KGB’s Fantastic Fiction
Enjoy the kind of speculation that won’t end with you losing all your money. A mix of veteran and up-and-coming 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 critically acclaimed writer Brian Francis Slattery on June 17 and, for the July 15 reading, writers from the Clarion West workshop at UC San Diego, the premier institute for promising speculative authors.
Third Wednesday of the month, KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St., betw. 2nd Ave. & Bowery; 212-505-3360, www.kgbfantasticfiction.org; 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, will feature authors Samantha Hunt and Steven Berlin Johnson for its June 3 event, along with tunes from electronic music pioneer Tristan Perich. Most of the themes and writers for the summer are still TBA, but Lush Life author Richard Price, Moby and Vampire Weekend have all shown up before. If the past guest list is any indication, Happy Ending is definitely worth a visit.
First Wednesday of the month, Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St., betw. E. 4th St. & Astor Pl., 212-254-1263; 7, $15
Word for Word Series
With upward of 55 free events this summer, the Word for Word series in Bryant Park has something for everyone. The creative writing program directors from NYU, Long Island University and Drew University will stop by to talk about their teaching at 7:30 on June 2. The next day, Christopher Buckley, satirist and son of William F. Buckley, will discuss his memoir during a lunchtime talk. Reading events for children are scheduled throughout the summer, and craft/career advice seminars are open as well, including a roundtable with editors from The Believer and McSweeney’s on how to get your fiction published. Though all events are free, some require registration.
Every Wednesday, Bryant Park, enter park at W. 42nd St. & 5th Ave., 212-768-4242; 12:30, FREE
Madison Square Reads
Throughout the summer, well-known writers will give free outdoor readings in the park (right next to Shake Shack!). On July 16, Lee Child, writer of the bestselling Jack Reacher thrillers, will give a reading. The series’ other highlight is a John Cheever panel on July 30, featuring Cheever’s daughter, the head of Harvard’s creative writing program, and Blake Bailey, whose recently published Cheever: A Life has sparked newfound interest in the anti-Suburbia writer.
Thursday evenings, Madison Square Park’s Farragut Monument, enter park at E. 23rd St. and Madison Ave., www.madisonsquarepark.org; 6:30, FREE
Franklin Park Reading Series
If you want comedy with your lit, try the Franklin Park Reading Series, curated by Crown Heights-based author Paula Roth. It may not be as prestigious as some other events, but with a range of fiction and nonfiction along with stand-up, Franklin Park does offer something different.
Mondays, Franklin Park, 618 St. John’s Pl., btwn. Classon & Franklin Aves., Brooklyn, 718-975-0196; 8, FREE
McNally Jackson Fiction Book Club
Tired of listening to writers babble on about themselves and want to speak for yourself? Drop in on the McNally Jackson book club. For the summer, the free reading group at this Nolita independent bookstore will read novels exclusively from Israeli writers, with Amos Oz’s To Know a Woman on June 1 and A Woman in Jerusalem by A. B. Yehoshua for its July 13 discussion. If Israeli women confuse you, these next two meetings should clear things up. Book club texts are 10 percent off at the store for the rest of the summer.
One Monday per month, McNally Jackson, 52 Prince St., betw. Lafayette & Mulberry Sts., 212-274-1160; 7, FREE
Ongoing Writers Series at Book Court
The recently expanded Brooklyn bookstore is hosting a shoal of solid authors this summer with a strong emphasis on memoirs and nonfiction. Famed, uh, writer of A Million Little Pieces James Frey will visit the bookstore on May 28 to chat about his new admittedly fictional book Bright Shiny Morning. In the series’ biggest event, Joseph O’Neil is coming on June 2 to discuss Netherland, the widely acclaimed and bestselling novel.
Book Court, 163 Court St., betw. Dean & Pacific Sts., Brooklyn, 718-875-3677,
www.bookcourt.org; times vary, FREE
This store for illustrated and photography-based books has an eclectic range of offerings for the summer, everything from a book talk with Improv Everywhere leader Charlie Todd on June 10 to and a talk featuring prize-winning novelist Hannah Tinti.
PowerHouse Arena, 37 Main St., at Water St., Brooklyn, 212-604-9074, www.powerhousearena.com; times vary, FREE.
Housing Works Bookstore Café
For the civic minded, all the proceeds from the store go toward Housing Works, the anti-AIDS/homelessness organization. On June 3, Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer will appear with Neil Gaiman for one of the store’s author/musician events. The best bet for summer is the store’s Literary Magazine Fair on May 31, with all magazines priced at $2.
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby St., betw. E. Houston & Prince Sts., 212-334-3324, www.housingworks.org; times vary, $TBA.
Reading: RDF! Radical Faeries and Reclaiming Witches, Celebrating 35 Years of Radical Faeries
For a night of extreme LGBT lit, join the Radical Faeries, a self-proclaimed network of “satyrs, sissies, butch leather drag queens” and others as they celebrate the 35th anniversary of their lit mag RFD. The Radical Faeries have a thing for pagan rituals, so it may get crazy. Whatever happens, it sure as hell will be interesting.
May 30, Bluestockings, 172 Allen St., betw. Stanton & Rivington Sts. 212-777-6028; 7:30, FREE
David Sedaris at Strand Bookstore
Bestselling author and NPR/New Yorker contributor David Sedaris will stop by the downtown bookstore to read from his most recent book When You Are Engulfed in Flames, which includes stories about confronting disgusting boils, coping with evil baby sitters and traveling across the globe to quit smoking. Sedaris will be signing copies of his book at the event, so bring along your copy (if you have one).
June 2, 828 Broadway, at E. 12th St., 212-473-1452; 5, FREE
Andrio Abero, Joey Parlett and other designers featured in Gig Posters: Rock Show Art of the 21st Century
New York Press’ best bookstore pick for 2008 hosts an evening with graphic designers featured in the book of rock show posters. The book includes art for everyone from Neil Diamond and Rufus Wainwright to the Wu Tang Clan.
June 13, Word Bookstore, 126 Franklin St., at Milton St., Brooklyn, 718-383-0096; 4, FREE
Bloomsday on Broadway
For the past 27 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. Last year’s performance went 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; 6, $25
Studs Terkel’s Working: A Graphic Adaptation Panel Discussion
Famed radio broadcaster Studs Turkel wrote Working in 1974, and it has since become a Broadway musical, radio broadcast and—the form that will be under discussion—a graphic novel. A packed panel of graphic novel experts like Spider-man illustrator Danny Fingeroth will talk about famed comic writer Harvey Pekar’s vision of Terkel’s classic.
June 20, KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St., betw. 2nd Ave. & Bowery; 212-505-3360; 7, FREE