Last night saw a flight of old world wines and an introduction by the editor of Wine Spectator accompanied a reading by Jay McInerney in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The novelist and wine journalist read the introduction to his new collection of oenological writing at Brooklyn Winery. He oozed schmooze and playboy charm, a sobered product of 1980s Manhattan excess.
When he told me he lived in Tennessee for a while, I thought I was just drunk and had misunderstood him. But sure enough, beneath a veil of brat pack charms, you’ll find a talented wordsmith and chronicler of modern urbanity who once resided on a farm near Nashville and shared his bed with a pet pig. I picked up a couple copies of his last book, which he graciously signed, and we chatted about the business of wine.
This anecdote might seem like a bit of big-city blogger swagger, a would-be hipster literati nonchalantly regaling you with tales of semi-celebrity encounters over a glass of Temperanillo in a bar so cool you’ve never heard of it. But I assure you, there is a higher purpose to my obscene bluster. This reading was not a one-off bash, but a quaint, minor kick-off for a much more exciting event: the Brooklyn Book Festival, possibly my favorite festival in my borough.
On Sunday, September 18, downtown Brooklyn and the surrounding neighborhoods will host a giant market of independent publishers and booksellers as well as sponsor dozens of panels and interviews with authors and artists. All events are free, but the books do cost money. If you’re like me, you leave the festival with a wealth of ideas and a bag of books heavy enough to sustain you through the long, lugubrious, rainy days of fall.
Highlights include talks with Jhumpa Lahiri, Jonathan Safran Foer, Chuck Klosterman, Jennifer Egan, and Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana.
One stand you shouldn’t miss: New Directions Publishing. They print the classics before they’re classics.
And it wouldn’t be Brooklyn if they’re weren’t food trucks to feed you. I’ll be in line at Food Freaks Grilled Cheese, gorging on steaming gruyere.
Holy hell, I love this borough.
Imaga via the Brooklyn Book Festival on Facebook