Matt Dojny and John Wray
So after seeing Matt Dojny and John Wray perform a chaotic but spirited rendition of “Don’t You Want Me Baby,” I’m thinking that maybe every reading should include a karaoke component.
Dispatches: When Indie Bookstore Meets Indie Press
Publisher Judith Gurewich gave a heartfelt introduction, skipping the “mission statement and speaking more about her overall philosophy. While trying to work out how three diverse writers such as Sarah Bakewell, author of How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne, Lawrence Douglas, author of The Vices, and Bonnie Nadzam who has received critical acclaim for her recently-published debut novel Lamb, fit together she found a common theme running through each of their works: identity.
All three authors deal in some way with how we define ourselves in relation to others. Montaigne was the first essayist, grappling with who he was, thinking through how others thought about the concept of subject; in The Vices, Lawrence plays with the notion of identity divided: who you are versus what you would like to be; and Lamb, as Bonnie eloquently described, is about a compulsive liar in the depths of self-ruin attempting to tell a new story about himself to regain his decency.
The night, a mixture of discussion and reading, showcased the quality Other Press embodies through the books they publish and the authors they support. As Judith ended her short speech she evoked the difficult times in which we live: the lack of respect we have for each other, the wars being fought throughout the world. Looking at society through this lens, her hopes are to bring serious issues to light in literary form. If last night was any indication, I’d say she’s well on her way.