With millions of people out of work, with an economic recovery still far too fragile, with students and families being crushed by student loan debt, with millions of seniors denied their chance at one hot meal a day with Meals on Wheels and millions of little children pushed out of Head Start because of a sequester, with the country hours away from a government shutdown and days away from a potential default on the nation’s debt, the republicans have decided that the single most important issue facing our nation is to change the law so that employers can deny women access to birth control coverage… I have a daughter and I have granddaughters and I will never vote to let a group of backward-looking ideologues cut women’s access to birth control. We have lived in that world and we are not going back. Not ever.

Elizabeth Warren (via christinefriar)

When Elizabeth Warren runs for President, I will work for her campaign. 

(via katespencer)

I’m asking if this book is also part of the brainwashing, so we’re getting used to the idea that everything is going to be poor, everything is going to be illegal, and that the showers we take can only be 90 seconds? I’m trying to figure out how to deal with this propaganda/brainwashing that is happening in our society so I’m just asking if your book had anything to do with it

I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “the brainwashing” though I am intrigued by this question. With the Birthright series, I wanted to explore why certain goods become illegal or legal at various points in history, and how government policy can subtly (and not so subtly) impact people’s lives. These are ideas I also touched upon in my adult novel The Hole We’re In. You can find more about my reasons for writing All These Things I’ve Done here

Reading! In Brooklyn! At Word!

Though I have considered moving there several times a week for roughly the last eleven years, I believe the last time I was actually in Brooklyn was to see Robert Wilson’s Dream Play at BAM. Good stuff. Anyhow, it’s going to take me at least two subway lines to get to the venue (sadly, this means I will be wearing sensible, subway-riding shoes), so I hope at least a couple of you will make it out. If you’re a writer (pub’d or pre-pub’d), I believe you can still e-mail Russ about reading with me. Reading details below:

JWOMN at WORD: Just Working On My Novel with Gabrielle Zevin

Start: Fri, 06/25/2010 – 7:30pm
End: Fri, 06/25/2010 – 9:00pm

“Just Working On My Novel”: the bi-monthly new works critique series with alcohol, now a year old, is moving to WORD. This month features “The Hole We’re In” author Gabrielle Zevin

Lauren Conrad wrote a novel. Then she wrote another. That’s 2 novels, completed, finished, in the bag. If Laguna Beach’s LC can do it, anyone can, and that’s what “Just Working On My Novel” is here for. Conceived by publicist/social media person/friend of WORD Russ Marshalek after he realized that everyone, ever, is always “just working on their novels”, JWOMN has evolved into a bi-monthly curated new works reading series with published author hosts for each installment. Readings of all shapes and sizes occur, with only 2 stipulations:

1) All readings must be NO longer than 10 minutes.
2) All readings must be previously unpublished.

Please note: You do not need to sign up ahead of time – join us for this “literary open mic”! Having hosted such talent as Emily Mandel, Jami Attenberg, Hyatt Bass and hip-hop legend Jean Grae (reading from both published and unpublished pieces!), June’s “Just Working On My Novel”, the first in its new home at WORD Brooklyn, boasts the esteemed Gabrielle Zevin, author of (most recently) “The Hole We’re In” from Grove Press/Black Cat…and maybe you.

What you’ll do: Find something to read. Something that you’re working on. Something that needs to see the light of day. It can be fiction or non-fiction, essay or story. Something that hasn’t been published. Make sure it’s 10 minutes or less. Email Russ (russ@russcomm.net) to secure your sign-up spot.

What Gabrielle will do: JWOMN is honored and thrilled to have, for June’s author, Gabrielle Zevin. Having penned a myriad of titles for both adults and their younger counterparts, Gabrielle released “The Hole We’re In” this year to massive critical acclaim. It’s a powerful story of a modern family’s slow unraveling, and frankly it’s better than “The Corrections”. Gabrielle will read both from ‘The Hole We’re In” AND from an unpublished work. That’s right-this is a chance to hear a modern literary talent read from her incredible novel AND from something entirely new. Gabrielle will sign books after.

Don’t have something to read? Come, have some wine (there will be wine), listen to the new National record (it’ll probably be playing in WORD before the event if Russ gets his way) and listen to some powerhouse storytelling talent, new works, and the amazing Gabrielle Zevin.

“Just Working On My Novel”-should we call it “Just WORDking On My Novel” now? Yes, we think so!
Facebook RSVP encouraged.

126 Franklin St
Brooklyn, New York 11222-2002

Miscellany Bonanza: Starring a Ridiculous Picture of My Dog in a Hat

“My Dog in a Hat”

Also, a nifty feature in the Chicago Tribune where a reader reviews The Hole We’re In.

And finally, an agreeably prickly quote on criticism from Graydon Carter in the NY Times Book Review‘s review of Martin Amis’s new novel:

“Writing, remember, is the only art in which the creator is publicly judged by people who do precisely the same thing, but as a rule less well.”*

*I assume this may be a reference to a different quote that was in Martin Amis’s memoir, Experience. Graphic dentistry passages notwithstanding, Experience is one of my favorite books about writing. The pencil mark is someone else’s and should be ignored. I had scanned this quote years ago to e-mail to a despondent writer friend, which is why I happen to have it around.

"If you’re sad and like beer, I’m your lady": Reading Tomorrow Night! In a Bar!

I’ll be reading from my just published fourth novel along with the infamous Dale Peck and debut author Sam Munson (The November Criminals) as part of the Animal Farm Reading Series on Thursday, May 13th . It’s a bar — there will be drinks and possibly brawls. Feel free to bring friends or any appropriately warm bodies. But if you’re one of my young readers, you’ll want to sit this one out.

For those of you who can’t make it, fear not — I’ll also be reading in Brooklyn on June 25th. (Details to come.)

The quote and the image come from Guy Maddin’s magnificently strange film, THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD. The beautiful Isabella Rossellini plays a powerful beer baroness who has, if you can’t tell from the picture, glass legs filled with beer.


ANIMAL FARM will resume on Thursday, May 13 at 8:00 pm. As always, the location is HAPPY ENDING, 302 Broome St. between Forsyth St. and Eldridge St. The FARM has a liberal admission policy.


DANIEL GUZMÁN and PATRICK W. GALLAGHER will read FIELD REPORTS. For the uninitiated: FIELD REPORTS are essays, written by accomplished writers, about OTHER READINGS in New York’s READINGS SCENE that the writers have gone to see at some point.

DALE PECK’s novels include MARTIN AND JOHN (1993), THE LAW OF ENCLOSURES (1996), NOW IT’S TIME TO SAY GOODBYE (1999), BODY SURFING (2009), among others, and the young-adult novels DRIFT HOUSE: THE FIRST VOYAGE (2005), THE LOST CITIES: A DRIFT HOUSE VOYAGE (2007), and SPROUT (2009). His notorious criticism is collected in HATCHET JOBS (2004).

GABRIELLE ZEVIN’s four novels have been translated into over twenty languages and received many honors. Her most recent book, THE HOLE WE’RE IN (2010), was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. She also wrote the screenplay for the movie CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER WOMEN (2005), for which she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.

SAM MUNSON’s writing has appeared in the New York Times and the Times Literary Supplement, among other venues. He is the former Web Editor of Commentary magazine, and he graduated from the University of Chicago in 2003. Doubleday will publish his first novel, THE NOVEMBER CRIMINALS, in Spring 2010. Munson is the grandson of Norman Podhoretz.

DANIEL GUZMÁN’s stories have appeared in New York Press, L Magazine’s Literary Upstart series, Mama D’s Arts Bordello, Rosebud Magazine, and the Moth Storytelling Series. http://www.danielguzman.org

PATRICK W. GALLAGHER is the Host of Animal Farm (HOAF). His stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Glasses Glasses, The Adirondack Review, The Battered Suitcase, PopMatters, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, Wheelhouse, and elsewhere. He is a former managing editor of Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood and currently a contributing editor to Open City. Plus, Patrick is writing his PhD thesis in the department of Comparative Literature at NYU.


By Gabrielle Zevin

“Every day newspaper articles chronicle families battered by the recession, circling the drain in unemployment and debt or scraping by with minimum-wage jobs. But no novel has truly captured that struggle until now….The novel’s true subject is how a once-loving family reacts when times get bad. For Roger, that means taking refuge in his religion, even when it asks him to excommunicate his own children. For George, it means slipping into years-long depression. And all five Pomeroys — flawed, devoted, cranky, impetuous, utterly relatable — come blazingly alive on the page.”
– Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly

“Zevin’s writing is often surprisingly, if darkly, funny, thanks to her wry and astute cultural observations…Patsy is flawed like the rest of her family, but she also has complex thoughts and tries to live without hypocrisy….Her experiences in Iraq have left her scarred and jittery, but she has too much bravado to wallow in self-pity. Zevin breathes real life into this tough-girl vet, a heroine for our times, recognizable from life but new to fiction.”
– Malena Watrous, The New York Times Book Review

“Provocative… Yet somehow the novel feels generous. We identify with the Pomeroys’ trouble while we gasp at their casual brutality and marvel at Patsy, who journeys from oppressive Bible schools to military service in Iraq and, finally, to becoming a more loving mother than her own could have dreamed of being.”
– Caryn James, O, the Oprah Magazine

“Zevin delivers in her blazing second adult novel a Corrections for our recessionary times…. Zevin mixes sharp humor with moments of grace as she gives readers terrific insights into the problems of adult children removing themselves from the influence of parents, and establishes herself as an astute chronicler of the way we spend now.”
– Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

”Equal parts sharply funny and sobering, Zevin’s portrait of a family in financial free fall captures the zeitgeist.”
– People Magazine

"The Hole We’re In" Reading in NYC

I’ll be doing tricks for fish along with Dale Peck and Sam Munson. Additional literary revelry is scheduled. The organizer/host, Patrick William Gallagher, is a Max Fischer-level, flyer-maker so I’ll post his write-up here when I have it.

Animal Farm Reading Series
“All reading series are equal, but some reading series are more equal than others.”

Thursday, May 13, 2010 @ 8 p.m.

Happy Ending
302 Broome St., at Forsythe St.
Lower East Side