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Last summer I moved home to Manhattan after a quarter century in exile, by which I mean: New Jersey. I wanted to be closer to family, and I wanted my 14 year old son to go to my old high school, if he could get in. He got in, so I called the realtor, packed up the house, the husband, the kid, the dog, the cat...and now here we all are on the Upper West Side, swiping our Metro Cards and waiting in line at Zabars and falling asleep in those big reclining La-Z-Boy chairs they have at the AMC cinema on 84th. (Why do they have those chairs? Do they want us to fall asleep?)
I’m a novelist, mostly (my novel ADMISSION provided the inspiration for last year’s Tina Fey movie of the same name, and I have a new book, YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN, coming out in March), but for years I also ran a “Meet the Author” book group in Princeton, at which the author was always in attendance. I loved those book discussions, and I loved the way the insights were so special, and the conversations took such interesting turns. Book groups are transformative when you’re not just wondering “Why do you think the writer made the character this way?” but you can actually turn to the author, on your right, and say: “Why did you make the character this way?” For years people asked me how I got so many writers to trek down to Princeton (on NJ Transit, no less!) to talk to total strangers. My response? I asked them.
When I got back to the city I started to wonder whether “Meet the Author” book groups could work here, and I decided to find out. I rounded up about 100 incredible New York writers: novelists, memoirists, poets, biographers, people who write about current events, and of course...people who write about food. (Food is always interesting!) Our website is now up and ready to assist book groups in Manhattan and Brooklyn (for now -- hang tight Bronx, Queens and Staten!) who would like to talk about Rwanda with Philip Gourevitch, Hurricane Katrina with Sheri Fink, the poetry of America and Ireland with Paul Muldoon, Goldman Sachs with William D. Cohan, or the art of writing fiction with the likes of Ric Moody, AM Homes and Jane Green. When it comes to food, we have a groaning board of incredible offerings, including books by Amanda Hesser (whose memoir COOKING FOR MR LATTE is so utterly charming), Allen Salkin (FROM SCRATCH is his dishy account of the founding of The Food Network), Luke Barr (PROVENCE, 1970: M.F.K. FISHER, JULIA CHILD, JAMES BEARD, AND THE REINVENTION OF AMERICAN TASTE, which is getting all kinds of attention!) and Sylvia's Table: Fresh, Seasonal Recipes from Our Farm to Your Family by Great Performances' own Liz Neumark.
How did I get such amazing authors to do this? I asked them!
Have a look at our website www.bookthewriter.com and let us know how we can help you choose a perfect book for your book group and invite the author to your home. The service carries a flat fee of $750 and there are no extra or hidden costs. Please let us know if you’ve been referred to us by one of our clients. We’d love to thank them with a $100 discount on their next booking!
Jean Hanff Korelitz