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7 Days of Readings

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THALIA BOOK CLUB BRITISH INVASION Susanna Clarke discusses her best-seller debut novel “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” with fellow New York Times best-selling author and chronicler of the fantastic Neil Gaiman. Selections of Clarke’s book will also be read by stage and screen actress Christina Pickles. Thalia Theater at Symphony Space, 95th St. & B’way. Monday, September 19 at 7 p.m. Tickets $18/$16 students/seniors. 212-864-5400 or symphonyspace.org.

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TRIBUTE TO MURIEL RUKEYSER The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church, the PEN American Center, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, and Poetry and Bloom magazines celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Paris Press, which publishes literature by women, and was inspired by “The Life of Poetry” by Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980). The book, first published in 1949, challenged assumptions about the place of literature and art in American life. The panel will include Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins, daughter of the poet Audre Lorde and a poet and physician; Eileen Myles, poet, novelist, performer, and author of several books, including “Skies;” Martin Moran, an actor, playwright, and the author of the memoir “The Tricky Part;” and Eleanor Wilner, a civil rights activist and author of “The Girl with Bees in Her Hair.” 131 E. 10th St. at Second Ave., Wed., Sep. 21 8 p.m. Admission is $8; $7 for students and seniors, $5 for Poetry Project members.

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Recently Noted:

ACQUA CALDE To live with AIDS in the mid 1990s still meant facing a grim fate and a strong possibility of dying. In Keith McDermott's debut novel, New York actor Gerald Barnett is spending his time waiting to die, until an avant-garde director comes to his rescue. (Seth J. Bookey)

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ALEC GUINNESS: THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY Talent is a deep mystery, but in Guinness’ case, the secret of his celebrated range is exposed in Piers Paul Read’s new biography, one of the best actor’s biographies ever written. Read gives a full, rich portrait of the man’s long, teemingly busy life and, given the vast biographical materials, makes convincing, never over-weaning, psychological deductions which reveal his complex inner life. Read makes clear that Guinness’ chameleonic gift at submerging himself under the skin of diverse personalities was nothing less than an essential survival tactic for him. (David Noh)

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CENTER SQUARE: THE PAUL LYNDE STORY For years, Paul Lynde occupied the center square on “Hollywood Squares,” one of the most popular game shows of all time. Lynde’s prickly, teetering-on-the-edge-of-the-closet humor made the show a hit and brought him lasting fame. But was it enough to make him happy? According to Steve Wilson and Joe Fiorenski, authors of a recently released biography, it wasn’t. (Scott Brassart)

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LESBIAN PULP FICTION Two alluring women in 1960s-style hairdos grace the cover of “Lesbian Pulp Fiction: The Sexually Intrepid World of Lesbian Paperback Novels 1950-1965,” a collection of fiction reprints by Katherine V. Forrest. Forty-three years after its original publication, the provocative cover art still manages to elicit disapproving glances. (Eileen McDermott)

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LUNCHEONETTE When a crisis strikes, family members spring into action, but there's always someone who becomes the most responsible party, the case manager, or "the good one." For Steven Sorrentino, the author of this memoir of a young gay man’s life, when his father became mysteriously paralyzed and put on a respirator on Christmas Eve 1980, he became "the good son." (Seth J. Bookey)

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MOTHER OF SORROWS This is an arresting collection of stories, a refreshment of tellings, by Richard McCann, director of the graduate writing program at American University in Washington. The stories are not rendered in the deadening and consumer-oriented rubrics of thick description, but rather in the fleet and sometimes strophic manner of the ode. This collection could not conceivably have written itself; it could not and would not have voluntarily relinquished for inspection its many troubled and troubling secrets. (James McCourt)

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PHALLOS Enigmas fill the ancient world––a turtle bests Achilles in a foot race; Zeno’s arrow never reaches the target; the Sphinx dares the traveler to name what animal possesses a different number of legs during different parts of the day. Samuel R. Delany’s latest novella is centered on this tradition of ancient enigmas. Not riddles, but enigmas. Riddles are meant to be solved. They differ from an enigma in that once a riddle’s answer is known there is nothing else, not even a riddle. An enigma, even after being explained, still exists because it only raises more questions. (Stefen Styrsky)

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THE SECRET LIFE OF OSCAR WILDE When first published in England, Neil McKenna’s biography won universal critical acclaim for revealing for the very first time how Wilde was a militant precursor of the modern gay liberation movement long before his famous speech from the dock in defense of “the love that dare not speak its name.” Now released for the first time in the U.S. by Basic Books, this extraordinary book also gives an entirely new and revealing portrait of Wilde’s sexuality that supercedes that of all previous Wilde biographies. (Doug Ireland)

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SECRET SERVICE: UNTOLD STORIES OF LESBIANS IN THE MILITARY Zsa Zsa Gershick’s book is a collection of interviews with lesbians who have served or are still on active duty in the various branches of the military. They make clear the greatest threat to the functioning of a military unit is the sexist attitudes of straight men. It doesn’t matter if they’re what you might call butch women or lipstick lesbians, in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines, or the years they serve. (Stefen Styrsky)

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SMOKING CIGARETTES Want to read a book about hot sex, larceny, finding true love among multiple bedfellows, murder and the Lord? In his second novel, “Smoking Cigarettes,” Reginald L. Hall presents all of this in his account of the life of Rashad Smith, a 22-year-old African-American, gay man in Philadelphia, delving into the anguish of looking for love in dangerous places and the penalties of a life spent outside the law. (Tyler Pray)

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Updated 5:17 pm, July 20, 2018
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