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Book People

I don't have much time to write today, but I wanted to tell you about this really great moment from last night. I went to WORD Brooklyn, my favorite bookstore in the entire world, for an event sponsored by the Vol 1. Brooklyn collective: a discussion of Hard Art, DC 1979, which details the rise of the punk scene in DC.

That would have been enough of a social occasion, just hearing those stories about these cool local kids creating what looked to be quite a joyous movement out of air. While the authors of the book spoke, pictures of kids hanging out at Bad Brains shows played on a screen in the background. As the pictures scrolled I made up little stories about all of these people from 1979 in my head. Near the end, one of the authors talked about the influence of former DC mayor Marion Barry on this music scene, a thing I did not know, which means I learned something new last night. So really, that is a pretty full evening for me, and I probably could have just gone straight home to bed.

But then I ran into some friends who were at the reading, and we decided to get a little nip of something, because it's really gorgeous here right now in New York, like it feels as if we're having a true summer at last, and those are the nights you should go out for a drink. The last few years it went from chilly, rainy spring to gross, sweaty, humid weather in a few weeks, but it feels like summer is really taking its time this yearit feels like summer is really taking its time this year. Yesterday the morning was cool, the afternoon was hot and sunny, and the night was just perfect. There was a little breeze, and it was divine.

Anyway, we went to have a drink at a bar a few blocks away from the bookstore, and we sat outside on the corner of Greenpoint Ave. All of my friends were drinking little whiskies on the rocks. A man walked by with a dachshund puppy in his arms, and I made him stop so my friend and I could pet it. We talked about the 1985 Chicago Bears for a while. Everyone was in a good mood.

And then, one of my friends pulled a book out of her bag so we could see what she was reading. It was thick and impressive. Then we all started pulling our books out of our bags. Talking about our books. Showing off a bit. One person had two books, because one is not enough. Maybe one book is for the subway, but the other one is for the café. Who knows? We do not have to have a reason to have more than one book in our bags.

And I thought: Oh book people, how I love you so. You and your bags filled with books. Really, my heart seized with love for these people. It could have been anything we pulled out of our bags to brag about. But it was books.

Note: Please join Jami Attenberg at Powell's City of Books on Wednesday, June 26, for an in-store reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by a reading at 7:30 p.m.

More from Jami Attenberg at PowellsBooks.Blog:

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Jami Attenberg is the author of a story collection, Instant Love, and three novels, The Kept Man, The Melting Season, and, most recently, The Middlesteins, which was nominated for the L.A. Times Book Prize for Fiction. She has contributed essays and criticism to the the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Salon, and many other publications.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. The Middlesteins
    Used Trade Paper $8.00
  2. Hard Art, DC 1979 New Hardcover $23.95

Jami Attenberg is the author of The Middlesteins

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