Summer book readings and talks

Prepare yourselves, bibliophiles, this summer is full of superb literary happenings



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Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman Photograph: Kimberly Butler

This summer, you can expand your literary horizons by doing more than just leafing through some books at the beach. Highlights include a performance from much-loved author Neil Gaiman, who hosts an evening at Carnegie Hall and reads a novella accompanied by an orchestra, plus you can laugh and sigh as David Sedaris discusses his latest autobiographical musings.

Edna O'Brien + Edward St. Aubyn

Two impressive writers, one Irish and one English, make a rare combined appearance in the city. The eminent O'Brien's fiction and plays have the keen ability to put the inner lives of female protagonists on display, and O'Brien recently did the same for herself in memoir Country Girl. Best known for his darkly funny Patrick Melrose series, about growing up and getting away from a highly dysfunctional family, St. Aubyn satirizes literary prizes in Lost for Words.

  1. 92nd Street Y 1395 Lexington Ave, between 91st and 92nd Sts
  2. Thu May 29
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David Sedaris

The This American Life contributor's latest batch of autobiographical stories ponder England, book tours and more tales of the Sedaris family. The essayist may have explored the most dramatic events of his life in titles such as Naked, but Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls finds the humorist even more at ease with the oddities of daily life.

  1. Housing Works Bookstore Cafe 126 Crosby St, between E Houston and Prince Sts, 10012
  2. Tue Jun 3
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Rivka Galchen in conversation with Karen Russell

Two fiction writers who specialize in tales of the strange, dark and whimsical converse about their latest titles. Russell's recent e-book, Sleep Donation, probes the nature of empathy in a distopian future that finds ordinary citizens turned into insomniacs. In American Innovations, her follow-up to 2008 novel Atmospheric Disturbances, Galchen echoes canonized tales of Gogol, Borges and others with her own sort of magical realism.

Karl Ove Knausgaard in conversation with Jeffrey Eugenides

As the third volume is translated into English, Knausgaard's six-part memoir, cheekily titled My Struggle, continues to absorb. Sure to be on the agenda as the Norwegian author sits with Eugenides (The Marriage Plot, Middlesex): family, the struggle to write, memory and when being too honest can upset an entire country—as My Struggle has back home.

Geoff Dyer

Whether he's talking photography, John Berger, WWI or Doughnut Plant doughnuts, Dyer writes with a keen eye and a sense of the ecstatic properties of language. Slipping among personal essay, criticism and tangential flights of fancy, Dyer takes on life aboard an aircraft carrier in his new Another Great Day at Sea. He'll talk today with the NYPL's Paul Holdengräber.

  1. New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building Fifth Ave, at 42nd St, 10036
  2. Tue Jun 10
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Neil Gaiman: The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains

The beloved novelist and comic-book writer returns to NYC with a multimedia presentation sure to wow. Accompanied by the FourPlay String Quartet and projections from illustrator Eddie Campbell, Gaiman will read a novella about "family, the otherworld and a search for hidden treasure."

  1. Carnegie Hall, Perelman Stage 881 Seventh Ave , at 57th St
  2. Fri Jun 27
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