same OkCupid that has rescued your “love” life from the doldrums and is now the only reason you ever leave the house even though sometimes it makes you feel as if the search is futile—and he’s now also the author ofDataclysm. The book is subtitledWho We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking), and whether that sounds ominous to you or not probably depends on your stance on the highly controversial personal data mining carried out by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and (yes!) OkCupid. Blithely sidestepping the political ramifications of such practices, Rudder instead dives enthusiastically into the social science potential of big data. Dataclysm examines what our online lives reveal about who we really are, focusing intently on the magical potential of the algorithm.
readings + talks
This week: everything you generally avoid talking about gets talked about.
Monday, Sept. 15
Hot, Wet and Shaking: Talking About Sex with Kaleigh Trace
Kaleigh Trace is a disabled, queer, feminist sex educator with a mission: to promote “safe, shame-free and consensual sex people of all abilities, ethnicities, races, orientations, and gender identities.” Among other things, she co-wrote and appeared in the above music video in response to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Keep Reading »
Novelists Jon McGoran and Linda Davies will be reading from recent work. McGoran has written about food and sustainability for many years, but has a burgeoning book-writing business on the side. His recently released second novel Deadout, injects his passion for environmental issues into a deftly-handled detective story, complete with genetically modified super bees and dastardly biotech corporations. “McGoran fluidly blends science and suspense in his outstanding second eco-thriller,” according to Publisher’s Weekly. Davies, meanwhile, is a former investment banker, whose debut novel Nest of Vipers has now sold over 2 million copies. Vipers is a financial industry thriller, driven by a risk-taking female foreign exchange trader stuck between a rock (the Mafia) and a hard place (the British SIS). The evening will be hosted by Richie Narvaez.
All subjects you can contemplate at this week’s thrilling selection of readings and talks.
Friday, September 5
We, The Outsiders Opening Reception
We, The Outsiders is an art exhibition that explores several perplexing questions: “Can it be said that art has a consciousness of its own? And if such a consciousness were independent of us, where would it place us in relation to itself?” I have no idea what that means, but I do know that the exhibition revolves around a gigantic egg—which probes, like the classic chicken-and-the-egg conundrum (I prosaically assume), where consciousness begins and ends when it comes to art. Keep Reading »
If your dream evening revolves around a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pynchon novel—or your idea of getting ruckus involves regaling amigos with Ginsberg-ian incantations after a couple stiff drinks—these upcoming literary and libation-friendly events are sure to make your heart sing. Say hello to not one but two bookish extravaganzas: Lit Crawl Manhattan and the Brooklyn Book Festival.
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Things you can learn at this weeks stellar readings and talks.
Thursday, August 28
That’s When the Knives Come Down with Dolan Morgan
Greenpointer Dolan Morgan will read on home turf for the Brooklyn launch of his debut collection That’s When the Knives Come Down. A surrealist glance at cities, relationships and lives gone awry, the stories are billed as simultaneously “absurd, harrowing, and inimitable.” According to Catherine Lacey, “Dolan Morgan queers the every day and leaves a sinister domestic scene behind.” He’ll be joined in discussion by B.C. Edwards (The Aversive Clause) and Chelsea Hodson (Pity the Animal).
7pm, WORD Books (126 Franklin St, Greenpoint), FREE, Facebook RSVP here
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Since everyone cool/loaded has left the city for a summer get-away and you’re still here, what better way to pass these lazy days than by learning to battle the Illuminati, showing off your mad fanboy language skillz or getting acquainted with Emperor Augustus.
Thursday August 21
Julie Schumacher + Ethan Rutherford
Dear Committee Members, Julie Schumacher’s eighth novel, is an epistolary satire of academia that has been earning—as the title of a Slate review puts it, “Strongest possible endorsement.” Made up of letters of recommendation written by a beleaguered literature professor (whose promising career in fiction is now just a fading memory), the book is a bitingly witty portrait of a dying English department and the embittered man who dwells in its decomposing innards. Keep Reading »
Learn about the rise and fall and rise of hallucinogenic mushrooms, the fight for tenant rights in Poland, and re-appreciate the street art you no longer notice, with this week’s worthy readings and talks.
Thursday, August 14
Psychedelic drugs reaching a hallucination-drenched, kaleidoscopically patterned saturation point in the 1960s and 70s, during the zenith of American and European counterculture movements. Sadly, peak-mushroom was unsustainable. Keep Reading »