January 7, 2012
Yesterday, the mail lady delivered a very exciting package: my first copy of the Riverhead edition of Other People We Married, hot off the press. The book looks simply gorgeous: the cover is the same, but the book has new blurbs from Kelly Link, Thisbe Nissen, and Karen Russell, and is newly copyedited, and I couldn’t love it more if I tried. The pub date is February 7th, a month from today, and it will be available everywhere. Swoon.
Because I did so many events to support the book in New York City in 2011, I knew I only wanted to do one giant smash for the new edition. I am pleased as punch to announce that I’m doing Upstairs at the Square on March 8th, with my dear friend Stephin Merritt. The event will be free and open to the public, held at the Union Square Barnes + Noble, at 7pm. Stephin will sing some songs, I will read a bit, and then we will both be interviewed live on stage by the vivacious Katherine Lanpher. The Magnetic Fields have a new record out in March, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, and it is SO GOOD. After the event, we head off with the rest of the band for a tour of the US and Canada. (Tour blog TK)
The final piece of good news is a rather incredible feat of numbers: it turns out, that with 768 books sold at BookCourt, my book was the 3rd best bestseller of the year, after Patti Smith’s Just Kids (#1) and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad (#2). Number 3! I’ll take the bronze any day of the week, ladies. A pleasure doing business with you.
Here’s to 2012!
December 31, 2011
Click here to watch me interview all the 5 Under 35 Winners, and the writers who nominated them.
Note: you can tell when the cameraman tells me I’m too loud. It happens repeatedly. What can I say?
December 27, 2011
Most Underused Actor: Casey Affleck
Okay, so yes, technically I feel like I’m related to Casey Affleck, which I grant you is weird and kind of creepy, but I feel I can still be objective about this. Casey endeared himself to me forever with the classic song “I had a double burger,” which is the kind of thing I sing all day long. He was the best part of Tower Heist, he got artsy with Joaquin, he’s got a funny shaped mouth and I just love him to pieces.
Best Sax Solo of All Time, Ever: My dear friend Ian Young, playing with M83
Though 2011 was the year the Big Man departed for the astral plane, it was also the year that rock n roll rediscovered the saxophone. The highlight of that trend was M83 hiring my friend Ian to blow people’s minds. Exhibit A.
Best Book I Forgot to Put on My Best Of List: Amor Towles’ Rules of Civility
This first novel made me giggle with delight. I want sixteen more just like it. Rich kids and strivers in New York in the 30s? Doormen? Love triangles? Car wrecks? Yes please!
Best Baked Good that I Didn’t Make: City Bakery‘s Pretzel Croissant
How did no one tell me about these before 2011? It’s like everything I love, all together. If only they made a chocolate pretzel croissant. But this one will do for the foreseeable future.
Best Play: Lynn Nottage’s By The Way, Meet Vera Stark
Okay, yes, so a lot of my Top Picks have to do with the 1930s, and Hollywood, and glamorous ladies. So sue me! I was doing research. Nottage’s play, about a young African-American actress and the woman she works for, had me on the edge of my seat, and it wasn’t just because I was staring at Spike Lee and his wife, who were at the safe performance.
Best Idea We Ever Had: Houseswapping
This July, we spent a month in LA. We swam and ate guacamole and I worked my ass off. I want to do it every year, forever. If you live somewhere else and would like to spend a few weeks in Brooklyn with the two most beautiful cats in the world, holler at me. Places we like: Oregon, Maine, Texas, California, anywhere. Seriously, holler. This is where I live.
Best Restaurants: Gjelina (Los Angeles), Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, NY), the Russian Tea Room (NYC)
My husband took me to Blue Hill at Stone Barns to celebrate the sale of my novel. It was a lovely way to mark a very hectic and exciting and overwhelming period of time. Shockingly expensive, but how many times do you sell your first novel? Only once.
People I’m Going to Miss: Coach Taylor and his crew.
I know a lot of people who don’t watch television, which I suppose is their prerogative, but they’re missing out on some of the best, most heartbreaking narratives of our day. Case in point: Friday Night Lights. Do you know how much I care about football? Not at all. Not at ALL. Do you know how much I cried during the course of this series about high school football in texas? A lot. A LOT. It’s poetry, pure and simple. Ignore the second season. Everyone makes mistakes. The only thing that is mending the hole in my heart is Parenthood, also written by Jason Katims, who is clearly the best person in the world.
2012 is going to be a biggie, and I’m looking forward to it. Clear eyes, full hearts.
Happy new year.
December 19, 2011
I am a bit of a grinch (more on that next week), but this year, I’ll be damned if I didn’t find a little holiday spirit lurking deep within the depths of my soul.
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe asked me to participate in their Second Annual Christmas Carol Marathon this afternoon, and I read alongside VIP humans such as Ira Glass, Law and Order’s Jill Hennesey, Stringer Bell’s lawyer, Lorin Stein, John Hodgman, and then about 50% of my Twitter friends, including Julie Klam, Ann Leary, Alexander Chee, Elissa Schappell, Kurt Andersen, AND SO MANY MORE. My first “job” in high school was at Housing Works (quotation marks because it was a volunteer position, but still), and I love the whole operation. If being in a giant bookstore filled with people listening to Charles Dickens doesn’t warm the cockles of your heart, well, then, how very sad for you.
One of my favorite customers came into BookCourt on Friday with a holiday card for me–she is the mother of an extremely cute child, and he and I flirt shamelessly whenever possible. When I finally opened the card, after they had left, what I read made me cry. Here is what it sad: “Just wanted to say thank you for your kindness and warmth though out the first year of xxxx’s life. I know it’s your job to be pleasant, but you’ve gone beyond the call of duty to make us feel welcome every time we visit BookCourt. Best of all, you’ve made the book store a place that xxxx loves and have helped instill a lifelong love of books–the greatest gift of all.”
You see? Just like that, this Scrooge is ready to deck the halls. The world can be such a glorious place.
Yours, swimming with love,
December 15, 2011
When the women at the next table stop by to tell you how good you look together, and when the champagne is only the beginning, and even after Carine Roitfeld and a fleet of twenty-three-year-olds swan in, your date is still the sharpest-looking woman in the room.
December 14, 2011
Today was a banner day on the internet. My dear friends The Magnetic Fields announced their new record (designed by M + E!) and tour (woo hoo! Here we come, world!). My dad’s office and funny captions appeared on Write Place, Write Time, one of my favorite snoop-y Tumblrs. My essay about Miss Piggy, Literary Icon, went up on the Paris Review Daily. All in one day!
And as if that wasn’t enough, my mom and I spent the afternoon at Bard’s Decorative Arts gallery, looking at the most amazing hats. This was one of them. What could possibly be better?
October 5, 2011
One of the greatest pleasures in having a website is having Google Analytics. This means I get to see what people search in order to find my page. If the copyedits on my story collection were a Rorshach test (see my last post), then looking at other people’s search queries is like eavesdropping on a conversation about yourself at a cocktail party. Juicy!
One of the things people often search is ‘Emma Straub Wedding Poems.’ I suppose they’re looking to find out what poems we had at our wedding, and not which poems of mine would be wedding appropriate (answer: very few). The answer is Frank O’Hara’s ‘Having a Coke With You,’ which you can hear him read here.
Another thing people often search is ‘Emma Straub brownies,’ the recipe for which you can find here.
Sometimes people stumble onto my pages after searching for something else entirely. Some of my favorite examples: Bianca Jagger, Oberlin College Womb Chair, Future Bible Heroes Vacationland, Did Lucille Ball Live in Metuchen New Jersey. I hope they were as happy to find me as I was to find them.
Of course, most people just search for my name, or the name of one of my books, and that’s lovely, too.
In the interest of fairness, here are some things I’ve googled recently: 5 Under 35, Park Slope Yoga Center Schedule, Upstairs at the Square, Mindy Kaling.
Yours, with googly eyes,
October 3, 2011
I am thrilled to announce that Riverhead Books is going to rerelease Other People We Married in February. This is exciting for many reasons, chief among them being a much wider distribution. Though I live in a city with a number of wonderful independent bookstores, many of which I frequent regularly, I know that’s not true for everyone. Now people will be able to buy the book anywhere, easily, even at Barnes and Noble, and on Amazon.
One of the other joys of having the book rereleased is the opportunity to work with a Real Live Copyeditor, which means that I got a list of every proper noun in the entire book. It struck me that this list was like a little Rorschach test of my personality. To wit:
Joan of Arc
Leaves of Grass
That tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the collection, I think. Please pre-order the book wherever you would normally do so. I’ve set up exactly ONE event for the rerelease, and it’s a doozy. Details to follow…
Yours, breathless with gratitude and excitement and, fine, some potato chips,
September 5, 2011
I’ve been a fan of Tavi Gevinson since she was, well, even younger than she is now. For those of you who don’t know about Tavi, she’s a teenage whiz, a dynamo, a fashion sprite, and the force behind the Style Rookie blog.
Tavi has just started a brand-new, drop dead gorgeous website for teenage girls called ROOKIE, and I am delighted to say that I’m writing for it. New posts will go up three times a day–after school, after dinner, and before you go to bed. Because it’s for teenage girls. I couldn’t love it more.
Today my piece on the site is about my first day of high school. Other posts I wrote for this month are about losing your virginity and having crushes on teachers. Party time! Click, read, and then have a flashback. You’re welcome!
September 5, 2011
I am a horrible ham, and have a nearly impossible time keeping a straight face while someone is taking my photograph. This is fine most of the time, but it just doesn’t do for an author photo. One needs to look attractive, smart, inviting and serious all at once. Talk about a tall order. My friend Allison took my first author photo, which I am very fond of, but I knew I wanted a new one for the novel.
My friend Zack Zook came over a couple of months ago to take some shots. Zack is the Events Manager at BookCourt, and the editor of Cousin Corinne’s Reminder, in addition to being a fabulous photographer. I’m totally, totally thrilled with the author photo I chose from our shoot, but I won’t share that until much closer to the novel’s publication, which will be fall 2012. Until then, though, here are some outtakes, which prove what a terrible subject I am.
My hair was acting weird, which resulted in a lot of photos like this.
Ana was there to help out. I think I look very much like a camel in this photo. In a nice way.
Again, my hair is weird and I look like a camel, but goddamn if I don't have a handsome husband.
Bob the electrician was fixing our wires that day. I think this one should be on the book jacket, don't you?
I promise the photo I chose is less goofy than these. It’s Serious, even. You’ll see.
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