Picture This: Our 5 Can’t Miss Book Events Get Graphic


Tamara Shopsin
Spoonbill & Sugartown
Wednesday, 7:30pm, Free
Shopsin’s new memoir is arranged the way any harried artist’s journal might be–in fragments, drawings, photographs, and asides–and surprisingly all the more cohesive for it. Mumbai New York Scranton (Scribner) highlights the underlying complexity and humor behind the graphic designer’s line drawings, which are highly recognizable after frequent features in the Times and Newsweek. Here they tell the tale of Shopsin’s journey to India, the return home to her native New York City, and finally a venture back out to Scranton, Pennsylvania (yes, like on The Office).

She and husband/sidekick/photographer Jason Fulford–who have been known to collaborate on quirky couple-y projects that involve holding a sign that says “Please give us the finger” out a car window in order to compile an album of all-too-eager takers–document these travels with the same creative eye. Tonight she’ll take a break from pitching in at pop Kenny Shopsin’s new Essex Market stand to read and sign.

Francesco Pacifico
PowerHouse Arena
Thursday, 7pm, Free
The Paris Review referred to purity as “a gorgeously perverse subject for a contemporary novel.” Pacifico, an Italian writer who has experimented with abstinence-as-performance-art in real life, knows well that the main character of his English language debut, The Story of My Purity (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), might come off as unorthodox–mainly for being so highly orthodox. His frustrated Roman protagonist is an ultra-conservative Christian determined to avoid the many temptations of his contemporary urban lifestyle. With the same critical humor as other notable Italo-American commentators–Beppe Severgnini comes to mind–Pacifico explores the modern incarnation of the strange, age-old phenomenon that is a Catholic sex life. He’ll read tonight at this book launch sponsored by n+1.

Nathaniel Rich
Book Court
Friday, 7pm, Free
One might describe Rich’s literary career as ridiculously, almost improbably–this is 2013 after all– successful. Just over the brim of 30 and he’s served as editor of the New York Review of Books, The Paris Review, and authored a critically gushed-upon novel. But his next work of fiction, Odds Against Tomorrow ( Farrar, Straus and Giroux), is all about an imminent demise–of industry, New York City, civilization, everything really. In it a young mathematician works as a consultant calculating worst-case scenarios for large corporations, which drives him reasonably insane, until the apocalypse actually does strike and he’s suddenly at a great advantage. Here’s to making lemonade–really dystopic lemonade. Rich will read, sign, and take questions at this release party.

A Downtown Literary Festival
McNally Jackson and Housing Works Bookstore
Sunday, 10am, Free
Everybody’s flying off the bookshelf for this one. Happening simultaneously at two locations, “A Downtown Literary Festival” is all about highlighting the past and present book culture of New York with non-traditional events. Start off the day with Jami Attenberg, Rosie Schaap, Lev Grossman, Kristopher Jansma and a bunch more lit scenesters on a reading tour of lower Manhattan hosted by LitCrawlNYC, or opt for a four course “brunch” reading by DISH featuring notable downtown restauranteurs-turned-authors. Eileen Myles, Colm Toibin, and more will present a very appropriate lunchtime reading of Frank O’Hara and later Nikolai Fraiture of The Strokes and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth will share stories about their favorite New York concerts. Top off the evening with an after party at Pravda featuring Russian literature-themed cocktails. A Master and Margarita anyone?

Kat Von D
Barnes & Noble Union Square
Monday, 7pm, Free
As the poster selection at any Hot Topic store might suggest, ever since Kat Von D confirmed herself as choice pin-up of the rockabilly brood, the focus has been on her (pretty easily focusable) hotness more than anything else. But D’s mall punk-targeted memoirs are worth a look, if not because she was once the hippest person on TLC, then because she really is a skilled designer at the core of it all. The LA Ink star’s newest book Go Big Or Go Home (HarperCollins) takes a look back at her early tattoos for the average Joe, or what was as average as the Joes ever got in LA. There’s still some celebrity work mixed in–we especially like Bobcat Goldthwait’s Ed Wood portrait–but the subject matter here is more personal. Tonight she’ll make an appearance and talk about some memorable commissions.