Friday, November 4, 2011

Buy (Another) Book Weekend!

If you're a reader of this blog, chances are good that you give a shit about the city. You've probably helped fight a lot of battles to save the New York places you love from destruction--and most of the time the fight has been lost. It gets depressing. But this time, we won the fight. This time, I won't be posting about another vanished East Village icon, because St. Mark's Bookshop is staying right where it is.

That is cause for celebration. It means that winning is possible and it's not all for nothing. Victory? I'm not sure what to do with this unfamiliar feeling. I want a party or something. I want to give St. Mark's Bookshop a big kiss. And the best way to give St. Mark's Bookshop a big kiss is to buy some books. You can go in person or buy online.

The last time we had a Buy a Book Weekend, the bookstore's sales went up by 30%. Let's do it again this weekend. From today through Sunday, go buy a book--or more--and give St. Mark's a big, sloppy, wet kiss of "Congratulations." Besides, you deserve it for helping to save this irreplaceable part of the city's vanishing culture. Go treat yourself to something good!

Here are some New York-related suggestions:

The Long-Winded Lady by Maeve Brennan is one of my favorite books of all time. Her "prose snapshots of life in small restaurants, cheap hotels, and crowded streets of Times Square and the Village" are all from the New Yorker's Talk of the Town when it used to actually be about the town. There's only one copy left in stock--who will be the lucky winner?

The Suburbanization of New York is available as a remainder for only $9.98. The title is self-explanatory and it was one of the first books to name the monster that is eating the city.

Another favorite of mine--one I've read and reread--is Saul Bellow's The Victim, a tight, psychological novel in which "a young man is sucked into the mysterious, heat-filled vortex of New York City." Fantastic.

I have not yet read Lucking Out, James Wolcott's memoir of the 1970s city, but it's on my list. A quote: "How lucky I was, arriving in New York just as everything was about to go to hell.”

If all you've read of Richard Yates is the masterpiece Revolutionary Road, go deeper. I've read all his books and, while not equal masterpieces, they're so much more satisfying than a lot of fiction being published today. St. Mark's has Cold Spring Harbor, The Easter Parade, and Young Hearts Crying on their shelves right now.

No New York library is complete without some Frank O'Hara. Start with the Selected Poems. Walking the city will never be the same. Read him along with next-gen New York School poet Eileen Myles--they've got Skies on remainder for just $6.98.

Finally, it's not New York, but St. Mark's just got in The Complete Record Cover Collection by R. Crumb, and the East Village's own Eden and John of the East River String Band made a short film to help promote the book. Check it out here:


maximum bob said...

May I recommend "Heart of the World"
by Nik Cohn, a wonderful read, nonfiction, a trip through NYC and expecially the Broadway area, when
NY still had oldschool characters everywhere, pre zombieland.
Published about '91, I think.
Holds up to multiple readings over the years, a real keeper.

pennys herb co. said...

very impressed!!!! {we have been big fans of robert from way way back!!! {thanks for sharing!

Katrink said...

Some of my favorite New York City books: Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin; any and all of the Dortmunder series by Donald E. Westlake (great fun!); The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton; Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem; Sandhogs by Jimmy Breslin; Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison; The Alienist by Caleb Carr. Oh man, don't get me started - there are so many. Now get thee to St. Mark's Books and buy!!

Marty Wombacher said...

I'm going to stop in and get the R. Crumb book this weekend. Cool film by Eden and John!

JAZ said...

Great book suggestions!

If I may, a couple of books I picked up at St.Marks that were great reads, and might interest the people who love this blog:

1) Last of the Live Nude Girls, by Sheila McClear. About the peep shows dying out just when Times Square was being Disneyfied

2) Storefront: The Disappearing Face of New York - self explanatory

Bought an autographed copy of Storefront at St.Marks - not sure if there are any signed ones left, but it's an amazing book.

Plenty of other great selections in that place - happy shopping everyone!

Jeremiah Moss said...

excellent! keep those suggestions coming. JAZ, how was Live Nude Girls? it's on my maybe list.

onemorefoldedsunset said...

The Storefront book is great (got it as a present) & I enjoyed reading Last of the Live Nude Girls on my morning commute! I'd add Kenneth Koch as another New York School poet, along with Joe Brainard (I Remember is beautiful). For non- NY books, John Waters' Role Models is delicious in the best trashy way, & I got a marked-down copy of Francis Bacon in the 1950s for fifteen bucks. Some of those sale books at the back are real gems.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i love "I Remember"--good call

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Last of The Live Nude Girls as well. Another suggestion I have is Josh Alan Friedman's Tales of Times Square. St. Marks had to order it for me, but I got it a few days later. It's a great read. I was born in '85, and I have vague memories of pre-Giuliani Times Square, so it was fun to read about how nasty as hell Times Square used to be.

JAZ said...


As someone who has interest in Times Square pre Disney, as well as seeking out the porno theatres that hide in broad daylight while disguised as other businesses (some of my favorite posts of yours), you would love Live Nude Girls - she paints a great picture of the grittiness that still existed, even close to the end. It's about 200 pages, and a book that you go through in a couple of days because you don't want to put it down.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks JAZ. sounds perfect!

Matt Bevilacqua said...

Times Square Red/Times Square Blue by Samuel Delany: A look back on the neighborhood during its X-rated days, and a prescient critique of the Giuliani-era upheaval going on at the time.

May Day by F. Scott Fitzgerald: One of his novellas, it chronicles the interconnected stories of returning veterans, uppity Harvard-types and down-and-outers in Midtown during the 1919 riots.

Black Spring by Henry Miller: The action moves between New York and Paris, but it offers an alternately hilarious/distressing glimpse at Williamsburg in the early 1900s.

Casey said...

Most of the recommended titles here were gone when I went in this evening, but I was able to pick up "Hip Pocket Sleaze" by John Harrison about the world of lurid paperbacks in the 1960s, the latest issue of Ugly Things, the best magazine dedicated to 60s garage music (appropriately, the store was playing the "Nuggets" CD at the time), and a book of short stories selected by David Sedaris.

I just now saw the recommendations of other readers here, so will be going back tomorrow to check for them!

Anonymous said...

Maeve Brennan had a rather sad and strange life, a story in itself.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

We bought three more books this weekend - an anthology of Saul Bellow stories, a Francis Bacon bio, and a mystery. It seems I've bought their entire stock of Steve Hamilton titles, so I hope they order more as I can't find these books anywhere else.

Ashley said...

My mum worked with Maeve and was one of the last people to help her though the end of her life.

At one point she was holed up in the magazines ladys room with a sick pidgin. Mum was trying to talk her in to giving the dying bird up and moving to an office rather than the door to the toilets.

She looked my mum up and down and said. "I suppose I will you dreary hypocrite" mum loved that title.

Maeve use to give me little things when she was around and I was visting and I still have a wonderful french hair comb she gave me.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Ashley, thank you for sharing that story. i am such a fan of Maeve Brennan's writing. i guess she was quite a character. if you have more stories of her to share, please do.

Anonymous said...

Buy Boroughs of the Dead at St. Marks! It's a book of short (fictional) ghost stories all set in NYC. Go raid that horror section now!

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Secret Historian: The Life & Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist & Sexual Renegade. In paperback.

Alexis said...

very impressed!!!!