Hip lit: Our picks for the best of the Brooklyn Book Festival

2012's Book Festival Market. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Book Festival

2012’s Book Festival Market. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Book Festival

Folks, we’ve got good news and bad news. Good: today is the start of the Brooklyn Book Festival. Bad: this is Marty Markowitz’s last year as its official presenter. To celebrate the departure of the leader of our fair borough, we’re going to kick it, literary style. The main festival takes place on Sunday, Sept. 22 in downtown Brooklyn. Like in previous years, the entire week before is a series of “bookend” events (see what they did there?) all over the borough. There are way too many of these great extracurricular activities to choose from. To help you out, we picked through them and found one for each day that’s better than the rest. Check ’em out below.

While there is a bourgeoisie cocktail opening party on the first night, we’d rather hit up the free Brooklyn literary trivia game, What’s So Literary About Brooklyn?, put on by book-mag The Coffin Factory. On hand will be lit big-wigs John M. Cusick of Armchair/Shotgun, Henry Stewart of The L Magazine and Brooklyn Magazine, and Penina Roth, curator of the Franklin Park Reading Series. It starts at 7pm at BookCourt, so get there early to stake a spot.

We won’t admit to spending a lot of time in bars with a book, trying to get that cute girl to ask us what we’re reading. However, we do believe in power of combining beer and reading, so we’re heading over at at 8pm to Over the Eight in Williamsburg for the Animal Farm Reading Series. Writers Adam Langer, Kiese Laymon, Erin Gloria Ryan, and Jennifer DeMeritt will be sharing their works with beers and what will certainly be attractive bar patrons.

By day three we’re going to be aching to get our work in print, so we’ll definitely try to pitch our work at Pitchapalooza. Writers will get one minute to pitch their books and, like American Idol, winners get an introduction to a pro in the field (like an agent or a publisher). Bring your elevator pitch to the Dweck Center, BPL Central Branch (Grand Army Plaza) at 7pm

At Mellow Pages, first you read, then you booze. via Facebook

At Mellow Pages, first you read, then you booze. via Facebook

Mellow Pages Library is teaming up with Minneapolis’ Consortium Book Sales to hold Brooklyn Salon Splendor, a literary reading/booze-up. Writers Joseph Bates, John Goldbach, Daniela Olszewska, and Chris Terry are crashing Brooklyn and reading from their published works. Doors open at 8pm, readings start at 9, and “serious boozing” starts at 10:30. We think that means you can only talk Kierkegaard.

Don’t know about you, but we probably will have managed to meet a certain bookish someone over the past week of events, so we’re going to take her to a more intimate setting for our Friday night: the Brooklyn Indie Party at Greenlight Bookstore 7:30pm. We’ll be dancing with Brooklyn’s independent book and mag publishers, as well as tossing back drinks with some of our best local authors. And, it’s free!

The night before the big, big fest, we’re getting a little more laid-back with a viewing of the rare Paradise Lost Elephant folio, Macbeth and Hamlet second folios, and other rare books from the Yuko Nii Foundation. We’re going to stick around for lectures about these wonderful pieces of art. 3pm at the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, 135 Broadway, Williamsburg, $5.

The big festival goes from 10am to 6pm and has dozens of events we can’t even begin to choose from. We’ll probably spend the day wandering from panel to panel, drooling and eventually collapsing under the sheer literary weight. But once we come to, we’ll probably find ourselves at Blondes, Screwing, and Insanity, a show at Union Hall featuring comedians Mindy Raf, Ophira Eisenberg, and Selena Coppock. They’ll perform stand-up, play music, and hold a panel about writing comedic books. Doors at 7:30pm, show at 8pm, $5.

One Comment

  • Careful. I hear Jonathan Franzen gets angry about authors pitching their books at book festivals. And whatever you do, don’t mention anything to him about after-parties at bookstores — unless you want to FEEL HIS RATH (which, I understand he might like, as long as you sleep with him).