But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past
June 7 at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 33 East 17th Street.
Let your inner skeptic flag fly! Chuck Klosterman has come out with a book for all the doubting Thomases who can’t help but question even the most basic certainties of existence –like, do we really, truly, need that extra cup of coffee to become human? Jokes aside, Klosterman tries to leap into the future and put our present beliefs under the microscope. After all, many so-called truths (the shape of the earth? the role of women? the necessity of using leeches as a cure?) have been debunked over the centuries– we look at the past and wonder “how did they believe that?” Klosterman explores some of his most pressing doubts about the concepts of time, gravity, art, democracy and more through conversations with a long list of current creative thinkers (including George Saunders, Kathryn Schulz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Junot Díaz, Amanda Petrusich, and Richard Linklater).
Lesley Blume in Conversation with Gay Talese,
June 8 at 8 p.m. at McNally Jackson Bookstore, 52 Prince Street.
Two journalist heavyweights of different eras meet to discuss a literary icon: Ernest Hemingway. The author’s infamous 1925 trip to the Pamplona festival in Spain has entered cultural mythology as the basis for his debut novel, The Sun Also Rises, launching him as one of the premier writers of his generation. Lesley Blume, a journalist who has devoted her recent work to profiling historic cultural moments and “greats,” examines the true story behind this memorable trip in her first major biography, Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises. Gay Talese, esteemed literary journalist who has also had his time profiling greats on his long and storied career, joins her to to speak about the cultural impact of the story– back in 1963 he wrote an article about George Plimpton and the founders of The Paris Review attempting to follow Hemingway’s footsteps to Spain, called “Looking for Hemingway.”
Bob Mehr’s Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements, the Last Rock ‘n’ Roll Band
June 8 at 7 p.m. at The Strand, 828 Broadway.
Alt rock icons The Replacements had their near brushes with fame but never quite broke into the mainstream– still, they are one of those bands whose music just seems to stick around, growing more appreciated with time. Luckily longtime music journalist Bob Mehr’s account of their life and times doesn’t retreat into nostalgia for the 1980s or easy self-mythologizing. It takes a clear-eyed (though sympathetic) look at their traumas and addictions to try to come to terms with the band’s impact as well as their own self-destructive habits. Superchunk drummer and Best Show cohost Jon Wurster will join in conversation.
Ben Lerner presents The Hatred of Poetry
June 9 at Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton St., Brooklyn.
Are you a poetry hater? Be honest now. Ben Lerner, author of novels Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04, is also an acclaimed poet who claims to dislike poetry himself– even though he has “largely organized [his] life around it.” For Lerner, it’s not a contradiction to both feel uncomfortable with poetry and bow to its power. His essay on the subject of his art is an examination (and defense) of the craft, looking at the best and worst of poetry. You may just learn a thing or two about a poet’s process– and come to find a reason in a rhyme. Scholar and memoirist Michael W. Clune will join in discussion.