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A blog of things I feel like talking about that minute...
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26. April Events: YA Week, Reality TV, Earth Day & more!

Spring is officially upon us, and the April showers have started early. There will be plenty of blooming, raining and sneezing in the weeks to come, but regardless of what the weather or your allergies are up to, our April events schedule aims to provide some sunny relief. Here’s what we have on deck:

Our first two events of April include appearances by some of our favorite YA authors. In fact, the first full week of April is YA Week at WORD: On Tues. 4/6, Adrienne Maria Vrettos launches her latest YA novel, THE EXILE OF GIGI LANE and on Thurs. 4/8 we host our next YA Not? literary salon for not-so-young-adults, featuring Barry Lyga and Michael Northrop. We’re calling it Fanboys and Gentlemen.

Other author events include:

**Tues. 4/13: Arthur Philips reads from his novel, THE SONG IS YOU
**Thurs. 4/15: Launch party for REALITY MATTERS: 19 WRITERS ON THE SHOWS WE CAN’T STOP WATCHING Editor Anna David and contributors Austin Bunn, Amelie Gillette, Helaine Olen, Rex Sorgatz, and possibly a special Skyped guest!
**Wed. 4/21: Bryan Charles reads from 33 1/3 Pavement’s WOWEE ZOWEE + Q&A with Matthew Perpetua of Fluxblog
**Thurs. 4/22: Celebrate Earth Day with Emily Elizabeth Anderson, author of ECO-CHIC HOME w/demos and great green tip

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27. Nerd basketball returns

That’s right, it’s time for nerds who love basketball to rejoice, because the WORD basketball league has returned! We’re starting the season a bit earlier this year, with pre-season kicking off in April, so the start-up meetings are pretty soon.

As with last year, we will require the following from those who would like to play: 4 out of 5 answers correct on a relatively simple test of your literary knowledge, a self-assessment of your basketball skills, a list of requested teammates (if you have one), and a signed waiver. So you’ll need to come to one of the following meetings to take care of all of that:

Monday, March 15 at 7pm
Wednesday, March 17 at 7pm

Both meetings will be held in the basement of WORD. It is REQUIRED that you attend one of these two meetings if you want to play.

If you’d like to be involved, but have no interest in physical activity, that is fine! We definitely need people to help behind the scenes. In particular, we might need another ref and we definitely need people to help with keeping score and time. Also, one of our employees would like to start a nerd cheerleading squad.  So if you’d like to join up without actually playing, just email stephanie at wordbrooklyn dot com.

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28. March Events at WORD

We’re excited about our schedule of events for March, and even more excited about two other important milestones: SPRING officially arrives later this month AND we celebrate our 3rd anniversary! Yea us! And yea to all of you for supporting WORD for another awesome year. Here’s what we have planned for the month:

Thurs. March 4, 7:30 PM: I Love New York: 5 Minute Series storytelling night, hosted by Chairmen of the Bored, a great group of creative literary folks (who all met while playing basketball at WORD.) Sign up to tell a 5 minute tale and come for the fun (and the beer!)

Thurs. March 11, 7:30 PM: Author Amelia Klem Osterud will read from and discuss her new book THE TATTOOED LADY. We’ll have fake tattoos too, of course!

Sat. March 13, 3:00 PM: Our next YA Not? will feature Carrie Ryan, author of the new book, THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES. Zombie donuts will be served. Our YA Not series is an ongoing literary salon for not-so-young adults. But YA fans of all ages are invited to attend.

Thurs. March 18, 7:30 PM: The first of two indie press nights we have planned for March, this one features several authors with new works from Vulgar Marsala, Two-Handed Engine, Emergency Press and MFG Imprint. Readings from: Jesi Bender, Chad Faries, Lisa A. Flowers and Cesca Janece Waterfield.

Wed. March 24, 7:30 PM: Museyon Guides and Jauntsetter host Russian Night at WORD! Featuring Russian rocker Mike ‘Vivisector’ Antipow, frontman of  Gulag Tunes; singer-songwriter Alina Simone, your guide to Russian chanson in Music + Travel Worldwide; and Laurel Maury, who uncovers Russian film locations in Film + Travel Europe. Budem zdorovy!

Fri. March 26, 7:30 PM: Indie Press Night with Tin House, featuring Geoffrey Becker, author of Hot Springs, Keith Lee Morris, author of Call It What You Want and Steve Almond, Tin House contributor and author of the upcoming release, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life.

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29. Venus in the Kitchen Cocktail Party

Local Greenpointer Jessica Reed has created this beautiful menu and will be serving up the items on it for our Venus in the Kitchen cocktail party on February 11th. Won’t you join us?

About Jessica Reed and Time Table:

Jessica Reed is a Greenpoint-based artist, writer, and amateur culinary historian interested in the intersections between food, history, art, and culture. Time Table, her most recent project, invites guests to taste the past at small gatherings serving food and drink made from period recipes, and utilizing period serving pieces and decorative elements whenever possible. Her ambition is to bring people together with food as a means of connecting with our shared history. Learn more here (soon!)

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30. February Events at WORD

From Eat When You Feel Sad to The Art of Eating In, we’ve got a nice collection of new titles that will be featured at WORD author events in February. Sandwiched between these two, you’ll find much more, including one fun vintage Valentine themed event too! Let’s get right to list then, shall we?

Tuesday, February 9, 7:30 pm: Melville House launch party for Zachary German’s Eat When You Feel Sad, hosted by Tao Lin. Facebook RSVP. Wine will be served.

Thursday, February 11, 7:30 pm: We’ve partnered with Jessica Reed of Time Table to host a special cocktail party featuring aphrodisiac food and drink from the 1952 book, Venus in the Kitchen: Or Love’s Cookery Book. Come single or with a sweetie and spend some time sampling love potions of the early 50’s. We can’t make any promises on the power of these wacky concoctions—but we can promise a good time. Feel free to dress the part, though modern-day attire is just fine. There will be Fritters of Elderflower, Marmalade of Carnations, and Lovage, on the Rocks – you don’t want to miss this! See the “historic” menu for the event here and reserve your spot (Tickets are $5, no book purchase required but they will be available for sale.) Facebook RSVP.

Friday, February 19, 7:30 pm: We’ll celebrate the release of two new Harper Perennial titles with reading/Q&A, and some wine (of course!) Kevin Sampsell, Portland indie bookseller, will read from his new memoir, A Common Pornography and Brooklyn author Justin Taylor, will read from his debut story collection Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever. Facebook RSVP.

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31. WORD celebrates Greenpoint (and only partially because we have to)

Photo by Flickr user Dan_DC.

So, you’ve probably heard by now: the G train isn’t going to be running AT ALL for the next four weekends. From 10:30pm Friday to 5am Monday, starting this weekend, no G going anywhere. Which, if you’re a Greenpointer, effectively strands you here, unless you feel like walking to the L (blegh), taking the brand-new B62 (double blegh) or taking the sure-to-be-on-time shuttle buses that will replace the G.

We know. We were depressed too. But then we just decided to make our little corner of Greenpoint more awesome than usual to compensate! For the next four weekends, we’re going to do something special every Saturday and give you some more good reasons to love spending the weekend in Greenpoint.

This weekend, here’s what we’re featuring:

Bananagrams tournament Saturday afternoon! Bananagrams in the basement this Saturday, 1/16, starting at 3pm. One of the most loved games in Greenpoint, tournament-style! Come if you’re an expert or if you’ve never played, because it’s easy to learn and there’s enough luck involved that anybody can compete. Or just come for the banana-themed baked goods.

Bananagrams discount! Saturday 1/16 and Sunday 1/17 only, 10% off your very own Bananagrams. You will not regret it, we promise.

Stay-at-home book discount! All weekend, we’ll have a table of books worth staying home with: a few great novels, a few DIY and craft books, and so on. All books on the table will be 10% off.

MetroCard raffle! All weekend, buy raffle tickets for $1 each to win a $20 MetroCard, which you’ll be able to use from your favorite neighborhood again someday, we’re sure. All proceeds from the raffle will go to the Greenpoint Food Pantry.

We’ve got more tricks up our collective sleeve for the next three weekends, but let us know if you have any ideas—we’d love to hear what else you’d like us to do.

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32. Greenpoint soup swap at WORD

Are you starting to feel it? The sun sets before 5pm. You have to wear a hat everywhere, even indoors a lot of the time. You are finding yourself wondering if August was really as bad as everybody said. It is that sad time of the year when ice cream loses its appeal. There is only one thing that can save us from the pits of despondency and vitamin D deficiency.


Photo by flickr user Pabo76.

That’s right! Soup, soup of all kinds. Veggie, egg drop, chili, lentil, three bean, Italian meatball, tomato, borscht, chicken noodle, miso…obviously, I could go on for awhile. But I won’t, because even better than soup is when other people make it for you. And that’s why WORD is hosting:


Next Saturday, January 23 is the fourth National Soup Swap Day, and we’re going to get Greenpoint in on the action. The concept of a soup swap is simple: you bring six one-quart containers of the same homemade soup, preferably one that freezes well. You leave with six different kinds of homemade soup made by other attendees. Easy as pie…er, soup!

The fun starts at 2pm on 1/23 in the WORD basement, and there’s only one requirement (aside from the bringing 6 quarts of soup part): you must, MUST RSVP to stephanie@wordbrooklyn.com by 1/22 in order to attend. So crack open your How to Cook Everything and RSVP today!

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33. Winners of our six-word memoir contest!

Thanks so much to everyone who came out last night! Pictures to come on our Flickr shortly. For now, just imagine our basement full of beautiful people laughing and smiling.

Without further ado, our four winning six-word writing memoir entries:

“Landlady still refuses prose for rent.” — Mikki Halpin

“Erotica: What’s another word for ‘penis?’” — Grace Bello

“Procrastinating on novel? Start a blog!” — Jake Roren

“Write without inhibition, edit rigorously, repeat.” — Erin McInnis

Is one of those entries yours? If so, email info@wordbrooklyn.com toot sweet to claim your prize. Thanks to everyone who entered!

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34. WORD Top 50 for 2009

What a fine, fine list! Many books on here from fantastic events and book club meetings, along just plain good taste on the part of y’all. Take a gander and relive the high points of 2009 at WORD. (All links lead you to the WORD website, the better to buy and catch up on the books you missed!)

1. Green Porno by Isabella Rossellini

2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

3. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

4. The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway

5. The Will to Whatevs: A Guide to Modern Life by Eugene Mirman

6. Taxi Confidential: Life, Death, and 3 A.M. Revelations in New York City Cabs by Amy Braunschweiger

7. Organic and Chic: Cakes, Cookies and Other Sweets That Taste As Good As They Look by Sarah Magid

8. The Gastronomy of Marriage: A Memoir of Food and Love by Michelle Maisto

9. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

10. Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town by Elyssa East

11. Forking Fantastic! by Zora O’Neill and Tamara Reynolds

12. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

13. An American Childhood by Annie Dillard

14. Charlatan: American’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock

15. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

16. A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

17. Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

18. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

19. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

20. In CHEAP We Trust: The Story of a Misunderstood American Virtue by Lauren Weber

21. The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante

22. Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein

23. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

24. Mannahatta by Eric Sanderson

25. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

26. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

27. Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem

28. The Blind Assassin

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35. January Events at WORD

We’re starting off the new year with a solid schedule of events! There is a mix of book launches, readings and some special non-author programs too. All the details are on our calendar and here’s a summary of what’s coming up:

Tues. 1/5 at 7:30 pm: Launch Party for IT ALL CHANGED IN AN INSTANT: MORE SIX-WORD MEMOIRS - Hear from contributors to the latest book in the popular series from Smith Magazine, plus we’ll announce the winners of our own 6-WORD contest. All this, and wine too – join us!

Wed. 1/13 at 7:30 pm: Julie Powell will read from and discuss her new book, CLEAVING: A STORY OF MARRIAGE, MEAT AND OBSESSION.

Thurs. 1/14 at 7:30 pm: Witty Women Writers at WORD! Bloggers, performers and writers Sara Barron, Doree Shafrir and Claire Zulkey read from their humorous books.

Sat. 1/16 at 3 pm: Bananagrams in the Basement! We’re obsessed with this fast-paced anagram game – it’s like Scrabble without the board (or those pesky points). Join us for some afternoon Bananagrams WORD play…and some banana-themed edibles. Yum.

Wed. 1/20 at 7:30 pm: Esther Smith demos some of the fantastic crafting projects in her latest book, THE PAPER BRIDE. Great tips for brides-to-be, wedding planners or any crafty spirits.

Thurs. 1/21 at 8 pm: Join us at The Diamond Bar for an 80’s music mixer to celebrate our Between the Covers matchmaking board. All book lovers are invited to mingle (and dance, of course). DJ RUSSCOMM (who loves Bret Easton Ellis and went on two dates as a result of our matchmaking board) will spin the tunes. Drink specials, raffle prizes, and literary love jokes throughout the night.

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36. WORD fantasy football playoffs

Can it really be playoff time already? In fact, it is. Though my team (Phantom Replay Booth) did not make the playoffs, I am happy to report that this weekend there will be two WORD fantasy league match-ups. Number one-ranked Ed Reed is a Lonely Hunter will play against number four Oak Street Crazies, and number two-ranked Catchers in the Rye will give it their all against 2666 All-Purpose Yards. Place your bets in the comments.

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37. Holiday Hours, Signed Books and more!

It’s crunch time! How are you doing with your gift-getting so far? Don’t forget to consult our gift guide, even more gift recommendations and our growing collection of signed books in stock – this list changes daily, but as of right now we have new signed copies by a host of authors, including Peter Brown, A.J. Jacobs, Michelle Knudsen, Alice Munro, Isabella Rossellini and many more.

We’re extending our hours just a bit to offer you some extra shopping time – and we’ll be closed a few days too. Here is our store schedule for the upcoming holidays:

Open until 9 pm:
Wednesday, Dec. 16 – Wednesday, Dec. 23

Dec. 24:  Open 10 am – 5 pm
Dec. 25 & Dec. 26: CLOSED

Dec. 31: CLOSED (for inventory)
Jan. 1: CLOSED

We’re also taking a break with events until the new year — except for one more program we are hosting this Friday evening, Dec. 18th: It’s a writing workshop with Stephen Elliott, On Creating the Adderall Diaries. You can register on our website here.

Finally, don’t forget: We have here a set of signed Twilight hardcovers (all four books!) that we will be raffling away until 12/21. Each raffle ticket costs $1, and all proceeds will go to the Greenpoint Food Pantry. Stop by anytime between now and the end of the day 12/21 to buy one ticket, or as many as you like. We’ll announce the winner on the morning of 12/22, and hopefully will make somebody’s Christmas or Kwanzaa extra special (or perhaps provide a late but amazing Hanukkah present!)

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38. December Events at WORD

In between holiday parties and family gatherings, why not spend a few of the remaining days of 2009 at some literary events hosted by your friendly indie bookstore? We’ve got several options for your December calendar. Come visit us for great gift ideas, and stay for an event! Here’s what WORD has planned for the last month of the decade:

We start things off tomorrow (12/1) with a launch party for Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town. It’s going to be a packed house! If you can’t make the event, join us at The Diamond Bar afterwards, where you can meet author Elyssa East.

Next up is Thursday’s event (12/3) with funny man David Ellis Dickerson, author of House of Cards: Love, Faith and Other Social Expressions and mastermind behind Greeting Card Emergencies. Dave has created special cards where Hallmark has failed us – his video creations include cards for coming out, the recession and the zombie apocalypse. Because everyone needs a card for that!

What card do YOU need this holiday season that you can’t find? Email us at kelly@wordbrooklyn.com before Thurs. night and David will try to create just the card for you at the event!

Then this weekend we are hosting a Holiday Open House! We thought it would be fun (for you and us) if we invited some of our favorite authors to hang out at the store – they will sign copies of their books, share gift recommendations, and help out with bagging and wrapping gifts. We’ll have snacks and a gift wrap station downstairs. We’ve got authors scheduled from 1-5 pm on Saturday, Dec. 5th and again on Sunday Dec. 6th – click on each date to see who will be here.

There’s much more…after the jump:

Next week we’ve got three events in a row – an exciting Isabella Rossellini appearance, sandwiched between two holiday crafting even

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39. Grilled Cheese in Greenpoint; Free Bird in Red Hook

duchessWhat’s better than a warm grilled cheese sandwich and milk on a cold autumn afternoon? How about grilled cheese and milk from vendors of the Greenpoint Food Market. Or how about grilled cheese and milk with a story? Yup – we thought you’d like all of this, so we planned it! For this Sunday at 2 pm!

We’re hosting a reading for kids, but are encouraging grilled cheese lovers of all ages to join us for the story time – since it comes with a snack too! (We all love grilled cheese, right?) Brooklyn author/illustrator duo of Randall and Peter de Sève will read from and sign copies of The Duchess of Whimsy, a wonderful tale about a fancy lady who loves her grilled cheese! We’ve partnered with vendors of the Greenpoint Food Market and other local businesses to have grilled cheese sandwiches and milk available for everyone. See our events page for links to all the folks helping to make this possible – and please join us on Sunday afternoon for a filling reading! (RSVP not required but appreciated from Facebook users so we know you are planning to join us.)

free-bird-marciano(2)-750501This event is also part of a larger collaboration for Independent Bookstore Week NYC – we have teamed up with our friends at Freebird Books in Red Hook to host simultaneous events that promote buying books and food from local businesses. Freebird will literally be giving away free bird (that has been “moxied”) at the same time we are snacking on grilled cheese. They will also host a reading with John Bemelmans Marciano, Freebird customer and author of the recently released work, Anonyponymous. You can read all about the great event they have planned here. In the indie spirit, we hope some of you are inspired to visit both our stores on Sunday — choose which event appeals to you (and your tummy) the most, and then plan to take the B61 or your bike to visit the other store before/or after the event you attend.

We know, we know…it’s a lot of information to digest for a Sunday afternoon…but that’s all part of our foodie theme for the day right? Eat something local in Greenpoint or Red Hook, hear a literary reading, and maybe even buy a book too? We hope to see some of you for grilled cheese a la Greenpoint Food Market on Sunday. We can’t wait!

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40. WORD on Wednesdays: 11 November 2009


WORD on Wednesday, 11 November 2009.

Happy Wednesday! You’ll see that Jonathan Safran Foer, Jonathan Lethem, Jane Gardam, Street Gang, and The City Out My Window are still hanging out on the front table. Not a ton of new releases for us this week, so there’s a lot in common with previous weeks. But you didn’t click on this post to hear about what’s still the same.

First, let’s have a big round of applause for the return of Asterios Polyp, which is basically half the world’s favorite graphic novel (if not favorite novel, period) of the year! (The other half the world seems to have chosen Stitches, if you were wondering.) We could not be happier about its return. Hopefully it stays in stock through Christmas, because we plan on selling as many as possible. It, and that gorgeous shade of purple, get to sit on top.

Also new this week, though it’s hard to see it in the picture, is Zadie Smith’s new collection of essays, Changing My Mind. Do click on that link (or you know, visit the store) to check out the cover, which is lovely. The paperback of In Other Rooms, Other Wonders is also out, and highly recommended by WORD staff. It’s not a National Book Award nominee for nothing.

The last few weeks have been packed with BEST OF collections, and this week, we’re happy to be featuring the latest, from Dalkey Archive, Best European Fiction 2010. This is the first such collection from Dalkey, and it’s star-studded, assuming your idea of a star is Jean-Phillippe Toussaint, Victor Pelevin, or Christine Montalbetti. Keeping in the European vein, we also have The English American, by Alison Larkin. And a book about Russia by a Brit: Sashenka, by Simon Montefiore.

We hope we’ll see you for First Independent Bookstore Week NYC over the next seven days!


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41. Words Wanted.

We know you have things to say. So we’re giving you TWO chances to do so:

Speak out about what you believe OR write about where you love. Or do both! We’ve got two events coming up in the next ten days that require YOUR words. Your voice. Your 2 cents. And you will be rewarded with prizes at both! Here’s the scoop:

It’s Obsolete! Or is it…?


Cursive writing, privacy, blind dates, body hair, getting lost, blackboards, wristwatches, writing letters, video stores and full words — these places, items and ideas are gone or slipping away from us, according to the new book Obsolete: An Encyclopedia of Once-Common Things Passing Us By.

What do you think? Come join our debate about the obsolescence of formerly everyday ideas and objects. Take a  stand for or against the obsolescence of a particular item or idea that you are passionate about. Stop by the shop and take a look at the book or check out author Anna Jane Grossman’s OBSOLETE website, and then let us know what you want to speak about (1-2 minutes) at the event, which is this Thursday, November 12 at 7:30 pm.

Faye Penn of Brokelyn will moderate the debate and award the best debater with gift certificates from WORD and Permanent Records. Because books and vinyl aren’t obsolete…right?

Contact us via Facebook (write your debate topic on our wall), via twitter at @wordbrooklyn or via email: kelly@wordbrooklyn.com — we guess you could call us or write to us too…if you still actually use a phone or paper. (That’s 718-383-0096 and 126 Franklin St. Brooklyn NY 11222)

Neighborhood by Neighborhood Essay Contest
statebystateWrite some love for your favorite part of NYC and win a gift certificate to WORD plus an autographed copy of State by State!

On November 18th at 7:30 pm (during the First Independent Bookstore Week NYC), we’re hosting an event to celebrate the paperback release of State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America, a wonderful collection of essays from acclaimed writers, about the states they love.

We’re sponsoring a contest in the same spirit – called Neighborhood by Neighborhood — write an essay (500-1000 words) about your favorite neighborhood in New York City: from Washington Heights to Vinegar Hill to, of course – Greenpoint! Open to high school students and up. (We will pick student and adult winners in various categories, based on the entries we receive.)

Send submissions to kelly@wordbrooklyn.com by November 12th to be entered. Winners get an autographed copy of the book, a gift certificate to WORD and a chance to read their piece at the event. You don’t need to be present to enter or win – so send your entry even if you can’t make it on Nov. 18th. We’d love to read your essay about your favorite NYC place.

The event will include a discussion about the book and the process of collaborating on the anthology with editor Sean Wilsey and writer Jed Lipinski. Facebook RSVP for this event here.

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42. YA NOT? takes on sex, drugs, vampires, and other fun stuff


L to R: Libba Bray, Robin Wasserman, and Carolyn MacCullough

Last night we had our fourth installment of YA NOT?: a literary salon for not-so-young adults, and hosted not one, not two, but THREE fantastic YA authors. It was the sort of evening that started with the reveal that originally the authors had intended to name the evening “Hookers and Blow,” and ended with Robin recommending that everyone in the audience eat fruit.

Some highlights:

Robin, on being asked what, if anything, she takes into consideration about her readers when writing, and whether YA authors have an obligation to think about their stories having a moral: “What is writing a book, anyway, if it’s not trying to convince people that this is the way the world is and this is how you should feel about it? Authors who write for adults do the same thing. They just don’t call it a moral.”

Libba, after being asked if being a parent has changed her mind about whether there is any content truly unacceptable in YA fiction and if there’s anything she wouldn’t let her son read: “I mean, are you asking if I’m worried my kid is going to go off and read books that are too grown-up for him? Because no, no I’m not at all concerned about my kid sneaking away and secretly READING.”

On the responsibilities of YA authors, Carolyn said: “The only responsibility authors have is to their story.”

And Robin said: “I think the only obligation we have is to acknowledge that books change people’s lives. We can’t control reader reaction to our books, good or bad. But we need to remember that our words matter.”

In case you were wondering which superpowers each authors would go for: Libba wants to be fluent in all languages. Robin wants teleportation. And Carolyn wants to be able to rewind time.

Perhaps the highlight of the evening, however, was Carolyn’s introduction of the word “spoony” to the proceedings (and to most of the attendees). Though none of us had heard of it beforehand—and Robin adamantly protested against its very existence—it nonetheless came to dominate the evening and appear in the answer to almost every question.

Unfortunately for Robin, though, it is a very well-documented word. Here, for example, is the Merriam-Webster entry: “silly, foolish; especially : unduly sentimental.” It’s also in the Routledge Dictionary of Contemporary Slang, along with this delightful example of usage: “I felt rather spoony upon that vixen.” The final nail in the coffin, however, is its use in David Copperfield, and yet another fantastic sentence: “ 2 Comments on YA NOT? takes on sex, drugs, vampires, and other fun stuff, last added: 11/6/2009

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43. WORD on Wednesdays: 4 November 2009

2009-11-04 16.18.45

WORD on Wednesday, 4 November 2009.

New this week on WORD’s front table!

Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer. I loved this book, as a fellow vegetarian who sometimes caves and eats me. It’s basically The Omnivore’s Dilemma, except with a more distinct point-of-view (spoiler alert: factory farms are BAD NEWS). Safran Foer’s love of language and for craft is evident in this book, and strengthens his argument. Already selling very well here! Even to meat-eaters. Another book that’s selling delightfully well is The Book of Basketball, by Bill Simmons (mostly thanks to members of our basketball league). Highly recommended for what we now know is a substantial portion of Greenpoint: the book-loving basketball nerds.

Now in paperback, And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks by Kerouac and Burroughs, two gold-star names here at WORD. Also newly in paperback is John Hodgman’s More Information Than You Require. We all liked him already, but recently he said we seem like decent sorts on Twitter, and now we love him, so he gets a big stack in the middle of the table! There’s the new second edition of The Physics of Superheroes, which is obviously super cool. And there’s a new volume of Granta’s Book of the American Short Story that is about three inches thick and perfect for upcoming snow days.

The most fondled book of the week, though, is definitely The City Outside My Window: 63 Views on New York. This is just gorgeous, gorgeous. 63 sketches of, well, the view out the windows of famous and average New Yorkers. It is pretty much irresistible. I invite you to come in and fondle it as well!

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44. WORD on Wednesdays: 14 October 2009

(Not sure what this blog post is about? Click here.)

Front table at WORD, 14 October 2009.

This week! Released yesterday and towering over the front table like the colossus of New York literature that is Jonathan Lethem,  ladies-and-gentlemen-may-I-present-to-you, Chronic City. Michiko might not have liked it, but, though we acknowledge some of her complaints, we did. This was one of our biggest buys of the season and we have high hopes for it.

Sarah Vowell and Audrey Niffenegger (hers is the book that’s so shiny you can’t tell what the cover looks like) are still hanging out up front, as is Charles Bukowski. Nobody’s bought the new Bukowski, which surprises me, given how his other books sell. They tend to sell in waves, though. We’ll give it a little more time. Same thing with Byatt, selling pretty well, and Orwell. The Michael Chabon Manhood for Amateurs was a late addition last week, in time for the weekend. He’s another very popular author around here. Eggers’ The Wild Things is sticking around at least through opening weekend for the film.

As for the new stuff: I’m most excited about “the first uncensored edition” of In The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Having never read it, I have no idea why I am so excited about it. But I am. I’m pretty sure our customers will be too; classics sell very well for us, and I’ve noticed more Russian classics selling in the last few months (draw your own conclusions about that, as I have none).

Barbara Ehrenrich’s new book about the perils of positive thinking, Bright-Sided, was released this week. Also new to the store this week: The Book of Fathers, by Miklos Vamos. I know very little about this book, but it looks good, and I have faith in the publisher (Other Press). And Further Adventures, by Jon Stephen Fink, a re-release that I’ve heard several people get excited about. Oh, and it’s Best-XXXXXXXX-2009 collection time, so we’re featuring Best Music Writing 2009 up front, though we have all of them in the store.

The other two new books on the table aren’t new in the sense that they came out this week, but they’re books that I want people to give a second look. The first, Museum Legs, starts with this question: “Why do people get bored and tired in art museums and why does that matter?” Pretty cool premise, no? The other is Leaving Brooklyn, by Lynne Sharon Schwartz. A lovely novel about post-WWII Brooklyn that I think has been overlooked.

Personally, I’m not crazy about the color mix of these books, but what can you do. What do you think?

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45. When You Reach Me

Last night, we hosted author Rebecca Stead and her editor, Wendy Lamb for the latest installment in our YA NOT? series (a literary salon for not-so-young adults). They have the sort of editor-author relationship that makes us feel good about being in the book industry. This business is all about relationships, in many ways—our relationship with our customers, an author’s relationship with hir readers, and so on—but it all starts with the author and the editor. As they discussed quite a bit last night, every editor approaches each author a bit differently. And the approach that Wendy and Rebecca have taken together is, much like Rebecca’s books, magical and impressive.

Some highlights from their conversation last night:

—Rebecca talked about this TED talk with author Elizabeth Gilbert about inspiration, and mentioned an ancient idea that inspiration is a matter of “catching the serpent.” You have to reach up to grab it, and if you get its tail, you can reel it back in and make something with it, but if you miss it, it’s gone forever.

—Wendy, on how authors are like dogs: “Some authors are work dogs. They just keep working and working and working on a book until you just want to take it away from them before they mess it up. And other authors are like companion dogs. They need you to sit next to them and call them to see how they’re doing.” And Rebecca? Well, Wendy said she’s a lovely combination of the two.

—Rebecca, on why she writes for kids: “I love that children are still at a point where they are thinking about the big questions of life and trying to figure things out. They’re not jaded yet. I don’t think it would be possible for me to write for a jaded reader. I guess I can write for kids and adults having a mid-life crisis: people who are open to thinking about big ideas and wondering about life.”

—The best mail Rebecca has gotten in response to her latest book, When You Reach Me, is regarding a small idea in the book that she didn’t think most people would notice. She discusses the idea of a veil, that we all walk around with this invisible veil in front of our faces and go about our day, but every once in awhile it lifts up, and suddenly we can see the bigger picture, see the connections, and feel some peace about the way things are.  ”A surprising number of kids are writing to me to tell me how much they identify with that idea. Which I think is very encouraging!”

Those are just a few snippets from last night’s conversation, which we loved almost (almost!) as much as we adore When You Reach Me and First Light. What about other folks who came out in the blustery rain? What was your favorite part?

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46. WORD at Unleash: Looking for Calvin & Hobbes

unleashIn honor of October being Adopt-A-Dog Month, on Saturday, October 24 at 7 pm,
Unleash: Brooklyn and WORD will host an evening featuring Nevin Martell, author of the newly released book, Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip.

Nevin Martell traces the life and career of the extraordinary, influential, and intensely private man behind Calvin and Hobbes. With input from a wide range of artists and writers (including Dave Barry, Harvey Pekar, Jonathan Lethem, and Brad Bird) as well as some of Watterson’s closest friends and professional colleagues, this is as close as we’re ever likely to get to one of America’s most ingenious and intriguing figures – and a fascinating detective story, at the same time.

calvinJoin us at Unleash - Brooklyn’s 7,000 square foot eco-friendly loft offering one of the most spacious daycare and boarding facilities for cats and dogs in New York City. RSVP for the event here on Facebook.

Unleash is home to District Dog, a natural and organic shop for food, treats, toys and accessories; Dog Habitat, a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating abandoned and unwanted dogs; and training classes are offered by Denise Herman from Empire of the Dog. Later this year, Unleash: Brooklyn will be home to a holistic veterinary clinic.

Come celebrate the friendship between mankind and their furry friends while learning about the elusive creator of one of the most beloved comic strips of all time. Looking for Calvin and Hobbes is an affectionate and revealing book about uncovering the story behind this most uncommon trio – a man, a boy and his tiger.

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47. This book is obsolete (or is it?)

2009-10-19 12.15.17

A funny thing happened when we put this book on the counter.

“Hahaha,” a customer would say, looking at the cover. “Hahahaha, it’s true! Hitchhikers are obsolete. Oh yeah, same thing with lickable stamps. Ha! Yeah, I haven’t gotten lost since I got my iPhone. And also…”

And then, always the same fateful pause.

“Wait!” the same customer would say, voice turning from amused to saddened. “Cursive writing is nor obsolete! I still write in cursive everyday! None of my friends do, but…”

This happened so many times that we lost count. Except insert writing letters, film, smoking, bald spots, books, arcades, and hyphenated last names for cursive writing in that last bit. The book is hilarious! And then, suddenly, not so funny. People feel compelled to defend their favorite obsolete things!

(In particular, we’ve noticed an astonishing number of customers who, under their breath, notify us that phone sex is most certainly NOT obsolete, thank you very much, and in fact it was alive and well in their apartment just two weeks previous. Which, wow, alrighty!)

Anyway, this has been so much fun for us that we decided to make an event out of it. A debating event! You’ll have the chance to defend your rapidly-obsolescing item in front of a crowd, and maybe even save it from extinction.

You can speak out in defense of:

–keeping plans (and making dates)

–niche publications




–dying of old age

–body hair

Or any of the other items in the encyclopedia! Just drop by the store to look through, RSVP on Facebook, or email info@wordbrooklyn.com to save your spot (and your item). You can also get inspiration from the tumblr page for the book. See you there…unless maybe really fun book events are already obsolete?

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48. WORD on Wednesdays: 21 October 2009

WORD on Wednesday, 21 October 2009.

WORD on Wednesday, 21 October 2009.

The Lethem still towers. Thanks for that, Michiko. But it’s getting a rave from the NYTBR on Sunday, so here’s hoping it starts to move after that. Niffenegger shines on from the middle of the table, and In The First Circle is apparently very intimidating, but I know it will find its readers soon!

There are four books on the table this week that we’re super-excited by. The first is The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman, now in paperback. We all LOVE her, and love this book.  Two of us also love Jane Gardam’s book Old Filth, so we couldn’t resist a stack of The Man in the Wooden Hat, which has the same characters as Old Filth, but is told from the perspective of his wife. There’s Look at the Birdie, a new collection of some of Kurt Vonnegut’s early stories that have never been published before, which is FANTASTIC, no surprise. And best of all, Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street is finally in paperback as well. We were sure it would appeal to adults, but interestingly, almost every kid over the age of two has walked in the store and beelined for it. It’s nice to see that Sesame Street will probably not be going the way of Reading Rainbow.

Also new: Chuck Klosterman’s Eating the Dinosaur, which is already drawing a lot of attention. The fourth volume of Paris Review interviews, which are usually great and sell very well here. And Ten Storey Love Song, as I have a soft spot for books that take chances, and this is a novel that is all one very very long paragraph.

Oh wait! Almost forgot to mention the new Not For Tourists NYC 2010! These are our best-selling guides to the city by far, probably because not many tourists make it to Greenpoint. Well, that’s actually not totally true. For some reason a lot of Brits come in the store, and ever since we were in a Japanese women’s magazine, more Japanese tourists are making the trip as well. But either way, these sell very well, and we personally are big fans of the guides as well, so it’s great to have the new edition (although we wait with baited breath for the new NFT Brooklyn).

As a professed book cover addict, I would be remiss if I did not include this picture as well, to share with the other book cover addicts out there:

2009-10-21 17.11.09

This is, I think, the third round in the Penguin Great Ideas series, where they repackage a number of seminal works of philosophy, social science, etc. They have such beautiful covers that sometimes I just stand in front of them and look at them for a few minutes. Sad but true. If they didn’t have a display, they definitely would have made the front table, so I’m including them as well. Please come by and check them out, letterpress friends. You might just want to frame them and hang them up.

2009-10-21 17.17.16

Ach, just too gorgeous!

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49. WORD on Wednesdays: 28 October 2009


2009-10-28 14.24.15

WORD on Wednesday 28 October 2009

Maintaining a berth on the table this week: Lethem (Chronic City), Kalman (The Principles of Uncertainty), Gardam (The Man in the Wooden Hat), Eggers (The Wild Things), Vonnegut (Look at the Birdie), and the Paris Review Interviews, volume 4. And Street Gang, which I finished last week and just loved, aside from a few minor quibbles. If you were raised on Sesame Street, you really should check it out. (We have a number of other great Sesame Street books in too, since it’s the fortieth anniversary of the show this year.)

New: Paul Auster’s Invisible. A couple of us have read it already and loved it. Already selling well. Remake It Home: The Essential Guide to Resourceful Living; I admit I don’t quite understand what this book is all about, but I have a feeling that folks more acquainted with DIY and design principles (aka half our customers) will. Life After Genius by M. Ann Jacoby, because I love the cover and because it sounds delightful. Now The Drum Of War: Walt Whitman and His Brothers in the Civil War, because jeez, how can any book-lovin’ history nerd resist that? Especially because it’s primarily based on their letters. Panic, Michael Lewis’ collection of articles dealing with recent financial history, because I know how much people love to buy depressing books on the weekend. And Eat, Memory: Great Writers at the Table, because food lit is so popular at WORD that it has its own section (unlike sports, philosophy and religion).

Two of the new books are particularly close to my heart. First, All Cakes Considered. Look, I don’t even like cake very much, and I don’t really like baking it, either, because there’s no room for error and I hate following recipes closely. That said, I love this book. We all love this book. It is hilarious, the recipes are easy to follow (and laid out in order of difficulty), and the pictures are so good you will lick them. Melissa Grey, NPR’s Cake Lady, made a new cake every week for a year for her co-workers at NPR, and this cookbook has all the things you like about NPR (interesting factoids, ability to make complex matters understandable) and none of the things you don’t (pledge drives).

Second, Mentors, Muses & Monsters: 30 Writers on the People Who Changed Their Lives. I love hearing these sorts of stories. And just reading one essay from this book will probably sell you on it, so let me present Alexander Chee’s essay on studying under Annie Dillard. So good. Enjoy!

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50. November is Participatory Events Month at WORD!

Philosophizing, interviewing, debating, eating, writing and crafting – Each event we have planned at WORD for November has some special interactive component to it that puts YOU dear friend, in the driver’s seat so to speak. Was this intentional? Not exactly. But we do strive to serve as more than just your local independent bookstore – we are a gathering place for all sorts of community events, and we love hosting programs that offer you a chance to get involved with goings-on in the neighborhood. We’re a hub for great books, plus so much more – thanks often to you – readers, writers, shoppers, creators – and the great event ideas you propose and participate in with us.

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These photos are from some fun “hands-on” events we held recently at the store – painting with Hit Factorie, creating with Crafternoon and potlucking with Forking Fantastic! We hope that some of what we have planned for this upcoming month may also spark you to action – Stand up for what you believe in! Write about what you love! Support local businesses and non-profits! Talk to us about what you’re reading!

All the November event details after the jump – please be in touch and let us know what and how you’d like to participate. We look forward to seeing you in the store soon!

Here is a summary of what’s on tap for November at WORD. Get the complete details about all of these programs on our events page and on the Facebook RSVP pages for the individual events. All of our events are FREE and do not require an RSVP, but we always appreciate them from Facebook users :)

9780670020836hhippo1Tuesday, November 3, 7:30 pm: Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates Daniel Klein and Thomas Cathcart explore what the great theologians, psychotherapists, and wiseguys have to say about life, death and the hereafter. Featuring Freud! Groucho Marx! Lily Tomlin! Woody Allen! Zombies! and more! Join us for the enlightened duo’s only Brooklyn appearance. RSVP

n184617225707_7955Thursday, November 5, 7:30 pm: Our next YA NOT? event will feature Sex, Drugs & Vampires – as well as authors Libba Bray (Going Bovine), Carolyn MacCullough (Once a Witch,) and Robin Wasserman (Skinned), discussing the new landscape of young adult fiction. As a special twist, not only will our authors interview each other, they will solicit questions from the audience in advance that will be randomly selected from a hat and answered during the event. Send your questions to stephanie@wordbrooklyn.com or tweet them to us @wordbrooklyn RSVP

obsoleteThursday, November 12, 7:30 pm: It’s Obsolete! Or is it? Come debate the obsolescense of formerly everyday ideas and objects with Anna Jane Grossman, author of Obsolete: An Encyclopedia of Once-Common Things Passing Us By. We invite you to spend a few minutes stating your case in agreement or against the author’s collection of obsolete items and topics. Get more info here and sign up to debate: email obsoletethebook@gmail.com or kelly@wordbrooklyn.com RSVP

As part of the First Independent Bookstore Week NYC (Nov 15-21) WORD will be hosting two special events:

duchessSunday, November 15, 2 pm: ***Kids’ Event*** Reading of The Duchess of Whimsey with Brooklyn author/illustrator team Randall and Peter de Sève. The Greenpoint Food Market will provide grilled cheese sandwiches and milk during storytime. This event is also part of the B61 Read and Ride we have organized with Freebird Books. Get all the info on this shop local, eat local collaboration here. Make a day of it – Ride the B61 bus from Greenpoint to Red Hook (or vice versa) and support indie bookstores and local food producers along the way! RSVP

statebystateWednesday, November 18, 7:30 pm: Editor Sean Wilsey plus contributor guests celebrate the paperback release of State by State, a wonderful collection of essays from acclaimed writers, about the states they love. WORD is hosting a writing contest in the same spirit: Neighborhood by Neighborhood. Write a short essay about your favorite part of NYC: from Washington Heights to Vinegar Hill to Greenpoint! Send submissions to kelly@wordbrooklyn.com by November 6th. Winner gets an autographed copy of the book, a WORD gift certificate and a chance to read their winning piece at the event. RSVP

Our final event for the month is a pre-Thanksgiving charitable Crafternoon!

crafternoon1Sunday, November 22, 2-4 pm: Thankful Giving Crafternoon! Join Maura Madden, author of Crafternoon, for an afternoon of crafting for a good cause. Crafters of all ages are welcome to help us make Thanksgiving cards and decorations for the food pantry at the Greenpoint Reformed Church. Want to do some crafty homework? Donate a handknit or crocheted hat, scarf, or pair of mittens. And we’ll have some yarn and knitting needles on hand if you need to add a few rows to a scarf or a pompom to a hat. Please bring two cans of food or a handmade winter accessory to the event. RSVP

You can talk to us about participating in any of these events via Twitter @wordbrooklyn or via the emails listed above or just call us at the store or stop in and chat! Don’t forget about book club too, another way to get involved. More info on next month’s selection coming soon!

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