OC launch party and more

On June 5, Open City is hosting a party at Frying Pan to celebrate the launch of Issue 17. The $10 admission fee includes one drink and a copy of the magazine.

In related news, the BigSmallPressMall is offering four books for $27:

The Pharmacist’s Mate by Amy Fusselman (McSweeney’s), Miss Americaby Catherine Wagner (Fence), Endearment by Joe Wenderoth (Verse), and World on Fire by Michael Brownstein (Open City).

Ari sidesteps difficult questions at breakfast

Andy Borowitz reports:

In a press conference held immediately following breakfast, Mrs. Fleischer told reporters gathered on the Fleischers’ lawn that the trouble started when she asked her husband if he had taken the garbage out as she had asked him to do.

“That’s something I’m not going to address at this time,” Mr. Fleischer reportedly replied. “Let me just say that we’re very happy with where the garbage is right now, and we’re making excellent progress on that.”

(Link via The Morning News.)

Live from Nebraska

Talking about her new novel, The Quality of Life Report, Meghan Daum responds to the question whether the novel’s protagonist, Lucinda Trout, is “just Meghan Daum in hoop earrings and a new kind of attitude”:

“I take it as a compliment that people think that the book is autobiographical, because that’s the job of a first-person narrator, to make you believe it’s real,” Daum says during an early-morning phone call to Los Angeles.

Book groups embrace Freedom to Read bill

Thirty-two publishing-related organizations, including local bookstores and chains, issued a statement supporting a bill introduced by Vermont Rep. Bernie Sanders that would amend the U.S.A. Patriot Act.

The bill, short-titled “The Freedom to Read Protection Act,” would require investigators to show probable cause in order to obtain a subpoena for bookstore or library records, and would allow booksellers to be heard in secret court proceedings.

Frey roundup

The Independent reviewer likes James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces.

Janet Maslin, on the other hand, slammed it in the NY Times last month. And Laura Miller was fairly withering in The New Yorker review:

This is the Dirty Harry model of recovery, and the cinematic quality of some of Frey’s exploits makes you wonder whether the facts in this memoir have been enhanced. What’s genuine is the propulsive energy the book shares with earlier chronicles of overgrown-adolescent angst and misbehavior, like Elizabeth Wurtzel’s memoir “Prozac Nation” or Chuck Palahniuk’s novel “Fight Club.” Although, like Wurtzel, Frey writes about events that happened when he was no longer a teen-ager, conventional wisdom has it that the emotional development of an addict remains stalled at the age he started using. Frey—who began getting drunk at ten, expanded into cocaine, LSD, and speed at fifteen, and by twenty-two had a crack habit—actually beats the formula by a few years; he’s got more or less the temperament and insight of a sixteen-year-old.

I read Frey’s book a couple of weekends ago and found it a quick read, with some memorable and moving scenes. But in the end it wasn’t terribly distinct from other addiction memoirs, and it was a bit too self-congratulatory and repetitive for my taste.

In short, I wouldn’t rush out and buy it in hardcover unless The Strand is a resource available to you.


From Nicolas Klee’s weekly round-up:

A centre dedicated to the life and work of Roald Dahl is to open in November 2004 in the late author’s home town, Great Missenden, in Buckinghamshire. Costing nearly £4m, the centre will house Dahl’s archive, including original drafts of his books, and will employ writers and illustrators in residence. One attraction will be a replica of the hut – or possibly the original construction – in which Dahl wrote.

Also, here is a Roald Dahl trivia contest I missed.