John Barth at Books & Books

For the frequent readers of this blog, you know that I’m located in the Big Apple. Because I live in NYC, I’m lucky to be exposed to many great cultural shenanigans–especially, writerly events. However, this post will be different.

I’ve noticed that many comments are from readers who wish they had something comparable in their home city.¹ Well, for those from South Florida, you’re in luck! I’ve been tipped off that John Barth will be reading and discussing a new essay from the most recent Granta. Quite frankly, I didn’t even know that Barth was still alive (many of his contemporaries have long been buried). The works of his I’m most familiar with are Lost in the Funhouse and Chimera.

I’ve been to Granta readings in the past and I’m sure the one in Miami will be enjoyable also. Here are the details:

Feb 7 2012 8:00 pm

John Barth reads and discusses his essay “The End?,” muse-inviting rituals and writing ‘nothing’ with writer and art critic Chauncey Mabe.

Granta 118: Exit Strategies (Grove, $16.99) is the latest issue of Granta, the magazine of the best new writing from around the world. This issue explores personal and political exit strategies with new work from Aleksandar Hemon, Claire Messud, John Barth, Susan Minot and more.

265 Aragon Ave | Coral Gables, Florida | 33134
¹I would still like to compile a list of book festivals, etc. that are outside of NYC and the United States. Please drop me a line if you have any info pertaining to this: acidfreepulp [at]

Behind the Longreads

Last night at Housing Works Bookstore, a dear dear dear writerly friend¹ and I went to the New York magazine Behind the Longreads panel. I usually turn into a pesky toddler squirming in their seat waiting for the moment of the final applause. However, this panel was fantastic.

The moderator was NYmag’s editor-in-chief and the panel consisted of 3 writers who published articles in the magazine in the past year. Because I had already read the articles, I found it particularly interesting to hear from the writers themselves about how much work and time goes into researching and writing the pieces. One of the writers said that his original draft was 50, 000 words! But it had to be trimmed to 10, 000 for the magazine.

Below are the writers and the articles they discussed:


¹FRIEND PLUG ALERT! My dear dear dear writerly friend is amazing. Her works has appeared in various publications including The Believer, Symphony, Forward. All of her articles for the New Yorker’s Book Bench are available in their archives.

Westsider Books

courtesy of Google

Westsider Books is seriously, one of my favorite book shops in the city. Besides used and rare books, they also sell music. A few years ago, I stumbled across this store while I was walking down the street. Anyone could have missed it. FOREVER, there was scaffolding covering the entrance.

Inside the two-level store, books are jammed everywhere. They have some kind of arrangement going on but there are still so many books inside that they have to make piles on the steps leading to the second floor. The few employees make a good effort of dividing the books into appropriate sections (fiction, philosophy, plays, etc.). I am really taken with their WWII history section which I have aptly titled, ‘The Hitler Section.’

Outside, they always have a treasure trove of $1 books and when the Occupy Wall Street library books were destroyed, Westsider offered these books up for free to the occupants.

Truthfully, I’ve only ventured to the top floor once. I’m usually perusing the well-stocked fiction section and the aforementioned wall-o-Hitler books that call the first floor home. Last month, I finally trekked up to the second floor where the rare books are kept. The prices are out of my league but it’s still a pleasure to take a look. To get a better idea of the interior of the store, I snapped a crummy photo on my cell phone (below).

2246 Broadway | New York, NY | 10024

Housing Works Bookstore

courtesy of NYU Local

Whenever my Brooklyn Mamma visits Manhattan, we always make a trip to her old stomping grounds in Soho. Somehow my mother has never made it to one of my favorite bookstores in the city, Housing Works. As part of a larger non-profit organization to assist those living with HIV/AIDS, all of the proceeds of the bookstore go to this noble cause.

The used bookstore itself is beautiful. It has high ceilings with a second level and was most likely a former industrial space. In the back is a small cafe with tasty coffee and wine. All of the employees are volunteers and a pleasure to chat with. Once a month, they take 30% off store-wide and for the month of December, every day is 10% off.

Seriously, this bookstore has so many great finds. They have a HUGE literature section and have wonderfully organized their other sections like, history, psychology, horror, etc.

I made out with a couple of great finds (both paperbacks): Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson [$3]  and a novel I’ve never heard of but stuck out to me because of the subject matter which I will gift to a friend, Orpheus Lost by Janette Turner Hospital [$7.50]. Also, as a congratulatory gift, my mother bought me an old book of German poetry from the 19th and early 20th Centuries for a $1 in honor of recent news about  the translation project I am working on. My project sponsor has decided to send me back to Germany next year!

Housing Works is great to stroll around in for an hour or to meet a friend for coffee and a fresh knish. Once a year, they also have a marathon reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

126 Crosby Street, New York, NY