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Best New York book events this winter: Book readings, signings, marathons and dinners with writers

Book readings for new titles from George Saunders, Karen Russell and Nick Flynn help warm up a cold season

1/19

Joyce Carol Oates

2/19
Photograph: Marnie Ware

Chris Ware

3/19
Photograph: Marco Antonio

Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich

4/19
Photograph: Gasper Tringale

Louise Glück

5/19

Eileen Myles

6/19

Julie Otsuka

7/19
8/19

Suzanne Vega

9/19

Anne Waldman

10/19
Photograph: David Sultan

Peter Hook

11/19

Nick Flynn

12/19
Photograph: Basso CANNARSA/Opale
Subject: SAUNDERS George - Copyright: Basso CANNARSA/Opale - Date: 20090707-
13/19
14/19
Photograph: Tom Craig

Martin Amis

15/19
16/19

Karen Russell

17/19

Sherman Alexie

18/19
Photograph: Kenneth Noland
Jamaica Kincaid
19/19

Ben Katchor

With a bounty of book readings, signings and other literary happenings in New York this winter, there's no reason to stay holed up with a tome alone. The city's bookstores and cultural institutions are offering many different events—from dinner with Martin Amis to a marathon reading of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol—that should appeal to all sorts of literature fans.

Artful Dining

Critics' pick

This special series of symposia bring readers face-to-face with favorite authors in New Yorkers' private residences. Those of us who are strapped for cash will have to stay away, but anyone feeling flush can receive dinner and discussion in close quarters, with just 24 other attendees.

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Location TBA Until Mon Dec 10

Building Stories: Chris Ware in conversation with Zadie Smith

Critics' pick

Obsessive graphic novelist Chris Ware has done his part to prove what can be accomplished in his medium of choice, with meticulous and deeply affecting works such as Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. His latest, the defiantly corporeal Building Stories, is a series of short tales printed on all kinds of strips, pamphlets and booklets.

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New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building Until Tue Dec 11

Selected Shorts: An Evening with Radiolab

Critics' pick

This coproduction between Symphony Space and PRI's Radiolab promises much more than a standard story reading. Hosts Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad will undoubtedly blend fun, sonic experiments and big ideas into performances by their guests Liev Schreiber, Kyra Sedgwick and Jane Curtin.

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Symphony Space Until Wed Dec 12

A Tribute to Louise Glück

Critics' pick

Notable new volume Poems 1962–2012 collects all of Pulitzer Prize winner Louise Glück's verses from that period. Tonight, Frank Bidart, Dana Levin, Robert Pinsky, Peter Streckfus and Ellen Bryant Voigt celebrate Glück's simple lines and their profound implications.

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Theresa Lang Community and Student Center (at The New School) Until Fri Dec 14 Free

What the Dickens? Third Annual A Christmas Carol Marathon

Critics' pick

Downtown authors and actors transport a crowd from wintry NYC to wintry Victorian London in a marathon reading of Dickens’s classic tale of redemption from humbuggery. With readers including authors Eileen Myles, Mike Albo, Téa Obreht and undoubted unannounced surprises, what starts as a shopping pit stop may keep you enthralled until “God bless us, every one.”

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Housing Works Bookstore Cafe 20 Dec 2014 Free

Junot Díaz + Julie Otsuka

Critics' pick

As with The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, the Pulitzer-winning Díaz’s latest book, This Is How You Lose Her,continues to strike a compelling balance between worlds. In 2011, Julie Otsuka's The Buddha in the Attic detailed the world of “picture brides” from Japan with the same straightforward, powerful prose as the author used in When the Emperor Was Divine.

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92nd Street Y Until Mon Dec 17

A Light That Never Goes Out: Tony Fletcher Reveals the Smiths

Critics' pick

Rock biographer Tony Fletcher turns his attention to the gloom and glam of Morrissey, Marr and the Smiths in his new A Light That Never Goes Out. The imposing but highly readable tome charts the band's inception, internal squabbles and dissolution, with access to both the band (minus Moz, of course) and its papers.

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Strand Book Store Until Mon Dec 17

39th Annual New Year's Day Marathon Benefit Reading

Critics' pick

You’ll probably be too hungover to count this high, but this is the 39th edition of Poetry Project’s event. More than 140 writers, musicians and dancers read and perform to a standing-room-only crowd at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. Proceeds from admission, and book and food stalls, fund the group’s mission to inject some classy art into the city.

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The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church Until Thu Jan 2

Film Screening and Book Discussion: Being Nick Flynn and The Reenactments

Critics' pick

For those who prefer to brush away their layers of meta with a putty knife, tonight's event involves a screening of a film (Being Nick Flynn) based on a book by Nick Flynn (Another Bullshit Night in Suck City), as well as a discussion about Flynn's new book (The Reenactments)—which is itself about the making of the aforementioned film. Flynn and Being Nick Flynn's director, Paul Weitz, worked closely together in adapting the material and on set, so the discussion should provide a certain degree of intimacy.

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BAM Rose Cinemas Until Tue Jan 8
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Best bookstores in New York City

To get a sense of New York as not only a literate, but literary, city, it's a good idea to go where the big writers and readers spend their free time. The independent bookshops on this list represent some of the best places to find out what your fellow city dwellers are consuming and ruminating about; and of course, there are also bargains to be had. McNally Jackson Books McNally Jackson features a good variety of nonfiction, novels and magazines, as well as an expertly curated selection of children's classics and perennial favorites. Young readers can also swing by for the weekly story and crafts session, which takes on a different theme each Saturday. Strand Book Store Boasting 18 miles of books, the Strand has a mammoth collection of more than 2 million discount volumes, and the store is made all the more daunting by its chaotic, towering shelves and surly staff. Reviewer discounts are in the basement, while rare volumes lurk upstairs. If you spend enough time here you can find just about anything, from that out-of-print Victorian book on manners to the kitschiest of sci-fi pulp. Greenlight Bookstore Opened in 2009, Brooklyn's Greenlight Bookstore is run by Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, who formerly worked at another high-end independent bookstore, McNally Jackson. She brought with her an eye for a comfortable space, and she's stocked it with a selection that goes well beyond best-sellers. The store hosts reading events for both adults and children, often with local writers. A

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Best reading series in New York City

In New York, even the most homebound of bookworms make the trek to readings, talks and literary happenings when their favorite authors and writer friends have their moments in the spotlight. From fiction writers taking risks to sexy poets purring their verses, here are some of the best places to hear spoken words. The Happy Ending Music and Reading Series Hosted by author Amanda Stern, the Happy Ending series is consistently one of the most entertaining literary events in the city: a wild combination of author readings, multimedia displays, humor and risk taking (if you've been, you know what we mean). Eat, Drink and Be Literary This series of civilized yet casual evenings features dinner, wine and a reading from a noteworthy writer, followed by a moderated Q&A about the author's creative process. Franklin Park Reading Series Notable authors spin yarns in this Crown Heights series, which is curated by Penina Roth. The How I Learned Series Blaise Allysen Kearsley stuffs this hip, energetic evening of readings with writers, comics and bloggers, each of whom recounts a story that’s tied to a specific lesson. The Poetry Brothel This interactive performance series presents a literary cathouse, where male and female “poetry whores” provide private readings behind closed curtains. For discounted entry, join the group's mailing list at thepoetrybrothel.com. The Behind the Book Reading Series At this monthly event, sponsored by literacy nonprofit Behind the Book, authors read from th

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Ten Erotic Books Sexier Than Fifty Shades of Grey

These erotic books are hotter and much better written than the E.L. James S&M trilogy—save Fifty Shades of Grey for your mother. Erotic books by E.L. James: You, your friends, your mother and most strangers on the sidewalk or the subway know not only the name and reputation of the S&M trilogy which begins with Fifty Shades of Grey, but likely more than a few intimate details about the story. As happy as we are that people are reading, the truth is that this so-called mommy-porn tale is nothing more than a slightly naughty, poorly written melodrama. The following ten erotic books are alternatives we at TONY find riskier, sexier and simply better written than E.L. James’s feminist-baiting juvenilia.   Kafka Was the Rage by Anatole Broyard In this slim volume, New York Times book critic Broyard details what it was to be an artist in Greenwich Village in the 1940s. Between opening a bookstore and attending the New School, Broyard discovers what sex can be with an artist named Sheri Martinelli, a protégée of Anaïs Nin: “She made love the way she talked—by breaking down the grammar and the rhythms of sex. Young men tend to make love monotonously, but Sheri took my monotony and developed variations on it, as if she were composing a fugue.” There’s also lots of rewarding talk about underpants.   Buy Kafka Was the Rage on Amazon      Get Kafka Was the Rage on your Kindle Vox by Nicholson Baker This master of minutiae—he once wrote an entire novel set on an escalator—is also well know

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By: Tiffany Gibert

Best New York places in literature (that you can still visit)

Connect with the Plaza Hotel, the Empire State Building and the Museum of Natural History through the eyes of great New York writers. Great authors don’t just paint a picture of New York places, they have a way of making city sights burrow under your skin and remain there for life. Sadly, since the metropolis is always changing, many favorite New York places depicted in novels and stories will have been demolished and replaced by the time you’re ready to finally visit. TONY picks some of New York’s iconic (and not so iconic) literary landmarks that can still receive a reader and all of their starry-eyed expectation. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: The Museum of Natural History Oh, Holden Caulfield, don’t ever change. The young and disaffected narrator of The Catcher in the Rye wanders to a number of recognizable New York City places in his escape from the phonies at Pencey Prep, but perhaps none of them have changed as little over the years as the Museum of Natural History. “They were always showing Columbus discovering America, having one helluva time getting old Ferdinand and Isabella to lend him the dough to buy ships with, and then the sailors mutinying on him and all.” The lower reaches of the museum are probably lousy with some of the same artifacts that were collecting dust in Holden’s time; the “fuck you” graffiti he encounters might just still be visible. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Wharton’s Pulitzer Prize–winning

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