Monthly Archives: April 2012

Share Your Book Collection!

1st edition book collection

I'm particularly in love with my Denis Johnson collection, though I'm still missing Jesus' Son -- if anyone wants to sell me a copy... I FOUND A COPY!

I’m guessing that Thoreau’d sneer at me, but I take great comfort in being surrounded with the beautiful things I own. I figure most people collect something — DVDs, jewelry from ex-husbands, grudges. My love is 1st edition and signed books.

This past weekend, our household of hissing cats and beautiful women made the move from Manhattan to Brooklyn. The charm of living on the sixth floor of a six-story walk-up, with its rats, cockroaches, and garbage being stored indoors under the only staircase until the zero-hour of garbage day, had worn off after three years. We’ll miss the local color: the 2nd-story prostitute who cycled through Johns quickly and loudly enough to attract the attention and ire of her octogenarian neighbor, who called the cops when she heard through the building’s notoriously thin walls a John mouthing off about a gun; the two local “troubled kids” high schools, one of whose gangs I witnessed beat a kid with a hunk of 2X4 outside of the local McDonald’s, and who supposedly died from falling off the curb, busting his head open on the asphalt and bleed onto his screaming friend’s coat; the cute, middle-aged gay couple down the street who always let me take pictures of their corgi pups to save for later when I needed a boost of cute. There was no shortage of interesting people and great food.

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Gary Shteyngart, Chicken-lover, Reading from Super Sad True Love Story | Green Light Bookstore

Gary Shteyngart Reading Super Sad True Love Story

Gary Shteyngart signed book

I was wearing a T-shirt that read, Kentucky: Not Just Fried Chicken

This write-up was another post that I’ve struggled to release. I wanted to write something interesting and preferably humorous about the evening because Gary Shteyngart and his novel, Super Sad True Love Story, are intelligent and funny. I found myself unable to create a coherent message about what I was reading, what I witnessed and felt, and how that interacts with who I was and what I was doing. Some sort of blockage was happening, as paralyzing as it was frightening.

I’m going to probably stray into maudlin territory. I apologize; this was the only way I could get something out.

My girlfriend, and sometimes co-writer, goes out of her way to share the things I enjoy: literature, readings, insults, corgis. She is my conspirator in many of these signings, sitting next to me in hard plastic seats, chatting and offering a little shove of encouragement to wait in line for an insult. She’s the extra motivation I often need to even board the train out to Brooklyn after a 9-6 day of wageslaving.

On what was an otherwise amazing evening, with Shteyngart sounding easy and relaxed, entertaining his Brooklyn neighbors, I’ll remember Gary Shteyngart’s reading as the first time I fucked up bad enough to make my best friend cry.

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