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Posts Tagged ‘Housing Works’

‘Bartleby, the Scrivener’ Reading at Occupy Wall Street

Yesterday, 27 readers and Occupy Wall Street supporters staged an outdoor reading of Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville at Zuccotti Park. Follow this link to download a free eBook copy of the novella.

The free event was organized by the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe events staff, McNally Jackson’s Sam MacLaughlin and The Gospel of Anarchy author Justin Taylor. According to Housing Works’ director of public programming Amanda Bullock, Bartleby‘s story resonates quite well with the mission of the OWS protest because it’s set on Wall Street, talks about passive resistance and “question[s] the assumed hierarchy.”

In an email, Taylor further explained why he chose Bartleby: “I want to evoke the long history of refusal that informs and enlivens OWS. Some in the movement may already have a vivid sense of that history, others may be getting involved in politics (or outing themselves as progressives) for the first time in their lives, but in any case I think it’s healthy to be reminded that the first step toward building a better world is asserting that the present state of affairs is intolerable and cannot be allowed to continue.”

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Nick Hornby and Ben Folds Rock at Housing Works

Writer Nick Hornby collaborated with musician Ben Folds on the piano player’s latest album, Lonely Avenue. Last night, the duo took to the stage to talk and perform at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York City.

Hornby began by reading the lyrics for a particular song, and then Ben Folds would play the song and sing. They performed six songs off the 11-song album: Belinda, Levi Johnston’s Blues, Practical Amanda, Your Dog’s, Picture Window, and Saskia Hamilton. The deluxe version contains the song featured in the video embedded above, Things You Think.

Hornby called Folds his “Cyrano de Bergerac” for transforming his lyrics into music. Folds explained that melodies come easily, but writing lyrics is more difficult. When the musician was asked whether or not he would ever consider writing novels, Folds answered: “No, the long form freaks me out.” When Hornby was asked about the lyric-writing process, he added: “What you’re writing isn’t finished. A lyric isn’t really a lyric until it’s part of a song.”

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Scene @ NBCC Finalists Announcement Party

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When I arrived a few minutes early to Housing Works for the National Book Critics Circle‘s annual bash to announce their award finalists, I figured – like most parties – there would be a few stragglers and the food & drink stations wouldn’t even be fully set up yet. Guess again. Already packed, within ten minutes the bookstore was fully SRO, and it was impossible to move a square inch without bumping into one notable critic after another. Amy Bloom (left, pictured with independent publicist Kimberly Burns and PW’s Charlotte Abbott) was on hand to announce the fiction finalists, which was met with the usual mix of positive responses and grumbling undertone. Francine Duplessis Gray, in announcing the memoir/autobiography category, remarked that this category honored those with a penchant for self-indulgence, while Eliot Weinberger cracked that the criticism category was “the most prestigious for the most contentious.” The greatest round of applause was reserved for Alison Bechdel‘s FUN HOME, one of two books (the other Michael Pollan‘s AN OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA) voted onto the shortlist by the membership.

Among the many, many literati making the scene were Lizzie Skurnick (who’s recently been hired on by New York Magazine), the Complete Review‘s Michael Orthofer, Viking publisher Paul Slovak, Soft Skull‘s Richard Nash, Eat the Press’s Rachel Sklar, Emily Gordon, Poets & WritersDoug Diesenhaus, and former Balakian winner Scott McLemee, on hand to announce Steven G. Kellman as the category’s newest honoree.