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Get Your Summer Reading (or Flirting) On With These 9 Book Talks

No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America

(Image credit: Amazon)

Thursday, August 2 at the Brooklyn Historical Society, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Darnell Moore, writer and leader in the Movement for Black Lives, brings what’s sure to be a riveting discussion of his new memoir No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America to the Brooklyn Historical Society. The description for his book on his website recounts how three neighborhood boys in Camden, New Jersey tried to set him on fire when he was only 14. In the three decades since that encounter, Moore has gone on to seek solace in the gay community of Philadelphia, justice on the front lines in Ferguson, Missouri, and life in his current home in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. In this book, he seeks to understand how that 14-year-old boy not only survived, but became the individual that he is today. Tickets to this event cost $5.

Books Beneath the Bridge: Greenlight Poetry Salon

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Talks + Readings: Reformed Hoarder, Beautiful Bureaucrat, and a New BK Lit Rag

mess front FK 1209.inddTUESDAY

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).
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Talks and Readings: Letterman Writer, Iranian Women, and the Quest For 78s

Time again for Word Up, our weekly roundup of talks and readings.


Tongo Eisen-Martin is a movement worker and educator who has organized against mass incarceration and extra-judicial killing of Black people throughout the United States. He has educated in detention centers from New York’s Rikers Island to California’s San Quentin State Prison, and his work in Rikers Island was covered by the New York Times. Don’t miss the New York City release of his new book of poems, Someone’s Dead AlreadyTuesday, July 28 at 7 p.m. Nuyorican Poets Café, 236 East 3rd Street (East Village). Admission $10 at the door, $7 with student ID.

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Talks and Readings: Cards Against Humanity, Video Games, and TV Writers


Meet the faces behind some of your favorite TV shows at Real Characters, a regular series hosted by Andy Ross (contributor to The Onion and writer and performer of the one man show “Melancomedy”) featuring some of New York’s best humor writers, stand-ups and performers. This month’s lineup includes Bruce Eric Kaplan (Girls, The New Yorker, author of I Was a Child: A Memoir), Allison Silverman (The Colbert Report, Portlandia, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Issac Oliver (Ars Nova Theater, author of Intimacy Idiot) and Sandi Marx (The Moth).
Wednesday, July 22 at 7 p.m. McNally Jackson Independent Booksellers, 52 Prince Street (Soho).

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Talks and Readings: Dissecting Warhol, a LES Eat Pray Love, and More

Overcoming the past is a key theme in young authors’ Edan Lepucki and Mira Jacobs debut novels, both published last year to great acclaim, so it seems natural that they would celebrate their paperback release with a discussion on the topic. Lepucki’s California tells the story of a couple living in the ruins of a dystopian America who must choose between freedom and security when they discover they are expecting a child. “Lepucki conjures a lush, intricate, deeply disturbing vision of the future,” said Jennifer Egan (Welcome to the Goon Squad). Jacob’s The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is about a daughter who returns to her childhood home to help with her unwell father, only to find herself confronted with strange looks from the hospital staff and a series of puzzling items buried in her mother’s garden. “When her plot springs surprises, she lets them happen just as they do in life: blindsidingly right in the middle of things,” said the Boston Globe.

Tuesday, July 14, at 7:30 p.m. Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street (Fort Greene).

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Talks + Readings: Duff McKagan, Galway Kinnell, and a Living Female Rock Critic

battle linesMonday

History buffs, take note: Battle Lines is not your ordinary Civil War read. This books is a team effort by graphic novelist Jonathan Fetter-Vorm and award-winning historian Ari Kelman, and it’s sweeping, full-color panoramas combined with Kelman’s nuanced understand of the period provide a whole new perspective on the topic. The authors will talk about the book with acclaimed graphic novelist Josh Neufeld (A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge) accompanied by images from Battle Lines on Greenlight’s big screen.
Monday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m.  Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street (Fort Greene). 

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A Big Egg, Big Bees, and Even Bigger Data

All subjects you can contemplate at this week’s thrilling selection of readings and talks. 

Friday, September 5

We, The Outsiders Opening Reception
We, The Outsiders is an art exhibition that explores several perplexing questions: “Can it be said that art has a consciousness of its own? And if such a consciousness were independent of us, where would it place us in relation to itself?” I have no idea what that means, but I do know that the exhibition revolves around a gigantic egg—which probes, like the classic chicken-and-the-egg conundrum (I prosaically assume), where consciousness begins and ends when it comes to art. More →

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Readings and Talks: Sex, Celebs, Centimeters, and the Southside

Things are getting hot and heavy at this week’s upcoming readings and talks, with historical badass battles, fictional prostitutes, sexy sex-ed films, and a look at why America insists on measuring stuff the way it does. Gallons of fun, ahoy.

Saturday, August 9

ladies copyLadies of the Night reading with Maggie McNeill
Maggie McNeill’s biography reads like the worst nightmare of every English major’s mother and/or the wet dream of every horny undergraduate male: a BA in literature, then a Masters of Library and Information Science and a brief stint as a suburban librarian, before economic imperatives compelled her to find work as a stripper, then a call girl, then a madam. This decade-long sex work stint ends happily (mothers, cue a sigh of relief) in the fairy-tale manner. Madam marries favorite client, moves to ranch, and is able at long last to combine both of her interests: writing and prostitution.
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The Public Library with Robert Dawson + Diane Caldwell

Since 1994, California-based photographer Robert Dawson has been travelling across the country, capturing images of public libraries—those hallowed, endangered urban oases of learning and contemplation. The result of his eighteen-year pilgrimage have now been collected into a handsome tome, The Public Library: A Photographic Essay, which is simultaneously a visual record of America’s libraries, an examination of the manifold functions such institutions perform, and an impassioned lamentation over their steady decline from public consciousness. In the book’s foreword, veteran journalist Bill Moyers writes, “when a library is open, no matter its size or shape, democracy is open, too.” Dawson, in effect, presents a poignant argument for what’s at stake. He’ll be in conversation with Diane Cardwell, business reporter for The New YorkTimes.

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Meryl Meisler and A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick!

Meryl Meisler worked as a school teacher in cracked-out, riot-prone 80s Bushwick—but she also carried a medium format camera everywhere she went, snapping epic photos of the ‘hood. Now, she’s collected those pictures, and placed them alongside her photographs of disco-fevered Manhattan in the same era. Together, the two sets of images offer a riotous portrait of two different universes in one city—at once hopelessly divided, and disconcertingly similar. Join Meisler for a special presentation of her work. She’ll also be signing copies.