Cheap things to do: Best reading series

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FSG Reading Series
Held upstairs at the fabled Russian Samovar (Susan Sontag’s old haunt, blah blah blah), this series introduces you to writers established, up-and-coming and simply good. Since each event functions as sort of a party, a lot of people hang around afterward, scratching their chins, getting hammered on grappa—you know, literary stuff. Russian Samovar, 256 W 52nd St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (212-757-0168). FREE

Happy Ending
Series Curated by author Amanda Stern, this series recently moved from Chinatown’s Happy Ending bar to the larger Joe’s Pub. And no wonder: According to Stern’s dictate, authors must read and “take a chance” (i.e., humiliate themselves). The icebreaking antics somehow make all those bookish people in the audience talk to one another. Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St between Astor Pl and E 4th St (212-539-8778). First Wednesday of the month, $15.

Housing Works Bookstore
The events here—often curated by writers—are consistently high quality (regulars include George Saunders and Jonathan Lethem). And judging by a recent reading and fete for writer-musician Drew Daniel, sometimes people even whip off their cardigans and dance. 126 Crosby St between E Houston and Prince Sts (212-334-3324). Free admission with a book donation.

NEXT Reading series where audience members actually acknowledge each other’s existence (possibly because alcohol floweth)

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Cheap things to do in New York City
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