Friday, June 17, 2011

What's on My Nightstand

I love mermaids. When I was a kid I was obsessed with them, would hold my breath underwater and pretend that the light in the Oak Park YMCA pool was a magical mirror into which I would stare through goggle lenses and comb my imaginary mermaid hair. My mother encouraged me to believe in them and I did with all my heart.

Saturday marks the 29th Annual Mermaid Parade at Coney Island and we are not going. I would love it, of course, but with two kids, heat, and the train ride it all adds up to a miserable experience for all.

However... there was a time when I was into it, when I wore shells on my breasts and a tail on my legs and slapped glitter all over my sweaty skin. Coney Island is one of my favorite places on earth. The tattoos! The freaks! The surf! The sand! The Cyclone! Sexy and retro, naughty and nice what is not to love?

Tara Altebrando has written a novel set in this most evocative and magical of places. Dreamland Social Club sounds great, from what I heard at a reading at Books of Wonder. I can't wait to... dive in! And Tara was smart and lovely and did tons of research on the bizarre and perverse history of Coney
Island so. Fasten your seatbelts!

Nova Ren Suma is a great writer who also happens to be a celebrated fellow-alum of Columbia's MFA program. Last month we went for a charming lunch at a secret grotto of a restaurant in the Village and chit chatted about said MFA program and writing and yoga and etc. It was awesome.

Her INSANELY STARRED REVIEWED latest, Imaginary Girls is not about mermaids. It is about sisters and the power of love over death and swimming and all those things give it a supernatural, intense, emotional pull over me that is mermaid-esque.

AND THAT COVER. Unbelievably beautiful- just like the writing inside.

These two books and Swamplandia! and Jon Savage's Teenage are all arm wrestling with a year's worth of New Yorkers on my nightstand... The summer is young! What's on your nightstand?

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