Recommended: ZZ Packer and Sasha Frere-Jones Readings


Two readings of note tonight, especially since tomorrow is barely a workday at all.

Credit: Piera Gelardi/Refinery29

The Non-Motivational Speakers Series: Popular Culture
Thursday, August 28, 8 p.m.
Happy Ending Lounge
302 Broome Street, 212-334-9676

The Non-Motivational Speakers Series, hosted by Adam Rosen, seems to be all about. . . well. . . non-motivation, and this month’s installment takes aim at a suitably discouraging topic: pop culture. Joining Rosen for what promises to be a wholesomely skeptical take on modern times is Sasha Frere-Jones, The New Yorker‘s pop music critic, who is presumably hoping not to stand trial for nailing Coldplay to the wall two weeks ago. He’s joined by Amelie Gillette, a commentator for The Onion‘s culture-grilling A. V. Club, and Robert Galinsky, a self-proclaimed actor, writer, musician, director, and mastermind behind “the only training center for Reality TV in the country.” Check your “A Paler Shade of White” questions at the door.

ZZ Packer / New Stories from the South
Thursday, August 28, 7 p.m.
Housing Works Bookstore Café
126 Crosby Street, 212-334-3324

Short story maven ZZ Packer is stopping by Housing Works for a reading from New Stories from the South 2008, a twenty-story collection edited by Packer and published on August 12 by Algonquin Books. The Georgia-born ZZ, who made a solid debut with her own collection, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, has applied her Southern sensibilities in compiling this haul of below-the-Mason-Dixon-line fiction, a fresh addition to the Faulkner/O’Connor-heavy world of Southern lit. New Stories showcases “some of the youngest and freshest voices” south of the Mason Dixon, shaking up notions that “[Southern] men are either Cavaliers, brought up on a diet of buttermilk biscuits, bourbon, and cigars, or the redneck yeomen whose enormous wads of snuff are rivaled only by the more impressive enormity of their goiters.” —Ruth McCann