Angelina Venezia


FW Required Reading: Jonathan Baumbach’s YOU or The Invention of Memory


Last weekend we received something extraordinary in the mail from literary publicist Lauren Cerand: a copy of Jonathan Baumbach’s 2007 novel YOU or The Invention of Memory. Why are we telling
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you about it two years later? Cerand and Baumbach just launched a Web site called The New You Project to promote the novel; they’re offering up a free copy of the book to the first 365 people who request it and chronicling their progress online. What makes that so interesting? Most publicists only take on projects prior to a novel’s publication. Cerand herself prefers to begin a year prior. We knew there had to be a special reason she was making an exception.
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Exclusive: Anne Landsman’s Rowing Lesson, an Elegy for Her Dad


We recently finished reading Anne Landsman’s novel The Rowing Lesson, </em
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>an emotionally charged second person novel set in South Africa that chronicles a woman’s vigil over her father’s deathbed, her look back at his life as a doctor and father, and his life before he had children. She crafts impeccable figurative imagery and puts words together with a seemingly incongruous grittiness that simultaneously elevates and robs it of any trace of the literary pretension that can occasionally accompany those metaphors and similes. The Rowing Lesson is a challenging novel, one that begs multiple readings and we had the privilege of asking Landsman a few questions about it. Read our correspondence after the jump.

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As it has only been available since October, we weren’t too surprised we hadn’t spotted a copy of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 on the downtown 1 train; even though Farrar, Straus, and Giroux can boast of what se

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ems like unprecedented buzz for the title. We can’t think of a recent novel that has titillated the literary community this much, and this rapidly. It took Harry Potter and Twilight a few years to catch on, right? Bolaño’s popularity in the United States has gradually risen over the course of the past couple of years, but anticipation for 2666 mounted months before the release.
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Big Brother Book Club: The Professor and the Madwoman


Heading downtown on the 1, we spotted a man engrossed in&nbsp;&lt;em&gt;&lt;a href=””&gt;Wide Sargasso Sea&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/em&gt;&nbsp;by Jean Rhys. If we’re going to play seven degrees of separation, Rhys is two degrees away from Emily Brontë, the star of last week’s column. &lt;em&gt;Wide Sargasso Sea&lt;/em&gt; is a prequel to Charlotte Brontë&nbsp;’s (Emily’s sis) &lt;a href=”… Read More

Exclusive: Elna Baker, Author of The New York Mormon Regional Singles Halloween Dance, On Humiliation and the Art of Smart Storytelling


Remember back when we went to the Indie & Small Press Book Fair and saw the Moth story
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tellers do their thing? Remember the giant fortune cookie-cum-vagina? We got the opportunity to talk with the brave bearer of that costume, Elna Baker, whose first book, The New York Mormon Regional Singles Halloween Dance, is due out next fall. Baker, who started out doing one-woman shows after stunning her NYU professor with her storytelling skills, has been participating in the Moth for the past three years; it has been a life-changing experience that led her to pitch a story to Elle and ultimately land the book deal. She’s told stories at the Moth Mainstage and on This American Life.

After the jump, check out Baker’s advice on everything from finding the right place to write, to what not to say when you’re on a date.
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The Irony of Esquire’s Reading List for Men


As we’ve all noticed, with the end of the year comes the onslaught of “Best of” lists. Blame it on the slow news cycle. Every blog/newspaper/magazine has at least one, although we’ve abstained ourselves and even offered an antidote on the music front. We noticed this morning that Esquire offered up their own gendered version of the list, opting to give its male readership a little required reading homework assigment: The 75 Books Every Man Should Read.

As we clicked through the slide show of titles we noticed all of the usual suspects. Hemingway, Steinbeck, Roth, Mailer; all of whom have had their share of criticism from feminists. Our first thought was sarcastic: “Wow, props for originality Esquire, no not arbitrary at all.”

But then it happened.
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Exclusive: One Allotted Hour of Entertainment


Theatre is one of the toughest industries to break into, for playwrights, actors, and even audiences. Not everyone takes the time to enjoy it, even here in New York City, one of the theatre capitals of the world. While we don’t feel this way, we’re aware that some people consider it to be too expensive, esoteric, and tedious. Especially if they’re under the age of 50.

So when we heard about The Serious Theatre Collective, their inaugural show, One Allotted Hour of Entertainment and its inventive concept, we were intrigued. The group writes plays collaboratively by passing scenes among each member to contribute to, one after the other, until the scene and dialogue are completed. The last performance of the show is tonight at the Knitting Factory. Hear from the company’s Artistic Director, Terry Selucky, after the jump.
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Flavorwire Required Viewing: Slava’s Snowshow


When we read the New York Times review of Slav

a’s Snowshow, we weren’t surprised it was pigeonholed as another family show for kids — something that brings out the kid in every adult, but more importantly, a distraction over the holidays. While it may be the perfect choice for a holiday show (as opposed to this one), not once did it occur to us that it was but a “handmade diversion” to keep transfixed kids at bay. It’s easy to peg it as such, but one shouldn’t underestimate the artistic and theatrical value of the production.
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Big Brother Book Club: Bleak, But Not Seasonal, Classics


Maybe the holidays make people nostalgic in more ways than one, because there were a surprising number of classics on the 1 train this past week. Before you go getting all mushy thinking of Yuletide reads like A Christmas Carol or A Chr
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istmas Memory, let us be clear — the books we spotted were totally depressing. We’re talking about the kind of dark material that will send you spiraling into the dumps just from looking at the cover. You’ve been warned.
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At the Indie & Small Press Book Fair: Kindles, Writers of Weird, and Giant Vaginas


As overwhelming an event like the Indie and Small Press Book Fair is for book loving masochists, we can’t help but attend and torture ourselves with the sight of endless tables of hardcove

rs, paperbacks, literary journals, and beautiful hand crafted, limited print chapbooks. Our first thought on entering the fair? Sensory overload. Luckily, we knew the tables we wanted to hit: Small Beer, Seven Stories, and Hotel St. George. As we wandered through the first of three floors of books, we couldn’t suppress the urge to make a beeline for the cafe upstairs and a cup of chicken noodle soup while we waited for panels and discussions to start.
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