Brooklyn-based author Shelly Reuben, whose books have been nominated for Edgar, Prometheus and Falcon awards, will soon release a new novel, “The Boys of Sabbath Street.” A crime novel with whimsy undertones, the book follows Artemus Ackerman, a retired magician who investigates a fire on Sabbath Street. A licensed private detective and certified fire investigator herself, the author will appear to discuss her book in Bay Ridge on April 19 (5 p.m. at The BookMark Shoppe, 8415 Third Ave.), and on April 26 (3 p.m. at Ft. Hamilton Library, 9424 Fourth Ave.)
In her new cookbook “Vegan Beans from Around the World,” Brooklyn-based pastry chef and cook Kelsey Kinser presents 75 adventurous recipes for nutritious and flavorful dishes that feature a key ingredient: beans. Kinser was inspired to compile this book as she recognized that beans are an important part of everyone’s diet—not just vegans and vegetarians. They are packed with protein, vitamins, minerals and flavor, making them the perfect base for countless meals.
Among the recipes included are a green bean casserole, chana masala, Greek lentil salad, samosas, southwestern chili, chickpea cupcakes and more. “I have an entirely new appreciation for the almighty—yet still humble—legume,” explains Kinser. “Inexpensive, healthy, delicious, and appreciated the whole world over, beans are a universal language. What more can you ask for?”
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Kelsey Kinser grew up in South Florida and dreamed of traveling to many distant lands. First, however, she went to Chicago, where she attended the renowned French Pastry School before moving to New York City, where she worked her way up to become a pastry chef in a popular group of restaurants. She took a year off from the city life to travel throughout Europe, where she worked in restaurants in France, Spain, and Greece. She currently resides and works in Brooklyn.
“The Blood Guard” (Two Lions/Amazon Children’s Publishing; March 4) by Carter Roy is a captivating and magical adventure that launches a brand new series for middle grade readers. It’s the sometimes funny, sometimes scary, but always thrilling swashbuckling tale of an ordinary boy who is forced to become a hero, rescue his parents, and protect himself and a girl from his school against an ancient evil order who want nothing less than to bring about the end of the world.
Thirteen-year-old Ronan Truelove considers himself to be a typical teen, but after his father is abducted, his mother finally tells him the truth: that she’s a member of an ancient order of knights, the Blood Guard, a sword-wielding secret society sworn to protect the Pure—thirty-six noble souls whose safety is crucial if the world as we know it is to survive. In search of her husband, she leaves Ronan to meet a chaperone on a train out of town, but almost immediately he is chased by a posse of sinister people who will stop at nothing to apprehend him.
Now all those after-school activities (gymnastics, judo, survival training, etc.) his mother made him take make sense. For suddenly Ronan is swept up in a whirlwind race, dashing from one danger to the next, using his wits to escape the evildoings of the Bend Sinister. Falling in with two unlikely companions, Greta, a scrappy, strong-willed girl he’s never much liked, and Jack, a devil-may-care teenage pickpocket, Ronan learns what it means to be a hero and proves he’s not so ordinary after all.
While “The Blood Guard” is pure fantasy, Carter Roy was inspired by a real concept. According to Kabbalah, there exist thirty-six special people whose purity of soul redeems the rest of humanity. (Kabbalistic folklore calls them tzaddikim or nistarim, though elsewhere—and in The Blood Guard—they are known as the thirty-six Pure.) If the souls of enough of these pure ones were somehow to be permanently or prematurely extinguished, our world would end.
Carter Roy has painted houses and worked on construction sites; waited tables and driven delivery trucks; been a stage hand for rock bands and a videographer on a cruise ship; worked as a line cook in a kitchen, a projectionist in a movie theater, and a rhetoric teacher at a university. He has been a reference librarian and a bookseller, edited hundreds of books for major publishers, and written award-winning short-stories for adult readers that appeared in a half-dozen journals and anthologies. He lives in Brooklyn.
Visit www.carterroybooks.com or follow him on Twitter: @CarterRoyBooks
Richard Hell Launches Autobiography March 4
Musician, writer, and provocateur Richard Hell was at the center of the social and cultural upheaval of the 1970s that came to be called “punk.” With his best friend, Tom Verlaine, he started the band Television, which as the first band to play at a then-obscure downtown bar called CBGBs, ignited an entire movement. Malcolm McLaren admitted that he drew inspiration for the look and music of the Sex Pistols from Hell’s original style. Hell’s song “Blank Generation,” recorded with the Voidoids in 1977, became a defining anthem for the searching, renegade youth of the era.
Hell’s unsurprisingly candid and reflective autobiography, “I Dreamed I was a Very Clean Tramp,” chronicles the coming of age and artistic birth of this iconoclastic icon, and indelibly captures the seminal years when punk rock exploded across New York and London. At the vortex of this seismic shift, Hell helped define its unwritten principles and the sound of its primal battle cry. Hell will appear at the powerHouse Arena in DUMBO on March 4 to speak about his book with music journalist and “Dean of American Rock Critics” Robert Christgau.
Born Richard Meyers in Lexington, Kentucky, the boy who would ultimately push the boundaries of art had a childhood defined by the desire to run away. Innately bright, but a poor student, young Richard had trouble in school and ultimately dropped out of high school—although not before meeting fellow boarding school classmate and future band mate Tom Verlaine (née Miller). At seventeen, Richard landed in New York, where he found work in bookstores and other low-paying jobs, lived in a series of downtown dumps, and began writing poetry and publishing a literary magazine. He had love affairs, including a character-shaping two-year relationship with Claes Oldenburg’s ex-wife Patty, fifteen years old than he.
When Tom later arrived in New York, the two friends formed a fraternal bond and artistic collaboration that lead to the formation of Television. The band’s regular gig at CBGBs put Hell and Verlaine on the map, and Richard embraced the life of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. His circle included all of the downtown artists who would come to define the age alongside him—Patti Smith, Chris Stein and Debbie Harry, the Ramones. But discord forced Hell to leave Television and move on. He formed The Heartbreakers with Johnny Thunders and later started the Voidoids with Robert Quine, landing a recording deal with Sire Records and touring the UK as the opening act for The Clash. After years of taking drugs, Hell also found himself with a full-blown addiction to heroin, and later cocaine, ultimately confronting these nemeses with the same unapologetic lack of sentimentality that has marked his art.
“I Dreamed I was a Very Clean Tramp” is a post-punk twist on the classic American coming of age story. An acutely rendered memoir of passion played out through art, rebellion, sex, and drugs, it is the unforgettable testament of one revolutionary artist and the cultural movement he helped create.
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The March 4 event will begin at 7 p.m. The powerHouse Arena is located at 37 Main St. in DUMBO.
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Richard Hell is the author of the novels “Go Now” and “Godlike,” and the collection of essays, diaries, and lyrics, “Hot and Cold.” Hell has published essays, reportage and fiction in such publications as Spin, GQ, Esquire, the Village Voice, Vice, Bookforum, Art in America, The New York Times, and The New York Times Book Review. From 2004-2006 he was the film critic for Black Book magazine. Hell lives in New York City.
In 2006, Brooklynite Ralph Baker was searching for a way to share his passion for investing with his 11-year-old son and his friends. Inspired by his own father, who had emphasized the importance of financial knowledge, Baker founded a financial literacy program devoted to familiarizing inner-city kids with the financial world. But back in 2006, his program — called New York Shock Exchange — garnered little attention.
Today, though, with the lingering effects of the recession plaguing younger generations, leaders in all spheres —from Wall Street to the government to nonprofits — are advocating for an increased financial literacy amongst today’s youth.
In his recent book, “Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead,” Baker analyzes the U.S. economy and stock market through the lens of the young boys he taught through the NY Shock Exchange.
Baker will be sharing all of this and more at a book signing and intimate discussion at 38 South Oxford St. in Fort Greene on February 22 from 6 to 9 p.m. The event is free and includes an open bar.
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Ralph Baker received his B.A. in economics from Hampden-Sydney College and his MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. He has over 15 years of experience in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions and is currently the Executive Director of the New York Shock Exchange. Baker resides in Brooklyn. “Shock Exchange” is his first book.
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Shock Exchange is available at Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com and St. Mark’s Bookshop in NYC. For more information, visit www.newyorkshockexchange.com.
Brooklyn Reading Works will present on Feb. 13 The Authored Voice: Storytelling Across Lives and Media, an evening of stories and conversation with Murray Nossel, Catherine Burns, Trisha Coburn, and Edgar Oliver, moderated by John Guidry. These award-winning panelists will talk about the various media they have used to tell stories-performance, film, books, videos-and the different ways they cultivate voice for themselves and others. The discussion will explore how storytelling is cathartic, empowering, entertaining … and sometimes a pretty good business.
The event will take place at the Old Stone House in Park Slope at 8 p.m. A $5 donation at the door is appreciated.
MURRAY NOSSEL is co-founder of Narativwith Paul Browde, a company that has developed a storytelling methodology based on Murray and Paul’s stage performance, Two Men Talking.The performance began as an improvised telling of the story of their friendship, from their school days in South Africa to New York in the 1990s and the present. Storytelling was central to Murray’s practice as a clinician in AIDS services during the height of the epidemic, and he is also an award-winning filmmaker whose work includes “Why Can’t We Be a Family Again?”, “A Brooklyn Family Tale”,”Paternal Instinct”, and “Turn to Me”, featuring Nobel Prize-winning author Elie Wiesel. Murray holds a doctorate in Social Work from Columbia University and teaches in Columbia’s Master of Science in Narrative Medicine program.
TRISHA COBURN has worked for a number of years as a fine artist in Boston and New York. She received her BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University, and she is also an interior designer with De La Torre Design. Trisha’s storytelling began with a one-day workshop at Narativ and eventually led her toThe Moth, presenting her story, ”Miss Macy,” on tour and on The Moth Radio Hour. Trisha is currently working on a collection of short stories based on her childhood experiences growing up in Alabama.
CATHERINE BURNS is The Moth’s long time Artistic Director and a frequent host of the Peabody Award-winning The Moth Radio Hour. She is the editor of the New York Times Best Seller “The Moth: 50 True Stories.” Prior to The Moth, she directed and produced independent films and television, interviewing such diverse talent as Ozzy Osbourne, Martha Stewart and Howard Stern. She is the director of the solo show “Helen & Edgar”, which opened at The Public Theater in January with the Under the Radar Festival, where it was named a pick of the festival by The New Yorker, Time Out and WNYC.
EDGAR OLIVER is a novelist, poet, and playwright who has been lauded as “a living work of theater all by himself” by Ben Brantley of The New York Times. He is a member of the Axis Theatre Company, under the direction of Randy Sharp. His one-man show “East 10th Street: Self-Portrait with Empty House” was the recipient of a Fringe First Award at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His most recent show, “Helen & Edgar”, directed by the Moth’s Artistic Director Catherine Burns and produced by Moth Founder George Dawes Green, did a sold-out run at The Public Theater with the Under the Radar Festival. He has published three collections of his poems—”A Portrait of New York by a Wanderer There”, “Summer”, and “The Brooklyn Public Library” —and a novel, “The Man Who Loved Plants.”
Greenpoint workshop offers inspiration for writers
The 13th Floor, a writing community that provides creative inspiration and feedback to writers of all experience levels, is teaming up with artist and tattooist Steven Avalos of Evil and Love Tattoo in Greenpoint to create an immersive, artistic experience for creative writers in the neighborhood.
Hosting a writing workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 7-10 p.m., The 13thFloor will bring in Mieka Pauley, a singer/songwriter who will perform and share insight about her writing process.
The 13th Floor aims to use art, music and enveloping prompts to help writers discover and develop their individual voices.
The Feb. 11 event begins at 7 p.m. and will take place at Evil and Love Tattoo shop at 211 Franklin St. in Greenpoint. The event is $15 in advance and $30 at the door. For more information, visit www.the13thfloor.wix.com/writers.
In connection with the Brooklyn Historical Society’s new exhibition, “Brooklyn Abolitionists/In Pursuit of Freedom,” BHS, in partnership with Green-Wood, will host a book talk with Frank Decker to discuss his new book about our nation’s greatest struggle. The book, titled “Brooklyn’s Plymouth Church in the Civil War Era,” explores the important role that Plymouth Church played in anti-slavery activism in Brooklyn under the leadership of Henry Ward Beecher, who guided his congregants as they held mock slave auctions, raised money to purchase freedom for slaves, and maintained their church as a busy Underground Railroad station.
Henry Ward Beecher is also one of Green-Wood’s most famous permanent residents. Green-Wood’s Historical Collections include over 200 items related to this dynamic figure and the legacy of Plymouth Church. After the book talk, attendees are invited to view a selection of these rare artifacts, including personal correspondence, historic photos, and newspaper clippings.
The book talk will take place on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Brooklyn Historical Society (128 Pierrepont St. in Brooklyn Heights). The event is $5 or free for BHS members.
Author To Speak in Cobble Hill
Famed author Meg Wolitzer described Rachel Pastan’s debut novel “This Side of Married” as “a wedding bouquet of great wit and affection” and Booklist praised it as “smart and insightful.” Pastan followed that up with the novel “Lady of the Snakes” in 2008, of which NPR’s Maureen Corrigan declared: “I was hooked from the opening scene” and the Washington Post observed: “Pastan’s writing is fluid and frank, and her characters are luminescent.”
Since then, the graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop found herself working at a small contemporary art museum, allowing her to explore the intersection of the art and literary worlds. And her new colleagues, who kept invoking her predecessor in the job, also provided the inspiration for her stunning new novel, “Alena” (Riverhead Books), which she will discuss in Cobble Hill on Feb. 20 at BookCourt.
“Alena,” in which a young curator finds herself haunted by the legacy of her predecessor at an art museum on Cape Cod, is a brilliant restaging of Daphne du Maurier’s classic, “Rebecca”—one of the most popular novels of the 20th century and later an Academy Award-winning Hitchcock film—as well as a stirring exploration of beauty, envy and the nature of originality.
With her evocative prose, Pastan matches the hothouse tension of Du Maurier’s story while infusing “Alena” with its own hairpin twists and turns and devastating denouement. She draws upon her own experience to wonderful effect, giving readers entree into the alluring and sometimes disconcerting world of avant-garde art and artists. The result is a lyrical murder mystery that is just as tantalizing to those who have never read “Rebecca” as the many for whom it is a cherished classic.
From a dazzling inside look at the Venice Biennale to the inner workings of a cutting-edge museum set on a moody and atmospheric Cape Cod, Pastan offers a window into a world of scintillating artistic, erotic, and emotional entanglements. Haunted and haunting, “Alena” is an inspired and provocative story that explores creative and romantic rivalry and the blurred borderline between art and artist.
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The Feb. 20 event will begin at 7 p.m. BookCourt is located at 163 Court St. in Cobble Hill
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Rachel Pastan is the author of two previous novels, “Lady of the Snakes” and “This Side of Married,” and has won numerous prizes for her short fiction. A member of the core faculty of the Bennington Writing Seminars, she is also Editor-at-Large for the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, where she writes the blog Miranda.
From “The Ambivalent Memoirist“
Manhattan is now my home. But today I look over my shoulder at the Brooklyn that raised me. I look into an obscure distance and wonder, am I where I belong?
My former neighbor Rick is moving after thirty-two years in his Brooklyn Heights apartment. He’s found his place in Palm Springs, where friends wait. They’ll set up a lounge chair for him around their swimming pool, put up the burgers on the outdoor grill. Unlike me, he is making a giant leap.
I moved to Brooklyn Heights in 1977 when I was 26. I signed a three-year lease and stayed for twenty-seven years. When I left for the wilds of Manhattan, Rick and I had said a sad good-bye. Our longtime Brooklyn friendship had a certain kind of safety that had reached an unexpected depth; tears poured from my eyes. With Rick on the eighth floor, me on the ninth, it seemed as if we’d shared a duplex. Rick is gay, and our seeming “co-habitation” was uncomplicated. We were aware of each other’s movements, the tap running, my footsteps on his ceiling—his singing in the shower drifted through a space in the pipes. We could tell when there were four footsteps, instead of two, and hence knew when we’d have intense relationship conversations in the elevator.
Although Rick wasn’t born in Brooklyn as I was, the borough seeped into his blood in the way Brooklyn does. There’s that homey, yet upscale paradox—you stand on line to get into an Italian restaurant in Boerum Hill—yet nothing with red sauce appears on the menu. You walk up Court Street and slip into an unimaginable number of pizza places, with slices sold through storefront windows.
This afternoon Rick and I are meeting at Fortune House on Henry Street; it’s my favorite Chinese restaurant because it’s so Brooklyn. When people ask me to explain that, I’m at a loss; Brooklyn is a feeling and a nostalgia: Cokes sipped through straws at Packman’s Candy Store on Schenectady Avenue, the Top 100 chart at Municipal Records on Eastern Parkway, Murray the K’s Rock ’n’ Roll shows at The Fox Theater on Fulton Street, kids scattered on every Crown Heights street corner for Kick the Can.
Hipsters take note—I had Brooklyn first!
Later Rick will tantalize me with details of his new life waiting to be lived. He’ll purchase a sky-blue convertible and drive with the top down. He’s already bought a condominium twice the size of his co-op, for half the price. New lives are exciting, so filled with hope of what they’ll contain, who we’ll meet, and mostly who we’ll become in our new place.
One of my proudest achievements was leaving Brooklyn. Living where my parents had settled when they emigrated in 1947 meant never stepping into my own shoes; staying symbolized my inability to live my own life. Still, Brooklyn is in my marrow.
Now I’m settled into my 212 area code and its accompanying blaze of activity. But today I return to a quieter place and say another good-bye to Brooklyn.