Winter's top 20 book events

Curl up with the season's offerings, then brave the cold to join their authors.


  • Mark Strand

    Mark Strand

  • Nathan Englander

    Nathan Englander

  • Photograph: Barna Burger

    Pter Ndas

    Pter Ndas

  • Photograph: Tamara Beckwith

    Adam Johnson

    Adam Johnson

  • Julie Otsuka

    Julie Otsuka

  • Billy Collins

    Billy Collins

  • Mike Doughty

    Mike Doughty

  • Edmund White

    Edmund White

  • Photograph: Marianne Barcellona

    Hannah Tinti

    Hannah Tinti

  • Tom McCarthy

    Tom McCarthy

Mark Strand

Mark Strand

Mark Strand
Now in his seventies, this great American poet and editor still writes and reads his pulsing verses, ringing out universal truths in simple scenarios that hum with emotion. This winter, the Pulitzer winner presents his latest volume, Almost Invisible, a collection of prose poems that plays with genre, encompassing "fable, domestic satire, meditation, joke and fantasy." 192 Books, 192 Tenth Ave between 21st and 22nd Sts (212-255-4022, 192books.com). Jan 24 at 7pm; free * 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave between 91st and 92nd Sts (212-415-5500, 92y.org). Jan 30 at 8pm with Susan Stewart; $27, ages 35 and under $10.

Selected Shorts: The Twenty-Seventh Man with Nathan Englander and Nora Ephron
After a suggestion from his friend Nora Ephron, writer Nathan Englander set forth to adapt the premier story from his 1999 collection, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, into a play nearly ten years after its debut. Tonight Ephron and Englander talk about The Twenty-Seventh Man, the process of adaptation and the new production, which will go up at the Public Theater later this year. Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St (212-864-5400, symphonyspace.org). Jan 25 at 7pm; $27, ages 30 and under $15.

Pter Ndas
This Hungarian's A Book of Memories made Susan Sontag crow that it was "one of the great books of the century." Now, after several years, Pter Ndas's massive magnum opus Parallel Stories has been translated into English. It follows the paths of three men from 1989 Berlin back to various sites in 1940s Europe, finding unexpected crossover between lives affected by war and the Holocaust. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave between 91st and 92nd Sts (212-415-5500, 92y.org). Jan 26 at 8pm; $27, ages 35 and under $10.

Adam Johnson
He's had a short-story collection (Emporium) and a novel (Parasites Like Us), but Adam Johnson's The Orphan Master's Son is shaping up to be his biggest book and one of winter's most promising titles. In it, Johnson sets a love story against a surreal and oppressive North Korean landscape, at once humanizing the DPRK for Westerners while spinning a good yarn. 192 Books, 192 Tenth Ave between 21st and 22nd Sts (212-255-4022, 192books.com). Jan 31 at 7pm; free.

Thalia Book Club: Julie Otsuka's The Buddha in the Attic
Julie Otsuka struck a nerve with When the Emperor Was Divine, which depicted WWII Japanese internment camps from a Japanese-American perspective. In 2011, she returned with The Buddha in the Attic, which details the world of "picture brides" from Japan with the same straightforward, powerful prose. Readers can ask the author their questions about the book this evening. Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St (212-864-5400, symphonyspace.org). Feb 1 at 7:30pm; $25, ages 30 and under $15.

Billy Collins
The former poet laureate has remained popular and noteworthy for good reason: His manner of writing reaches for both the sublime and the ridiculous with ease. His most recent collection, Horoscopes for the Dead, will reportedly be his last; the final poem in it contains the couplet "Who said I always had to play / the secretary of the interior?" Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway at 12th St (212-473-1452, strandbooks.com). Feb 2 at 7pm; buy the book or a $10 Strand gift card.

Mike Doughty
The former Soul Coughing frontman comes clean in his memoir, The Book of Drugs, chronicling the rise of the band and its subsequent crash, which Doughty's addiction had more than a bit to do with. The arc may be a familiar one, but as Doughty's followers already know, his idiosyncratic verve and eloquence go a long way in making old things sound new. Barnes & Noble Tribeca, 92 Warren St at Greenwich St (212-587-5389, bn.com). Feb 2 at 6pm; free.

Edmund White
Fiction, nonfiction, biography or autobiography—few writers have made the sort of impression Edmund White has in the world of gay literature. He's been busy of late, publishing a collection of nonfiction pieces about artists and authors (Sacred Monsters) in the fall and a new novel (Jack Holmes and His Friend) about the relationship between two ostensibly straight men in '60s New York City. The powerHouse Arena, 37 Main St at Water St (718-666-3049, powerhousearena.com). Feb 2 at 7pm; free. * 192 Books, 192 Tenth Ave between 21st and 22nd Sts (212-255-4022, 192books.com). Feb 17 at 7pm; free.

Selected Shorts: One Story Night
Isaiah Sheffer's cohort on the Selected Shorts radio broadcasts, Hannah Tinti, is also an accomplished author (The Good Thief) and the editor responsible for the eclectic and concentrated One Story magazine. Given that each issue of the journal is a single tale, it'll be a nice twist to get several of Tinti's authors in one sitting, including the richly detailed short-story pro Jim Shepard. Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St (212-864-5400, symphonyspace.org). Feb 22 at 7pm; $27, ages 30 and under $15.

Tom McCarthy
With titles including Remainder and last year's C, McCarthy has enthralled more than a handful of fiction fans with his atmospheric, meditative prose and a few stimulating ideas. His new book, Satin Island, is poised to be one of the biggest releases of the winter—we know it opens with an oil spill, and maybe in McCarthy's world of odd obscurities, that's all we need to know. 192 Books, 192 Tenth Ave between 21st and 22nd Sts (212-255-4022 , 192books.com). Feb 25 at 7pm; free.

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