Literary Happenings: Emma Straub @ Bookcourt

31 Jan

I don’t know Emma Straub, but I would say, based on my observation of her at Thursday evening’s book launch, that I would happily change lives with her. This instant.

Because she not only has fun, quirky style, amazing powers of observation (more on this later), and works in a cool bookstore, but she also has about a thousand well-wishers, at least in Brooklyn, as evidenced by the packed, and I mean p-a-c-k-e-d reception at Bookcourt.

Here’s the horde surrounding the register:

book! book! book!

I have to give props to Twitter for connecting me, however tangentially, to Ms. Straub. I’d heard very good things about her new book, Other People We Married, from several of the Tweeps I follow (mostly voracious book people). And then there were links to some great interviews (which of course I can’t now locate). Then finally this essay in the Paris Review about that defining 90’s girl drama, My So-Called Life.

So I had to brave the winter weather and trudge out to Bookcourt in Brooklyn. I learned that night that Bookcourt is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, so congratulations & well-done! I love seeing thriving indies. It turns out Straub even works there:

sweet, no?

Anyway, it was a great reading and well-worth the trudge. Emma (yes, now I’ve graduated to given names) read a little bit from “Rosemary,” a story set in Brooklyn. Over her year-long book tour, she plans to read each story in the place where it’s set. I loved the opening lines:

“Claire didn’t want to tell her husband she’d called a pet psychic. Matt was a lawyer and scoffed easily.”

I live with a lawyer, and yes, yes, they do.

She also bravely shared her love of New Kids on the Block, in particular of Joey McIntyre, by reading an essay about going to one of Joey’s solo concerts in 2004. I was instantly reminded of my friend Debbie who is 35+ and loves NKOTB. I mean LOVES. Turns out Emma shares her passion.

I’m starting Other People We Married tonight, but this line grabbed me while I was standing around Bookcourt by myself waiting for the reading to begin. You can probably figure out why:

“One of the poets was hovering in the open doorway, a plastic glass of red wine in her hand, filled all the way to the top. She was new.”

The lady calls it like she sees it. I can’t wait to read the rest of it.

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