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LITERATURE - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


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LITERATURE

While Soccer Fans Flipped Out, East Village Book Club Flipped Pages


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At the fountain.Melvin Felix

As Spanish soccer fans celebrated their Euro 2012 victory by thrashing in the Washington Square Park fountain yesterday afternoon, members of the East Village Book Club sat in a grassy corner of the park and pondered the birth of Frankenstein’s monster.

The book club had decided to take its monthly discussion, which usually occurs at Bar on A, outdoors for the first time since its inaugural meeting in Tompkins Square Park last November.

The book club.Melvin Felix The East Village Book Club

Sitting in a circle around cookies and chicken fajitas, the group of eight agreed that there was more to Mary Shelley’s classic novel than a mad scientist screaming, “It’s alive!”

“The movies massacred what the book was all about,” said Ranita Saha, a long-time member who commutes from the Bronx.

Jae Disbrow, the East Village resident who created the club, picked this month’s book for its philosophical and existential themes. “It gets a really bad rap,” she said. “I had to convince some of our members that it’s not like the book ‘Dracula.’ It has a lot of subtext and a lot of good things about it.” Read more…


Susan Kirschbaum, Author of ‘Who Town,’ on the Downtown Scene


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Zac Posen and Susan Kirschbaum at Zac's holiday party at Mr H at the Mondrian hotel. GAVIN DOYLE_1500_0_resize_90Gavin Doyle Zac Posen and Susan Kirshbaum

Tonight at 6 p.m. at the Bowery Poetry Club, Susan Kirschbaum will read from her debut novel, “Who Town.” The book is drawn from Ms. Kirschbaum’s experiences over the past 15 or so years in New York: after moving from a middle-class Philadelphia suburb, she covered the downtown scene for The Times, The New York Observer, The Huffington Post and others. Now in her late 30s, Ms. Kirschbaum is the rare reporter who became part of her stories, dating band members and artists and hanging out with the crowd she was supposed to cover. She told The Local about her downtown-centric writing life, and how Candace Bushnell, the author of “Sex and the City,” started it all.

Q.

When you came to New York, what was the Lower East Side and East Village scene like?

A.

I got to New York in the late ’90s, when the Beahver parties were raging at Don Hills and junkies still roamed Alphabet City. A lot of young artists still lived in the East Village and bars like 7A and 2A raged late at night. I also remember going to poetry slams in Tompkins Square Park. Read more…