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Readings and Talks: Post-Apocalyptic Pregnancy, Kafkaesque Erotica, and More

Wise-up about the underlying structures of the Israel-Palestine conflict, lust in the style of Kafka, and hear about California’s (fictional) dystopian future at this week’s worthy readings and talks. 

Friday, July 18

An Evening with Nir Evron
As the Israel-Palestine conflict is once again splashed across the international press, there’s never been a better time to become familiar with the work of Nir Evron. The Israeli filmmaker has long been fascinated with the physical architecture of the conflict, and this latest work—Endurance—is the third in his “Architectural Trilogy.” More →

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Book reading and signing: Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China with Leta Hong Fincher

Leta Hong Fincher is a sociologist at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, and has written for the likes of The New York Timesand Dissent. Her new book explores the effects of sustained governmental campaigns that encourage women to marry young, in order to cut down the surplus of single men in the country. Fincher argues that women—terrified of becoming old maids at 27—are being shamed into matrimony (an institution which in China does little to protect women’s rights). In the process, female home-ownership and participation in the labor force has declined, while gendered wealth inequality is increasing. Contrary to the popular myth that women have fared well in China’s economic boom, Fincher highlights gender-based structural discrimination, and in doing so elucidates over-arching problems with China’s economy, politics and development. Join the author for a discussion of her work.

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Readings and Talks: Brooklyn Girls and Renaissance Men

Time again for Word Up, our weekly roundup of readings and talks worth getting up and out of the house for.

Thursday, July 10

friendship copyEmily Gould and Elif Batuman
Gawker blogger turned memoirist Emily Gould’s new novel, Friendship, is about (you guessed it) a young Brooklyn blogger whose boyfriend happens to keep a studio in Greenpoint’s Pencil Factory.​ “Amy loved visiting Sam there, seeing all the other artists in the hallways and on the roof,” Gould writes. “It was so cheering to know that there were still people who made their living by creating physical things—even if some of them were commercial illustrators and graphic designers. Well, Sam wasn’t, anyway! He was just a guy who made giant oil paintings of Cuisinarts.” She’ll be discussing fiction and friendship with Elif Batuman, who has written for the likes of The New Yorker and n+1, and is the author of The Possessed.
7pm, McNally Jackson Books (52 Prince St). FREE.
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Reading: Love Comes Later With Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

Love Comes Later is one of the first English language novels to be set in Qatar, and has become one of a long list of books to be banned in that country. Doha-based author Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar researched and wrote the novel in Qatar, but will not get to see it reach shelves there despite the fact that the book is hardly overtly political or controversial. Rather, the plot centers on an arranged engagement between two reluctant cousins, and the love triangle that develops when one of the betrothed falls for someone else. The novel interrogates the connections between South Asian and Arab cultures and the oppressive potential of cultural expectations. “Rajakumar pulls back the veil on life in Qatar to reveal a glimpse of Muslim life rarely seen by Westerners,” as per Kirkus Reviews. Join Rajakumar for a reading from the novel.

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Sugar Slaves, Suicidal Starlets, and Space-Age Pleasure Parks

It’s almost time for pig roasts and kiddie pools, but that’s no reason to lose your intellectual edge entirely. Here’s our weekly rundown of readings and talks.

Sunday, July 6

(Photo: Kirsten O'Regan)

(Photo: Kirsten O’Regan)

Sweet Work: Shorts of Labor at the Domino Brooklyn Refinery
If you’ve stopped by the Domino sugar refinery in the past couple weeks, Kara Walker’s magnificent installation may have given you food for thought regarding the building’s sordid past. And if that hasn’t totally killed your sweet tooth, Union Docs is here to help—with “a program of mostly unseen work that examines the effect the refinery had on the surrounding neighborhood as well as addressing broader themes of sweetness and power.” There will be a post-screening discussion with the filmmakers, moderated by Filip Noterdaeme, contributor to the Huffington Post and founder of The Homeless Museum of Art.
7:30pm, Union Docs (322 Union Ave, Brooklyn). $9.
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Good Talks: World Cup Buzzkill, a ‘Live Documentary,’ and Shakespeare Star Wars

Upcoming talks and readings. Because sometimes, you just want to watch C-3P0 soliloquize in Early Modern English.

Thursday, June 26

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Nathan Deuel and Friday was the Bomb
In 2008 Nathan Deuel, Village Voice and Rolling Stone editor, moved with his wife Kelly McEvers (a foreign correspondent) to Saudi Arabia. The couple’s first child had just been born when the Arab Spring erupted. McEvers was posted in Baghdad, while Deuel took his young daughter first to Istanbul and then Beirut. Friday was the Bomb: Five Years in the Middle East is Deuel’s first book, and an account of his time spent in the volatile region. Deuel will be reading from the memoir, taking questions, and signing copies.
7pm, WORD Bookstore (126 Franklin St, Greenpoint), Facebook RSVP requested but not required, FREE 
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Part of the Family? The Battle for Domestic Workers’ Rights

Sheila Bapat is an attorney and writer, whose work focuses on issues of economic and gender (in)justice. In her latest book, she turns her attention to the labor struggles within the domestic worker realm—historically a black hole for unionizing efforts and labor rights. Bapat’s work shows that this trend is slowly shifting, and through interviews with community leaders and activists, chronicles the escalating movement to secure labor protections for the invisible people who work in the “private” domestic realm.

War, Marxism, Nannies and Crime: Serious Stuff at This Week’s Talks and Walks

If the fun and frippery of summer are wearing you out already, explore a darker side of life at these readings, talks, and historical walks.

Tuesday, June 17

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The Syrian Refugee Crisis with Diego Cupolo and Rahawa Haile
Photojournalist Diego Cupolo has documented sinister environments and the tough lives lived in them from Bushwick to Montevideo. Tonight at WORD, he discusses his recently released book, Seven Syrians: War Accounts From Syrian Refugees. Cupolo painstakingly records the lives of survivors of the current conflict, combining text and photos into a series of compelling portraits. He’ll be in discussion with Brooklyn-based writer/essayist Rahawa Haile.
WORD Bookstore (126 Franklin St), Greenpoint. 7pm. Free. Facebook RSVP encouraged.
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