But the show had to go on, and the event, part of a monthly series put on jointly by Congregation Beth Elohim and local indie The Community Bookstore, was a chance for many to gather and attempt to return to some sense of normalcy. The event, which promised DeLillo in conversation with Auster, as well as an introduction by another literary bigwig, Jonathan Safran Foer, was filled with more than 100 people. It was a refreshingly hightone event in a neighborhood that usually boasts more modest fare. And there was no exclusivity; everyone who could make it out, it seemed, got a seat.
But a working writer always has—is always living—a back-up plan. For Jami Attenberg that has meant working on an occasional basis at Brooklyn bookstore Word (though she told me that she just ends up using much of the money she makes there on books), writing articles here and there, and taking on assignments as a freelance copywriter. “[It’s] not really good for long-term planning,” she admitted, “but this is just the thing that I love to do so I’m just kind of doing it. I don’t know. I know so many people who hate what they do for a living. Like, hate hate hate hate hate it. And I don’t want to be that person. So I kind of just threw all in on it.”
Despite their bad reputation, though, Jerolmack noted that our urban encounters with pigeons "are profoundly social." "The impulse to feed pigeons is not so different from wanting to chat with strangers," Jerolmack said, speaking about one of the subjects for his book, Anna, the elderly pigeon lady who regularly feeds the birds at Father Demo Square, the tiny enclave in the West Village where Jerolmack's research began.(2)
“I don’t know that I answer the question so much as acknowledge that the question is there," writer Yael Kohen, whose new book, We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy hits bookstore shelves today. "It’s a provocative question. People will continue to ask it.”(2)
Things actually move so fluidly that the reader hardly notices there isn’t a single chapter break in the novel. Homes said she simply forgot. “I was just busy writing. I didn’t think about it. And then they called me and said ‘how about some chapters?’ Chapters?” Homes said she thinks that as a writer she shouldn’t have to stop—she should be able to just keep driving. “[It] changes the shape of something because it has a discrete beginning and a discrete ending,” she said. She prefers the larger arc to many smaller ones. And the weight of her dogged researches adds another layer of urgency to the work, the details propelling the narrative and vice versa.
“My mother is already giving Patrick orders and telling him to pat the steak dry,” Tucci said. “Otherwise, as Julia Childs taught us, it won't brown.” “Stanley, that's too thick, isn’t it?” Joan said about the hunk of meat, “Shouldn't it be a little thinner? Tucci held a large butcher knife vertically over the steak. Joan shuttered. “This way,” she said quietly, restraining herself and then held her palm up to indicate a horizontal cut.
The book that resulted centers around several renowned musicians and conductors: Stokowski, Casals, Glenn Gould, and Albert Schweitzer, all known for their interpretations of Bach. “When I saw that their careers lined up in a rough way with the leaps forward in technology, that suggested a structure,” Elie recalled. “When I read Lawrence Dreyfus’s book about Bach and the patterns of invention, and the notion that Bach was himself an inventor of a kind, it all started locking together. Bach was an inventor of a kind; these people were reinventing Bach; they were doing something by using the inventions of audio pioneers.”
As I waited around outside, two other older ladies, each with small, rectangular pieces of cardboard proclaiming that they, too, were looking for tickets, got into a bickering argument when a gentleman in an overcoat decided to give one of the women his spare ticket; the other woman exhibited the injured manner of one whose cab has been stolen. “Can you believe that?” the ticketless woman said repeatedly, to anyone who would listen, shaking her head in disgust.
“Years ago I started traveling as a sort of reaction to all the movies I was in.,” he said. “I would run away because I found in my early 20s, all that sorta crazy, wondrous attention was in some ways very odd. I had a strange relationship to success in that I really desired it and wanted it, and on the one hand I was apprehensive about it and pushed away from it … so I started traveling the world and through that began to grow up in a way that I didn't ever need to when I was doing movies. And it changed my life.”
Beattie, Moore, Eggers, Gaitskill, Eugenides, Lethem and others publish a master class in the short story for 'Paris Review'
“Our initial concern was maybe that the stories selected would be too well-known, and that it would be a sort of greatest-hits collection,” Stein explained. “Those fears were pretty quickly laid to rest by the range of stories that were selected.” And while some of the writers’ writers featured here are not exactly obscure—Raymond Carver, Denis Johnson, Jorge Luis Borges—the density and stylistic variation of Object Lessons proves Stein’s point. S
Alexis Boehmler of Bomb magazine said the fair helps small booksellers stay relevant in a media-soaked art world. "A lot of the people here are our target audience in that they are interested in art. And we want more people to know about Bomb. We've been around for a long time. There is so much out there, especially online, it's good for us to be in front of people's eyes. What happens when you're not here is people wonder if you're still around."
What then ultimately brought her back to fiction, she was asked. “There are little sparks of something like actual life,” she said after a deliberative pause, “and I don’t think an essay could ever create that friction, that feeling of being alive. And when you’re a kid, that’s why you read, and some people forget that, but for me that feeling of the fake-real, the almost-real, I get pleasure from thinking I could do that.”
“Women's websites hadn't been satirized before," Grose said over the phone last week from her home in Brooklyn. "The community is vibrant and amazing and ridiculous at the same time. It's a unique and crazy existence. There’s such a stereotype that you sit in your pajamas and write about what you have for lunch, but no one captured what it's like to produce writing at such a high volume. It’s a loving satire.”
“What other faith conjures up so much doubt in its adherence?” Ross read aloud. “It is fundamental to the religion itself. Do you speak Hebrew? Great if you do, but if you don’t you can still be a Jew. Were you bar mitzvahed? Nice, such a good boy, but plenty of Jews weren’t. Am I a Jew?... it’s an obvious question but one even the most sophisticated minds struggle to answer.”
Friedman on Nelson: "Before I ran for governor of Texas in 2005, Willie told me: 'If you’re going to have sex with an animal, always make it a horse. That way, if it doesn’t work out, you’ll always have a ride home.' That has served me very well in politics and in life."