The state of Barry Yourgrau’s Queens apartment had gotten pretty bad at the time his girlfriend unexpectedly dropped in because she had locked herself out of her own apartment. She hadn’t been inside his apartment for a long time because, as it turned out, Yourgrau’s home was overflowing with plastic shopping bags, liquor boxes, and other junk he thought he might one day need. His girlfriend demanded he clean up his act, and his new memoir, Mess, is all about how he sought the help of a professional declutterer, a Lacanian shrink, and Clutterers Anonymous in an effort to resolve his issues.
Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 7 p.m. Strand Books, 828 Broadway (NoHo).
Think your office is creepy, your job repetitive? Chances are it’s nothing compared to the one held by the main character of The Beautiful Bureaucrat. Stuck in a windowless building, inputting numbers into “The Database,” she begins to feel uneasy, then filled with dread, when even the scarred pink walls seem to take on a living quality. To save those she holds dear, she must “penetrate an institution whose tentacles seem to extend to every corner of the city and beyond.” Join author Helen Philips (in conversation with Jenny Offill of Dept. of Speculation) for the release of “the perfect summer page-turner,” per the Chicago Tribune.
Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 7 p.m. McNally Jackson Books, 52 Prince Street (SoHo).
Writer and multimedia artist Tanwi Nandini Islam became so interested in botany and herbalism when doing research for her debut novel that it led her to start her own Brooklyn-based perfume and skincare line, Hi Wildflower Botanica. Hear her read from the new novel, Bright Lines, which tells the story of three young women (one of them a Brooklyn apothecary) coming of age in Brooklyn and Bangladesh.
Tuesday, Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m. Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street (Fort Greene).
Come celebrate the launch of Radiator, a new literary journal from Brooklyn communications agency Praytell that’s full of ideas from both established and up-and-coming local talent from Brooklyn and New York City. Join the party with beer, snacks, and readings from Kurt Boone (his article on the history of Cambria Heights, Queens, appeared on Narratively), Christine Friar (social producer for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon), Meredith Haggerty (you can read her argument that Channing Tatum is our generation’s Marilyn Monroe on Racked) and Chris Messer of the Center For Fiction.
Thursday, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m. Housing Works Bookstore Café, 126 Crosby Street (NoLIta).
What if Richard Nixon was really a pivotal figure caught in a desperate struggle between ordinary life and horrors from another reality? Or if the spellcasting of Harry Potter was dropped down into a very real world where sex, self-interest affect the magical (and vice versa)? You’re in for a trippy night if you attend this reading with two authors, brothers Austin and Lev Grossman (authors of Crooked and the Magicians trilogy, respectively) for a conversation about their “realist magic” worlds.
Thursday, Aug. 13, at 7:30 p.m. Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street (SoHo).