The Smart Set: Lauren Cerand’s weekly events

The Smart Set is a weekly feature, compiled by Lauren Cerand, that usually appears Mondays at 12:30pm and highlights the best of the week to come. Special favor is given to New York’s independent booksellers and venues, and low-cost and free events. Please send details to lauren [at] by the Thursday prior to publication, with the date in the subject line.

MONDAY, 4.16: Says Smart Set pal and The Best Words in Their Best Order blogger Ami Greko, “If you … find yourself hankering for an event that will make you look impressive, fabulous and smart the next time your date asks, ‘what did you do last week?’ HERE is your answer: The Strand Bookstore. It’s a no-holds-barred literary battle of the heavyweights when FSG’s Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon faces off against Knopf’s Brad Leithauser to see who can create the best poem in front of an audience in only ten minutes. Debut poet Eliza Griswold opens the event with a reading from her upcoming book, Wideawake Field. Wine and cheese served. I hope you can all make it out–drinks to follow with the poetry literati, probably at Grassroots or something equally dive-y.” 7PM, FREE. in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Independent is “equally pleased to present the April 16th program, featuring As Smart As They Are: The Author Project, directed by Brooklyn Independent’s curator, Joe Pacheco. AS SMART AS THEY ARE follows the band One Ring Zero and documents their collaboration with McSweeney’s Publishing and an ensemble cast of award winning authors. Featuring: Paul Auster, Jonathan Lethem, Rick Moody, Dave Eggers, Jonathan Ames, Myla Goldberg, Darin Strauss, Amy Fusselman, Clay McLeod Chapman, & Lawrence Krauser.” At Barbes, 7PM, FREE [Full disclosure, as always: I helped to publicize the film when it was first released].

TUESDAY, 4.17: Half the reason I’m not ambitionless or addicted to low-quality snack foods and video games is because I grew up in DC and spent most of my childhood availing myself of the myriad charms of the Smithsonian. On Tuesday evening at the Corner Bookstore (one of the city’s best, at 93rd & Madison), “Heather Ewing, New York resident, young historian, and first-time author of The Lost World of James Smithson: Science, Revolution, and the Birth of the Smithsonian…The book is a biography of the mysterious Brit who left his entire fortune to the young U.S.A. for the foundation of a museum that later became the Smithsonian Institution.” 6PM, FREE.

WEDNESDAY, 4.18: “The second ever monthly reading and music series, MIXER, on April 18th at 7pm at Cakeshop (152 Ludlow St., between Stanton & Rivington). It is FREE. Featuring Vijay Seshadri, David Hollander, Amy Holman, Meehan Crist, and the musical sounds of The Chapin Sisters. Hosted by Melissa Febos and Rebecca Keith.” The Chapin Sisters make this one beyond essential.

THURSDAY, 4.19: At Barnes & Noble in Chelsea, “Alison McGhee will read from her two new books: FALLING BOY: A Novel (Picador, paperback original) and SOMEDAY, a picturebook currently #1 on the New York Times Children’s Bestseller List.” 7PM, FREE. And, “Girlsalon Writers: a monthly forum for lesbian/queer writers. Opens Thursday, April 19th, 2007. Hosted by author, Janine Avril. The Perch Cafe in Park Slope. 365 5th Avenue between 5th and 6th streets. 718-788-2830. FREE.”

FRIDAY, 4.20: Be bold. Take a risk. Write a letter. Embark on a grand adventure. Whatever, just something besides, you know, reading books, or talking about them. Just for a day.

SATURDAY, 4.21: “DEBUT LIT will usher in its first release party and reading with Random House author, Phil LaMarche and his highly acclaimed novel American Youth, at the KGB Bar in New York City. DEBUT LIT will also welcome Christian TeBordo, author of The Conviction and Subsequent Life of Savior Neck from Spuyten Duyvil press. DEBUT LIT is a national literary event series dedicated to helping new writers gain a wider audience. Its mission is to combine the release of a new literary work with parties that merge art, music and readings. DEBUT LIT believes that new work deserves a new idea, and literature can come alive in ways it never has before.” 7PM, FREE.

SUNDAY, 4.22: One word in my calendar for Sunday: Jarvis!


Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to my free newsletter, Ancestor Trouble.


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.