Word is unquestionably the best independent bookstore in New York, in part because it is small and intimate and feels kind of like your apartment, if your apartment was covered floor to ceiling in pretty, well-organized bookshelves. The smallness, however, means that going to see someone read in Word's basement event space is a lot like going to a high school party in your friend's semi-finished basement. And last night, at my book launch and reading, it was like that high school friend's parents were not only out of town, but were ridiculous lushes: we drank seven cases of beer and several bottles of absinthe . I would estimate that I am personally responsible for at least half of that amount, judging from how my head feels like it about to fall off my neck. But whatever, on to the party report!
"Pub twins" is a coinage I am just trying out ; it's not that great because it could easily be misinterpreted to mean the same thing as "Irish twins." What I am trying to mean, though, is that two remarkable books, Meghan Daum's Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House and Will Leitch's Are We Winning?, share a pub date with my book And The Heart Says Whatever. What do all these books have in common, besides that they are awesome and you should buy them? Not much of anything, actually. They are all written mostly in the first person, there's that. I enjoyed all three of them very much (well, except my own book, parts of which I can't reread without crying or wincing in disgust). Meghan's and Will's books, though, are pure pleasures that you can either indulge in yourself or give to, in the case of Meghan's book, your most real-estate-obsessed friend, or, in the case of Will's book, your Dad for Father's day. If your Dad is obsessed with real estate, well, it's a double play! Or something; I read Will's entire book but I still don't remember anything about the rules of baseball.
"I am, for no discernible reason, wall-smashingly, knuckle-scrapingly PISSED. A quick survey of a few acquaintances reveals that I am not entirely alone in these feelings, but I am not sure to what degree this is a universal occurrence," my friend Alex wrote on his Tumblr on Monday, so I promptly wrote to him, as he expected me to, to inform him that Mercury was retrograde and would be til the 11th. But even I'm not hippie enough to be wholly satisfied by astrology as an explanation for the weird vibes that everybody's been feeling in NYC this week .
The weather's been unseasonably hot and a guy tried to blow up part of Times Square with a car bomb over the weekend. It's understandable that people might be on edge. On Monday I was getting on the subway at Dekalb avenue, going through the usual mechanical motions, swiping my card to enter the system, when I realized that I was stepping into a crime scene. A fresh gout of blood on the ground, cops restraining a gibbering prisoner as a group of Brooklyn Tech high school students gathered to gawk.
I removed my earbuds just long enough to ask someone at the edge of the crowd if she knew what had happened; she didn't. I made the customary mental note to check the news when I got home, then forgot to, as is also customary.
Recently my childhood friend Bennett, who is the author a great novel about teen shoplifting, and I had breakfast — homemade egg sandwiches with bacon and cheese — and discussed my book in a totally not-contrived way.
One of Bennett's questions was about the book's title, And the Heart Says Whatever. Why is it so crazy? What does it mean? I had to reveal that it is a lyric from the uptempo Stevie Nicks ballad "Think About It," which is on her solo album Bella Donna. The actual line is repeated twice in the song, once as part of a longer sentence: "And the heart says 'danger'/ and the heart says 'whatever/ it is that you want from me...'" and once at the end, just by itself: "And the heart says 'danger'/and the heart says 'whatever'/'Think about it, think about it before you go.'"
(What, you don't sit around parsing Stevie Nicks lyrics all day?)
Hi! Welcome to my week-long guest blogging stint. I don't want to take up too much of our time here by talking about my inexpensive paperback book And the Heart Says Whatever, available wherever books are sold but obviously also via Powell's — I mostly want to talk about karaoke and post photographs of my cat — but I did just want to mention quickly that if you're curious about how part of this book sounds as read aloud by me, and you're not going to be able to make it to any of my book events, you can download a FREE audio chapter here. One highlight: I do a great imitation of a cat vomiting about halfway through.
Sooo. This Powell's gig marks my triumphant return to daily compulsory blogging; it's been a while! I used to work for Gawker, but that was three years ago so I'm sorry if it takes me a moment to get my blogging legs back. Hey, did you know that Sandra Bullock adopted a SECRET BABY? Okay, that should take care of search engine optimization. Just in case it didn't: Twitter! Oil spill! Stolen iPhone Times Square Car Bomb!
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.