10.06.2004

I absolutely must pick up Monique Truong's The Book of Salt tomorrow, in advance of the next Cupcake, just seven days away! I am really excited, and looking forward to reading it, and to hear her read from her work. (In case you are wondering, Elizabeth curates most of the readings. I offer seasonal shortlists that she sometimes ignores and sometimes uses for inspiration, and occasionally book readers for the series. Publicity details for the readings and other management aspects of the series usually keep me pretty busy. And poor Jen, she bears the burden of always having to have something clever to say when she hosts. So we haven't always all read the books before an author is booked, but a person can get pretty far on good faith.)

Sometimes I really feel like the luckiest person in the world, to live in a place like New York, where some seriously amazing, truly gifted writers live en masse and are eager to share the passion that they feel for their books by reading their carefully wrought words to a public hungry to experience literature in a lively, engaging way. I heart Cupcake, for the collective endeavor that it is, with committed people (including myself) working hard to create that environment every month at no cost to the listeners.

When Elizabeth told me that she had booked Monique Truong for this fall, I was overjoyed -- the buzz on her book was deafening last year; The Book of Salt won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award 2004, the Bard First Fiction Prize 2003, the Barbara Gittings Award in Literature from the Stonewall Book Awards 2004 from the American Library Association, and Truong was the recipient of a PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship, just to name a few accolades she has garnered lately.

There is a great interview with her here (excerpt: "When I was in college, I bought a copy of the Alice B. Toklas Cook Book because I was curious about Toklas's hash brownie recipe..."), an online WNYC interview, and an excerpt of the book available online here.

I am also very excited to hear Joanne Jacobson read from her recently completed memoir, Hunger Artist, as I enjoyed the essay she wrote for The Nation a while back about Tupperware's impact on American culture and the company's unique influence in the lives of women.

Details on next Tuesday's regularly scheduled Cupcake reading are at the main site. We hope to see you then.

-Lauren
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