Wassup Rockers

Jeffrey Eugenides + George Saunders @ Barnes and Noble (Lincoln Center)

What a surprise and what a delight. So the proceeds for the new book that Jeffrey Eugenides edited, My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead, are going towards 826Chicago. I had no idea that Eugenides was touting a new book and I had no idea that he was going to be joined by George Saunders. Honestly, I didn’t know who George Saunders was, but after tonight, I’m never going to forget him.

Eugenides’s reading was very cerebral, scholarly, but really interesting. Y’know, all about Catullus and how he was totally poking this married chick, which obviously means he was asking for trouble. He also read a bit of a Milan Kundera work from the anthology, and I was surprised that Kundera is pronounced with a stress in the first syllable and not the second. Eugenides’s finest moment: referring to Dave Eggers as the Bono of the literary world. Can I get a “zing!” anyone?

Saunders, who apparently is also of Greek origin, was incredibly funny. His piece was so clever (or at least I found it clever) and since the narrator is meant to be a teenager, there was something terribly funny about watching Saunders say things like “Dude.” I know a lot of people say “Dude,” but the way Saunders said it was special… I guess you had to be there. I almost wanted to buy the book because of his story. I definitely pledge to check out his other works.

The crowd was pretty good, they didn’t take five million years introducing their questions, though one person was very nervous so she got a bit rambly. But it was kinda sweet. Okay, that’s not true, I get a bit uncomfortable when people get so “starstruck,” but I know she didn’t mean anything by it.

Somebody asked the two authors if they have acted before, just because of their strong stage presence. Saunders said “Hails naw” but Eugenides said that he had as a high school and college student.

There’s another collection that just came out, too, but the proceeds go to 826NYC. It was edited by Zadie “With a ‘Z,’ Not Sadie With an ‘S'” Smith, and from the looks of it, the cover is by Charles Burns. At least I think it is by Burns, I’m only guessing from the line work.

You can read more about 826 here. It’s a really cool organization, it’s geared towards kids.


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