Summer Guide 2011: Books

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KGB’s Fantastic Fiction

Speculate about the mysteries of life and science over cheap beer while you listen to good fiction. A mix of veteran and up-andcoming writers of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy and horror) read excerpts and short stories once every month for this free event. This summer, highlights include the July 7 Strangers in Paris reading with Megan Fernandes, Judith Chriqui and Isabel Harding followed by the Brando Skyhorse reading on July 19. Third Wednesdays, KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St. (betw. 2nd Ave. & Bowery), 212-505- 3360; 7, Free.

Happy Ending (Music and) Reading Series

Host Amanda Sterns’ happy-hour readings (with music on the side), a perennially popular and star-studded series, has so far only announced its June show, featuring Amor Towles, Suzanne Bocanegra and Kyle DeCamp, but more events are in the pipeline. Stay tuned for what promises to be an intellectual and entertaining summer. First Wednesdays, Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St. (betw. E. 4th St. & Astor Pl.), 212-254-1263; 7, $15.

Word for Word Series

With an event every Wednesday this summer, the Word for Word series in Bryant Park has something for everyone. Featuring poetry, fiction and even readings for kids, the summer long fest will include Pete Hamill (June 22), Michael Showalter (June 29) and Sapphire (Aug. 3), plus discussions about all sorts of wild and wordy topics. Definitely one of the best ways to spend time outdoors in New York City. Wednesdays, Bryant Park, enter park W. 41st St. & 6th Ave., 212-768- 4242; various times, Free.

Franklin Park Reading Series

It’s not just locals who pack the Franklin Park Reading Series. On the second Monday of every month, the up-and-coming series brings a range of fiction and nonfiction, along with stand-up comedy, to Crown Heights’ favorite bar. Grab a boozy milkshake—yes, they serve ‘em—and settle in. Second Mondays, Franklin Park, 618 St. John’s Pl. (betw. Classon & Franklin Aves.), Brooklyn, 718- 975-0196; 8, Free.

McNally Jackson Fiction Book Club

Trend shattering—it’s actually successful— independent bookstore McNally Jackson is never short on interesting writers attempting to educate the fashionable illiterates of Nolita. The summer kicks off with a discussion of Iraj Pezeshkzad’s My Uncle Napoleon June 6, and other selections will be assigned soon. First Mondays, McNally Jackson, 52 Prince St. (betw. Lafayette & Mulberry Sts.),; 7, Free.

Ongoing Writers Series at BookCourt

This Brooklyn bookstore hosts a shoal of solid authors from all genres. First up is June 2 with Siri Hustvedt reading from her book, The Summer Without Men, as well as Asti Hustvedt’s Medical Muses: The Culture of Hysteria in Nineteenth Century Paris. Later, on July 26, is the release party Northwest Corner, of John Burnham Schwartz’s latest. BookCourt, 163 Court St. (betw. Dean & Pacific Sts.), Brooklyn, www.; Free.

powerHouse Arena

This store for illustrated and photography-based books has an eclectic range of offerings for the summer, which features Pete Hamill, Hal Hartley, Gary Shteyngart, Rosanne Cash, and a bunch of other neat stuff.  powerHouse Arena, 37 Main St. (at Water St.), Brooklyn,; Free.

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

The non-profit has its once-a-year Open Air Street Fair June 5, when it opens up the secret basement vault and unloads thousands of books for a dollar each on Crosby Street. And if you want to be prepared for all the thrills that you or your child might experience, check out Summer Camp in Soho: Book Launch and Theme Party with Jane Roper, Elissa Bassist, and Diana Spechler. Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby St. (betw. E. Houston & Prince Sts.), www.; Free.

Bloomsday on Broadway

For the past 30 years, Symphony Space cofounder Isaiah Sheffer has hosted a marathon staging of scenes from James Joyce’s Ulysses, enlisting a lot of big-name celebrities to bring the story to life to follow along a day in the life of Dublin anti-hero Leopold Bloom. Performances have been known to go on for seven hours, so be prepared for a lot of Joyce. Whatever the length, $25 is a good price for what has become a New York institution. June 16, Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway (betw. W. 95th & W. 96th Sts.), 212-864-5400; 12, $25.

Madison Square Reads

Throughout the summer, well-known writers will give free outdoor readings in Madison Square Park—right next to Shake Shack! You could read the entire book while in line! Thursday evenings in July, Madison Square Park’s Farragut Monument, enter park at E. 23rd St. & Madison Ave., www.; 6:30.

Summer Reading List

Get yourself to the bookstore: these are three of summer’s must-read titles

The Astral 

First lady of Greenpoint letters Kate Christensen will be dropping this new novel, focused on a fifty-something poet and his fractured family in and around the infamous Franklin Street building The Astral, in June. Expect fascinating, intricate characters and the name-checking of plenty of neighborhood institutions; perhaps reading this at the counter of Peter Pan Donuts wouldn’t be the worst idea you ever had.

The Beginners 

Rebecca Wolff, who graduated from the ber-impressive Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was founding editor at the excellent lit mag Fence, goes big in this debut novel, out in June, about a teenage New England girl named Ginger who’s a bit young for her age until some new folks move into town and everything changes. If nothing else, this may inspire you to develop your own new, creepy, slightly obsessive friends for the summer. If not now, when?

Rules of Civility

New York-based I-Banker Amor Towles makes his literary debut in July with Rules of Civility, the story of Katey Kontent, a twenty-something in 1938 who rises from the typing pool to dizzying social heights, meeting all sorts of New York characters along the way. We have a habit of reading and re-reading Fitzgerald each summer and Rules, out in July, seems like just the thing to spice up the erudite, seersucker-clad mix.