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Read Up!: Our 5 Favorite Book Events This Week

Alida Nugent, looking spiffy.
Alida Nugent, looking spiffy.
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Edward Albee and Paul Auster The Strand Thursday, 7 p.m., $15-$30 Every time somebody even mentions a play by Samuel Beckett, we become immediately suspicious that they're about to pull some kind of clever existential farce. Such is the whole "gotcha!" nature of postmodernism. But unlike Godot, we think these writers are actually going to show up. Literary heavyweights Albee and Auster lead a discussion about the late Irish avant-garde author and his diverse body of work. They'll be joined by special guest Jeanette Seaver, who played an integral role in introducing Beckett to America way before European absurdism was all the rage on this side of the pond. Don't miss this rare chance to hear a couple of New York greats talk about a common influence.

David Sedaris McNally Jackson Friday, 7 p.m., free The surliest elf to ever darken Santaland is returning to the personal essay. Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls (Little, Brown and Company) is replete with Sedaris's always pitch-black humor, as well as his more recent affinity for woodland animals. In this collection he presents a series of travelogues, weaving an odyssey that spans from the French dentist's chair to the endemically American institution that is Costco. Sedaris is probably the only commercial author who could get away with writing a story about dead kittens, and definitely the only one who could make it this funny. Hear him read, muse, and deliver his trademark monologues tonight.

Alida Nugent Powerhouse Arena Friday, 7 p.m., free In Don't Worry, It Gets Worse (Plume), Nugent recounts her experiences as an over-educated, under-employed twentysomething. She tackles the usual demons--a bleak economy, rising Brooklyn rent prices--and basically writes Girls: the book. But unlike Lena & Co., the writer-comedian-feminist behind The Frenemy blog describes a life less fraught with wacky adventures than student loans and drinking cheap wine at home in her pajamas--which she's totally okay with. Nugent hosts a launch party for her collection of original essays tonight, providing the perfect comedic escape from the perils of post-grad life.

Bill Cheng and Alex Glittery Greenlight Bookstore Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., free While we're just slightly skeptical of a born-and-raised New Yorker delving into the Southern Gothic, Cheng's debut novel, Southern Cross the Dog (Ecco), might be so well-researched and tightly spun as to remove any doubt. And that's sure how it seems. The story follows a young boy whose life is washed away by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. The protagonist Oliver Twists his way into a surrogate family of vagabonds in a brothel, trying to escape the curse he's convinced is placed on his head. Cheng, who is convincingly versed in the mythology of the American South, speaks tonight with fellow author and former Hunter College classmate Alex Glittery.

Ophira Eisenberg The Strand Monday, 7 p.m., $16 It's about time Eisenberg wrote a book because she's done it all--and we mean it all. Though Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy (Seal Press) is not as crass as a memoir about being (very decidedly) easy might sound. Sure, the comedian and host of NPR's Ask Me Another has professed to treating her sexual escapades like research and referring to men as "fieldwork," but astute observations and momentary tenderness afford her story slightly more depth than your average episode of Sex and the City. Eisenberg reads tonight at this live, after-hours edition of the radio show, followed by X-rated trivia that can't be broadcast on NPR.


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