The Village Voice’s Top 5 Book Events This Week, May 15-21, 2013


Fiona Maazel and Peter Trachtenberg
Pete’s Candy Store
Thursday, May 16, 7:30 p.m., free
In reality we’ve already got G-, Facebook-, Skype-, and every other type of non-synchronous chat option imaginable, but Fiona Maazel’s new novel explores a more extreme quick-fix remedy for feeling alone. The protagonist in Woke Up Lonely (Graywolf) founds a cult that promises to cure loneliness for good through a program of low-risk speed-dating and hyper-managed socializing. But as with all cults, things start going south when hostages and Kim Jong-il get involved. Hear Maazel read excerpts from her alternately hilarious and heartbreaking story tonight. She’ll be joined by Trachtenberg, author of the memoir Another Insane Devotion: On the Love of Cats and Persons (Da Capo Press), who recounts the mildly crazy but genuine affections of a “Cat Lady,” or in this case a “Cat Gentleman.” Is there such a thing as commiserative loneliness? We think so.

PEN Night
Thursday, May 16, 7 p.m., free
PEN is bringing out some of its all-star members for a shared night of new fiction. First on the docket is Jonathan Dee with his latest, A Thousand Pardons (Random House), an emotional thriller about a woman with the uncanny power to make arrogant men seek forgiveness, followed by Jennifer Gilmore reading from The Mothers (Scribner), which follows a young couple as they navigate the hellish channels of adoption. Ben Greenman, Leigh Newman, and Joan Silber will also present recent work.

Greenlight Bookstore
Thursday, May 16, 7:30 p.m., free
Bob Powers, the sullen comic mind behind Happy Cruelty Day: Daily Celebrations of Quiet Desperation (St. Martin’s Griffin), hosts this monthly, wine-saturated evening of humor writing. Tonight’s edition features Owen Egerton, whose novel Everyone Says That at the End of the World (Soft Skull Press) sets Earth as the mental asylum of the universe with humans as the inmates. He’ll read alongside Iris Smyles introducing her memoir, Iris Has Free Time (Soft Skull Press), about the hideously distended childhood that is one’s twenties.

James Gulliver Hancock
Book Court
Friday, May 17, 7 p.m., free
There are an estimated 900,000 buildings in New York City. This Australian wants to draw each and every one of them. Hancock, a Sydney native, began his ambitious project in 2010. The artist’s collection of playful sketches eventually accumulated to form the blog All the Buildings in New York, and now, 500 deep, he’s releasing All the Buildings in New York: That I’ve Drawn So Far (Universe). He renders all the usual artists’ favorites like the Flatiron and Guggenheim, but also devotes the same attention to less spectacular, more lived-in side street dives of the outer boroughs–like our apartments! Tonight he’ll introduce and sign the new volume.

Lit Crawl Brooklyn 2013
Various Locations
Saturday, May 18, 5 p.m., free
It’s that time again–when literature rebels, downs a few, roves the streets in a gang, and maybe gets a neck tattoo. The Lit Crawl has been blurring the lines between book smart and street smart for five years now, and we’re glad it’s back in Brooklyn. Venues throughout Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill will act as salons to foster some highly academic boozing it up. Twenty events comprise this all-night celebration of the borough’s thriving literary scene, featuring every manner of storytelling accompanied by performances, music, trivia, drink specials, and more. Check out Armchair/Shotgun as they perform their old-timey radio broadcast, or the Lost & Found Show’s dirty “Underwear!” edition with confessions from the lives of authors and burlesque stars. Three time slots make for easy book-/bar-hopping.