Around Town: NYC Book Events in May

by Rachel Weiss-Feldman

New York City is ripe with literary-related events, many of which are free of charge. Panels and events about blogging, political scandals, award-winning young writers, Japanese-American history, and more. Don’t stay home—go out and read, hear, and talk about books! Check out a selection of this month’s book events.

Monday, May 4th
Daughters of the Samurai reading & signing by author Janice P. Nimura
The Corner Bookstore, 1313 Madison Ave., NYC
In 1871, five young girls were sent by the Japanese government to the U.S. to learn Western ways and return to help nurture a new generation of enlightened men to lead Japan. Raised in traditional samurai households, three of these unusual ambassadors—Sutematsu Yamakawa, Shige Nagai, and Ume Tsuda—grew up as typical American schoolgirls. Upon their arrival in San Francisco they became celebrities, their travels feted by newspapers across the nation. Based on in-depth archival research, Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back (WW Norton) is a fascinating lens through which to view an extraordinary historical moment.

Thursday, May 7th
Party Like a President: Brian Abrams and John Mathias in conversation with Christopher Kelly
WORD JC, 123 Newark Ave., Jersey City, NJ
Come hear and enjoy the author and illustrator of Party Like a President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery, and Mischief in the Oval Office (Workman) dish about how the presidents drank, popped pills, cheated on their wives, did drugs—or how they didn’t, and why they didn’t. Complete with cocktail recipes!

Saturday, May 9th
Who We Talk About When We Talk About Translation: The Bloggers
Albertine Books in French and English, 972 Fifth Ave., NYC
Bloggers increasingly lead in reviewing international literature, as column inches for book reviews in traditional outlets have shrunk. Prominent bloggers discuss their role and how it’s evolving. Speakers include Tara Cheesman-Olmsted (BookSexy Review), Scott Esposito (Conversational Reading), Nana-Ama Kyerematen (Afridiaspora), and Michael Orthofer (The Literary Saloon). Co-presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Albertine Books in French and English. RSVP at 866-811-4111.

Tuesday, May 12th
Distinguished Writers Series: Edwidge Danticat
Hunter College, E. 68th St. & Lexington Ave., NYC
The Hunter College Spring 2015 Distinguished Writers series presents award winning author Edwidge Danticat (Krik? Krak!, Claire of the Sea Light). RSVP at 212-772-4007.

Wednesday, May 13th
The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop
Housing Works Bookstore & Cafe, 136 Crosby St., NYC
Celebrate the release of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket), the first poetry anthology by and for the hip-hop generation. Join editors Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Nate Marshall and a live mixtape of readings by poets featured in the anthology.

Thursday, May 14th
What’s About to Happen in Architecture and Design Book Publishing
The Cooper Union, 41 Cooper Square, NYC
Top editors and executives from leading publishing companies will discuss changes they see coming (or would like to see coming) in how architecture and design books are conceived, created, designed, and sold. Panelists include Will Balliett (President and Publisher, Thames & Hudson Inc.), John Donatich (Director, Yale University Press), Pamela Horn (Head of Cross-Platform Publishing, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum), and Kyle May (Editor in Chief, CLOG). Moderated by Steve Kroeter (Editor in Chief, Designers & Books). RSVP here.

Wednesday, May 20th
No Tokens Issue #3 Launch Celebration
The Center for Fiction, 17 E. 47th St., NYC
Join the biannually published journal for a reading featuring No Tokens contributors Terese Svoboda, Rick Moody, Sam Allingham, Mary Morris, Sean H. Doyle, and others. Issue 3 will be available for purchase. No Tokens journal celebrates work that is felt in the spine. Run entirely by women, it is dedicated to featuring the words and artwork of all voices of the past, present, and future. RSVP required.

Wednesday, May 27th
Writopia Readings
Book Culture, 450 Columbus Avenue, NYC
Come hear and enjoy Writopia’s Spring Reading Series and original works created by their original workshoppers. Writopia Lab is a non-profit that runs creative writing workshops for kids ages 6 to 18. Writopia students have won more recognition for their writing than any other group of students in the nation.

Saturday, May 30th
Conversation with Sahar Paraz, author of Find Your Voice: The Life You Crave is a Conversation Away
La Casa Azul Bookstore, 143 E. 103rd St., NYC
Writer, life coach, and speaker Sahar Paz details her incredible journey from self-preservation to self-discovery the ultimate victory for the Iran native. Her remarkable triumph over seeming insurmountable obstacles provides true inspiration for all. An afternoon of lit and libation. RSVP at

Sunday, May 31st
Fierce Reads Spring Fling YA Party
McNally Jackson Books, 52 Prince St., NYC
Enjoy a great evening with four exceptional YA authors: Courtney Alameda, Emma Banks, Emmy Laybourne, and Jennifer Mathieu. There will pizza, photo opportunities, and prizes!

Got a hot tip on a cool, upcoming event? Let us know at

About Blog Editor

The Women’s National Book Association was founded in 1917 by female booksellers who weren’t allowed in the men’s organizations. Nearly 100 years later, the WNBA is still supporting women in the book industry through literary events, networking, literacy projects, workshops, open mic nights, book clubs, and many other entertaining programs throughout the season!

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