101 Classic Cookbooks
Wednesday, May 29, 7:30 p.m., $15
Here’s one for the foodies–or really anyone who cherishes the cookbook as more than just a batter-stained instructional manual. Like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for baked goods, 101 Classic Cookbooks (Rizzoli) is the Fales Library anthology of 501 recipes lifted from a the great defining cookbooks of the 20th Century, as chosen by an expert panel. Tonight some of these judges and honored authors will discuss how the book was compiled and the rationale behind certain selections. Hear archivists Marvin J. Taylor and Clark Wolf talk with writers Marion Nestle, Madhur Jaffrey, and Rose Levy Barenbaum about how cookbooks serve as a reflection of broader American culture, not to mention saving your ass when you have to bring something to a dinner party.
Joshua Henkin and Jennifer Gilmore
Pete’s Candy Store
Thursday, May 30, 7:30 p.m., free
In every war, families on the homefront must deal with loss and grief. The one central to Henkin’s latest novel, The World Without You (Pantheon), is not the family of a soldier, finding solace in the honor associated with sacrifice, but the liberal clan of a journalist killed while on assignment in Iraq. Marriages are threatened and siblings feud over the course of three days as the remaining members try to hold together. Henkin reads from his thoughtful family drama, a story that waxes uplifting for as much as it’ll bum you out. Jennifer Gilmore, author of the new novel The Mothers (Scribner), also appears.
Sunday, June 2, 7 p.m., free
What’s that, Brooklyn? You’re into Americana? Come have at the most fantastically nostalgic thing since adult kickball and domestic beer. Mann’s debut, Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere (Pantheon), is a beacon to every East Coast worshiper of the great gods Tom and Huck, a New Yorker’s vicarious panorama of those coveted plains just over the Appalachian ridge. Like a baseball-centric Friday Night Lights, Mann follows a year in the life of all those involved with the Clinton LumberKings, a minor-league team from small-town Iowa, playing along the banks of the Mississippi River in a Depression-era stadium that we can’t help but romanticize the hell out of even as we imagine it now. But Mann keeps the fantasizing in check, exploring the cultural significance as well as the harsh realities of pursuing the Great American Pastime in the modern Midwest. Tonight Mann reads, discusses, and signs this ideal summer read.
Tuesday, June 4, 7 p.m., free
And if you really want to kick that middle-American fetishization habit, consider James Agee and Walker Evans’s Cotton Tenants: Three Families (Melville House). This poetic-journalistic account of migrant farm workers in Alabama during the Depression sat unpublished for 50 years before it was rediscovered. This edition will be the first to also feature Evans’s photographs. Join novelist Adam Haslett, composer Daniel Thomas Davis, and John Summers, editor-in-chief of The Baffler magazine, for a discussion panel about this lost work and its relevance today.
2Pac vs. Biggie
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
Tuesday, June 4, 7 p.m., free
We’re sorry to have to disappoint, but there’s no posthumous throw-down involved. There is, however, 2pac vs. Biggie: An Illustrated History of Rap’s Greatest Battle (Voyageur Press), which provides plenty of photographs, memorabilia and lesser-known background on Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. Authors Jeff Weiss and Evan McGarvey will read from the new collection, accompanied by Peter Rosenberg of Hot 97 and Duck Down Records CEO Dru Ha for the panel discussion. Hear, for once, the conspiracy-theory-free story of Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace, and the rivalry that made icons of them both.