Jonathan Ames + Jeff Johnson + Dan Kennedy + Kevin Sampsell
Happy Ending, 302 Broome, 212-334-9676. Of Ames’s latest novel, Wake Up, Sir!, Ed Park wrote in these pages: “One hopes Ames sees fit to stir up such pure fancy again. Here is a book, rigorous as a dream and well ventilated with wit . . . a classic of caprice.”
Charles Simic + Howie Michels
Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery, 212-614-0505. The poetry and pictures of Simic and Michels, respectively, collide in the bawdy Aunt Lettuce, I Want to Peek Under Your Skirt. Perhaps too blue for Valentine’s Day, the pair will make for an interesting St. Patrick’s Day precursor, regaling early-evening drunks with poems such as “Love Flea” and “Crazy About Her Shrimp.”
Meg Wolitzer +Lauren Sanders
KGB Bar, 85 E 4th, 212-505-3360. Meg Wolitzer’s The Position is a study of American suburban malaise with a twist: In 1975 Paul and Roz Mellow write a sexual how-to featuring the couple in various positions, a book which predictably traumatizes their three children upon its discovery. Call it Corrections on the Kama Sutra.
Marilynne Robinson + Mary Gordon
92nd Street Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall, 1395 Lexington Ave, 212-415-5500. The Voice‘s Mark Holcomb praised Robinson’s sophomore novel, Gilead—her first in 23 years!—for its “preternaturally intimate prose.” The author discusses her work with Mary Gordon, herself an accomplished novelist (of, most recently, Pearl).
192 Books, 192 Tenth Ave, 212-255-4022. One of famed poet Ashbery’s latest is the tersely titled Selected Prose; the collection forms a triptych with the previously released Reported Sightings and Other Traditions. Ashbery will discuss his life and work, and present a few examples of the latter.
Glyn Maxwell+Don Paterson
92nd Street Y, Buttenwieser Hall, 1395 Lexington Ave, 212-415-5500. Maxwell and Paterson are two of England’s best-regarded poets. The former’s books of poetry include The Breakage, The Boys at Twilight, and The Nerve, while the latter’s volumes include Landing Light, which won the Whitbread prize for poetry.
192 Books, 192 Tenth Ave, 212-255-4022. Prose, author of the National Book Award-nominated Blue Angel, returns with a new novel. A Changed Man is the tragicomic story of disenchanted neo-Nazi Vincent Nolan and Holocaust survivor Meyer Maslow.
Barnard College, Barnard Hall, 3009 Bway, 212-854-2037. Cuban American author Garcia returns to her alma mater to read from her latest, Monkey Hunting.
Noam Mor + Martin Nakell + Steve Tomasula
Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery, 212-614-0505. The authors of novels Arc: Cleavage of Ghosts, The Library of Thomas Rivka, and VAS: An Opera in Flatland, respectively, Mor, Nakell, and Tomasula will meet to discuss “the state of avant-garde fiction.”
William T. Vollmann + Jonathan Safran Foer
92nd St Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall, 1395 Lexington Ave, 212-415-5500. When Big-Idea Social Commentators Collide: New meets less-new when William T. Vollmann—author of, most recently, Europe Central—talks with Jonathan Safran Foer, on the day Foer’s new novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is released.
Steve Almond+Beth Kimmerle
Happy Ending, 302 Broome, 212-334-9676. Happy family abducted—and returned by aliens; golden boy wonders whether or not he’s a murderer: In Steve Almond’s The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories, characters exist slightly to the left of where we’d expect to find them—or, in fact, where they’d expect to find themselves.
James Salter + Michael Ondaatje
92nd St Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall, 1395 Lexington Ave, 212-415-5500. Over nearly a quarter of a century, Salter produced five novels—The Hunters, The Arm of Flesh, A Sport and a Pastime, Light Years, and Solo Faces—well regarded and quickly adopted into the academy. He will discuss his work with Ondaatje, author of Anil’s Ghost and The English Patient among other works.
Alexander McCall Smith
Symphony Space, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, 2537 Bway, 212-864-1414. Best known for his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, McCall Smith returned in December with the simultaneous publication of three novellas—Portuguese Irregular Verbs, At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances, and The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs. He’ll discuss his work with Malachy McCourt.
‘Selected Shorts:The Best American Short Stories 2004’
Symphony Space, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, 2537 Bway, 212-864-1414. Lorrie Moore knows a thing or three about the short story (see her collections Self-Help and Birds of America), so it makes sense to see her name appear under the newest edition of The Best American Short Stories. Moore will discuss her selections for the volume, as well as introduce readers.