Naturally, I've had my eye on Brooklyn Was Mine, an anthology of essays by Brooklyn writers on the borough of dreams. I'd planned to ask for a reading copy, as usual, but actually, I think I'll buy it. I hadn't realized that proceeds from the book are going to Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, the non-profit that's fighting the crazy, terrible, eminent-domain Ratner development of the Atlantic Yards (thanks to GalleyCat for the heads up). The Fort Greene Courier has more about the book, and about several readings with contributors happening in the next week or two to raise money and awareness. (Just for the record and because I'm even more steamed about it now, I tried hard to set up a reading at my bookstore for the anthology, but by the time the publicists at Penguin responded to my multiple queries, it was way too late to set a date.)
Coincidentally, I'm currently working through another anthology that benefits a Brooklyn nonprofit. The Book of Other People (also from Penguin), the long-awaited (by me anyway) collection of character sketches edited by Zadie Smith, benefits 826NYC (also known as Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., where I volunteered in a less time-bereft time in my life). There's also a ticketed reading for this one on the 16th; ticket sales also benefit the tutoring center, which is doing really good work (not hurt by having lots of famous friends).
I DID buy this one, for a funny reason: the ALP and I took the train to Boston to see friends over New Year's, and while waiting to meet up with our ride in South Street StationI was so delighted to discover a little independent bookstore that I bought the first book that looked readable -- in this case, the just released BOOP. I guess Barbara's Bestsellers isn't exactly an independent -- they seem to have locations all over the country -- but it's definitely got an indie vibe, and I'm always glad to add to my collection of souvenir bookmarks from my bookstore visits.
Anyway, in addition to stories by my favorites Jonathan Safran Foer, Andrew Sean Greer, Nick Nornby, A.L. Kennedy, Jonathan Lethem, and Smith herself, there is also (drumroll please)... a new story by David Mitchell! I didn't even realize this when I plunked down my cash. A karmic payback for buying a book for a good cause. I recommend you do the same at your local indie bookstore, ASAP.
Books Update from The New York Times
5 hours ago