daveDave Isay presents Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work
May 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street.
Feeling unmotivated at work lately? Find some inspiration in Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work, the new book out by Storycorps founder Dave Isay. Born 13 years ago, the oral-history project’s intimate interviews have grown to be a mainstay of American public life and podcasting. The new book draws upon audio interviews of average Americans toiling in the trenches of the nation’s workforce (public defenders, salmon slicers, science teachers and more) to try to understand what motivates people in their work every day and how they got there. Some of the storytellers themselves will speak at the event.


Watchlist: Readings from Persons of Interest
May 5 at 7 p.m. at The Strand, 828 Broadway
watchlistSome of today’s most prominent rising fiction writers reflected on what it means to live in our modern surveillance state, where we assume every text may be read, every phone call intercepted–and imagined where it all might lead. The result is Watchlist, a collection of 32 stories by turns political and apolitical, cautionary and optimistic, locating our society’s anxieties and adaptations in the midst of large shifts in technology and security apparatuses. For example, one story images the US outsourcing border control to Google. Another explores the future and limits of long-term medical observation. Authors include T.C. Boyle, Aimee Bender, Alissa Nutting and Cory Doctorow.

Pete’s Reading Series with Stephen O’Connor and Angela Flournoy

May 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Pete’s Candy Store, 709 Lorimer Street
TJStephen O’Connor will read from his new novel, Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings. Through the eyes of two people on opposite ends of an unjust system–a founding father and his slave–the novel explores the damage wrought by the institution of slavery, unsparingly analyzing Jefferson’s hypocrisy while allowing Hemings the space to make her own voice heard. The story, while benefitting from intense research, also imagines their relationship across time and dreamworlds. Angela Flournoy will read from her debut novel, The Turner House, a modern rendering of the American family. It follows thirteen siblings reckoning with their relationships as they return to their family home in struggling Detroit.


Mammas, Mares, Mères & Mutters: Mother’s Day Around the World
May 8 at 7 p.m. at KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street.
Forget lame flower bouquets and an anodyne card. This Mothers Day, why not take yo mama out…for stories and poetry about mothers and their shared experiences across the globe? The PEN America Translation Committee is sponsoring an evening of readings of international works dealing with mothers and families, read by their translators. For example, Mary Ann Newman will read from Private Life by Josep Maria de Sagarra, a Catalan Classic, Lara Vergnaud will read from France: Story of a Childhood by Zahia Rahmani. And both Sophie Seita and Uljana Wolf will read from i mean i dislike that fate that i was made to where by Uljana Wolf.