Almost Famous, except about a girl. And set in the ’90s. And British.
How to Build a Girl, described by the New York Times’ Dwight Garner as “a British version of ‘Almost Famous,’ delivered from a female perspective and set two decades later,” is celebrating its paperback release with a reading by author Caitlin Moran. She’s often compared to Tina Fey and Lena Dunham, “which is fair so far as it goes,” according to Garner, “though I’d add Amy Winehouse and the early Roseanne Barr to the mix.” Watch her read excerpts from her comic novel about a poor teen determined to reinvent herself as a rock critic in 1990s London.
Tuesday, July 7 at 7 p.m. Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway (East Village).

Adults say the darndest things
Ever felt like you were the odd one out in the workplace because of your ethnicity? How many times have you cringed to overhear a comment that starts something like, “Not to be offensive, but…”? Well Madison Collective has invited a lineup of brave souls who can laugh at the awkward side of race relations to take the stage at its first ever Culture Slam, a storytelling event that takes a lighthearted look at the do’s and don’ts of cross-cultural interaction. Check out their Facebook and their “Adults Say the Darndest Things” teaser here.
Tuesday, July 7 at 6 p.m. Nuyorican Poets Café, 236 East 3rd Street (East Village).

Not just a book release…
When Brooklyn-based author, visual artist, photographer and filmmaker Quintan Ana Wikswo celebrates the release of her new book The Hope of Floating Has Carried Us This Far, you can be sure that the former human rights activist won’t settle for a simple reading and Q&A. She’ll discuss the book, described on the Greenlight site as “a collection of stories and photographs in which characters defy the limits of physics to escape the all too human pain of love and loss,” with Mort(e) author Robert Repino. Her appearance at Greenlight will be accompanied by videos and images from the book on a big screen and live music by Brooklyn composer Arthur Kell on the upright bass.
Tuesday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m. Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street (Fort Greene). 


A “slim, nasty thriller”
Celebrated authors Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment joined forces under the name A.J. Rich to finish the novel of their the-hand-that-feeds-you-9781476774589_hrfriend, author Katherine Russell Rich, who died after completing only the first few chapters. The result is The Hand that Feeds You, which begins with an accomplished woman arriving home to find that her blood covered rescue dogs have brutally killed her fiancé (or so it seems). So begins the heroine’s struggle to discover the true identity of her fiancé (who was NOT who he seemed) and figure out what really happened to him and who is killing the people closest to him before it’s too late. The Kirkus Review said this “slim, nasty thriller is hard to put down.” It’s got a creepy psychopath killer and a hot animal advocacy lawyer to come to the rescue… what more could you want in a summer read?
Wednesday, July 8 at 7 p.m. BookCourt, 163 Court Street (Cobble Hill). 


Reflections from self-exile on the Russian River
What does home mean to you? Last year Pacific Standard put Alexis Coe (Alice+Freda Forever) up in a remote cabin on the Russian River to contemplate dislocation—her own and that of others (you can read her thought provoking collection of essays here). Coe will present an evening of readings that grapple with the topic of home with Amitava Kumar (Lunch with a Bigot), Anna North (The Life and Death of Sophie Spark), Danielle Henderson (Fusion), Josh Gondelman (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver), Rembert Brown (Grantland), and Mychal Denzel Smith (The Nation), and Reyhan Harmanci (Atlas Obscura).
Thursday, July 9 at 7 p.m. Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby Street (NoLIta).

Forgotten stories of Greenpoint’s past
Pick the brain of local historian and tour guide Geoffrey Cobb when he presents Greenpoint Brooklyn’s Forgotten Past at WORD. As Cobb explains in his blog, “Historic Greenpoint,” that he wanted “to capture the reality of people’s lives at certain moments in local history. Some people have called what I have written historical fiction because I imagine how characters might have felt or thought in some situations, but all the historical characters and events are true.” Snag a copy of Cobb’s narrative account to add to your collection and be the only smarty at the pub who can rattle off facts about the neighborhood before it became a synonymous with gallery nights, chocolatiers and a barge that serves beer.
Thursday, July 9 at 7 p.m. WORD Bookstore, 126 Franklin Street (Greenpoint).