Books for the Holiday Season | Arts in the City

Books for the Holiday Season | Arts in the City


♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>>HI, I’M CAROL ANNE RIDDELL AND WELCOME TO A SPECIAL EDITION OF ARTS IN THE CITY, ALL ABOUT BOOKS FOR THE HOLIDAYS. WHEN IT COMES TO GIVING AND GETTING GIFTS, I LOVE A GREAT BOOK. I MEAN, WHAT COULD BE THAN SOME HOT CIDER, SLIGHTLY SPIKED, IN FRONT OF THE FIRE, WITH A TOTAL PAGE TURNER. SO SETTLE IN FOR A HALF HOUR WITH THE AUTHORS BEHIND SOME OF OUR RECENT FAVORITES. WE BEGIN WITH ISAAC MIZRAHI, THE LEGENDARY STYLE ICON AND DESIGNER. I LOVED DOING THIS INTERVIEW BUT I WAS SO STRESSED ABOUT WHAT TO WEAR. HIS MEMOIR IS TOUCHING AND FUNNY, AND FULL OF CANDID DETAILS; A TERRIFIC CHOICE FOR THE FASHION FORWARD ON YOUR LIST. ISAAC, IT IS BEYOND A THRILL FOR ME TO MEET YOU. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME TODAY. >>>OH, I’M THRILLED. THANK YOU. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST. >>>WELL, LET’S START WHERE YOU START IN THE BOOK, WHICH IS YOUR CHILDHOOD. YOU GREW UP IN BROOKLYN IN AN ORTHODOX JEWISH FAMILY. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE FOR YOU AS A BOY?>>>MY EARLIEST YEARS WERE VERY HARD. IT WAS A BAD FORMATIVE EXPERIENCE. AND OF COURSE THERE WERE WONDERFUL THINGS ABOUT IT, LIKE THE FAMILY THAT I LOVED SO MUCH AND THEY WERE, THEY WERE SUPPORTIVE. BUT ALSO, THERE WAS THIS RELIGIOUS STRUCTURE AROUND IT THAT FORBADE CERTAIN THINGS LIKE HOMOSEXUALITY, LIKE, EVEN ART TO A GREAT EXTENT. AND THEN, I WENT FROM YESHIVA, WEIRDLY, SO LUCKILY, AT THE AGE OF 13 WHEN I GRADUATED THAT EIGHTH GRADE, I WENT STRAIGHT TO PERFORMING ARTS HIGH SCHOOL. >>>WHEREAS YOU SAY YOU FOUND YOUR PEOPLE. >>>AND I FOUND MY PEOPLE AND I WAS TAUGHT A KIND OF OPTIMISM BY THAT CIRCUMSTANCE. I KNOW THERE ARE KIDS OUT THERE WHO HAVE HARD SURROUNDINGS THAT- THAT ARE FEEL WRONG TO THEM, AND THEY STRUGGLE WITH SEXUALITY OR GENDER IDENTITY OR ANY NUMBER OF THINGS. AND I WISH THAT THEY WERE RESILIENT. I WANT THEM TO FEEL SORT OF INSPIRED BY THIS BOOK. I REALLY DO.>>>YOUR FATHER, ISAAC, YOU TALK ABOUT HIM IN THE BOOK AND YOU SAY THAT DESPITE HOW MUCH YOU LOVED HIM, YOU COULDN’T REALLY LIVE YOUR LIFE FULLY UNTIL AFTER HE DIED BECAUSE YOU COULDN’T REALLY LIVE AS AN OPENLY GAY MAN WHILE HE WAS ALIVE. >>>YES. >>>IS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU REGRET AT ALL, THAT YOU FEEL AT PEACE WITH? >>>I DON’T REGRET IT, YOU KNOW? WHEN I CAME OUT TO MY MOM, WHICH I DID AT THE AGE OF 18, RIGHT? OR 17 AND A HALF. AND SHE, YOU KNOW, SHE CRIED AND SHE CARRIED ON AND WE HAD A CONVERSATION AND THIS AND THAT. AND THEN SHE SAID, “DON’T TELL YOUR FATHER.” RIGHT? AND I THOUGHT, WAIT A SECOND NOW. YOU KNOW, AND I WAS SEEING A SHRINK AT THE TIME. HE WAS THIS VERY PROGRESSIVE GUY AND HE LISTENED AND LISTENED AND LISTENED AND FINALLY AT THE END OF THE SESSION, HE WAS LIKE, “YEAH, DON’T TELL YOUR FATHER.” AND I WAS LIKE, “WOW.” YOU KNOW, BETWEEN MY MOTHER AND THE SHRINK, I’M OFF THE HOOK. AND I FELT DEEPLY IN MY HEART THAT I COULDN’T TELL HIM. IT’S NOT COWARDICE THAT KEPT ME FROM DOING IT, IT WAS LIKE A SENSITIVITY THAT I FELT THAT WAS A RESPONSIBILITY THAT I FELT- >>>ALMOST OUT OF LOVE FOR HIM. >>>ALMOST- >>>IN A WAY? >>>NO, IT TOTALLY OUT OF LOVE FOR HIM.>>>TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR MOM IN TERMS OF BEING A FASHION INSPIRATION FOR YOU.>>>ONE OF THE MAJOR FORMS OF HER EXPRESSION TOOK PLACE IN THE FASHION THING, RIGHT? AND IN THIS KIND OF CRAZY STYLE- THAT SHE HAD, YOU KNOW? SHE WORE MEN’S PAJAMAS TO THE BEACH. I ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT AS SOMETHING SO CHIC OVER A SWIMSUIT. >>>[LAUGHS] I LOVE THAT.>>>ME TOO. RIGHT? SHE WORE DRESSES BACK TO FRONT ALL THE TIME. >>>THAT IS GENIUS, THOUGH.>>>IT’S GENIUS. >>>TARGET. YOU WERE REALLY AHEAD OF YOUR TIME WITH THAT, MAKING FASHION AFFORDABLE. WHY WAS THAT SO IMPORTANT TO YOU? >>>YOU KNOW, IT WAS MAKING FASHION AFFORDABLE BUT EVEN MORE THAN THAT, I THINK, IT WAS BROADENING THE DEFINITION OF, TO ME, OF THE WORD FASHION. YOU KNOW? IT WAS TAKING IT AWAY FROM THIS EXCLUSIONARY THING WHERE ONLY LIKE, TALL, THIN, BLONDES COULD APPRECIATE IT.>>>RIGHT. >>>YOU KNOW, THAT WAS LIKE, ONE OF THE FIRST TIMES I COULD EVER AFFORD TO MAKE ALL SIZES. YOU KNOW? BECAUSE WHEN YOU MAKE DESIGNER CLOTHES, IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO MAKE THE SIZES BECAUSE IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE TO GRADE THE PATTERS AND- >>>SURE. >>>YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN. BUT WHEN YOU’RE DOING THIS MASSIVE THING, EVERYBODY WANTS IT. YOU KNOW? AND THAT IS THRILLING TO ME. SO, YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN, CULTURALLY, IT WASN’T JUST CHEAP CLOTHES, IT WAS ALSO LIKE, DEMOCRATIZING IT. >>>CAN I ASK YOU, JUST SORT OF SELF-INTERESTED, BUT I KNOW OTHER WOMEN WOULD WANT TO KNOW, IS THERE ONE THING ALL OF US SHOULD HAVE IN OUR CLOSET, REGARDLESS OF AGE OR SIZE?>>>YOU KNOW WHAT I THINK, AND I SWEAR TO GOD THIS IS AN IMPORTANT THING, I THINK EVERYBODY NEEDS A DRESSY FLAT SHOE FOR EVENING.>>>OKAY. >>>RIGHT? >>>GREAT ANSWER. >>>SERIOUSLY, BECAUSE HOW MANY TIMES CAN YOU GO TO THE HEELS AND LIKE, EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE YOU GOTTA GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.>>>YOU DO [LAUGHS]. >>>AND ALSO I THINK A FLAT IS SO CHIC.>>>YOU KNOW, IT’S NOT EASY. WRITING IS, I THINK, THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE. THE HARDEST->>>REALLY? >>>THING I’VE EVER DONE.>>>OF ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU’VE DONE. >>>YES, ABSOLUTELY. WHEN YOU’RE WRITING, AND YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT SOMETHING THAT’S, UGH, IT’S THIS VOID THAT YOU’RE FILLING BY YOURSELF, THAT IS PRETTY TERRIFYING. >>>A LAST QUESTION FOR YOU, WE ALWAYS ASK THIS OF WRITERS. DO YOU HAVE ANY FUNNY OR INTERESTING QUIRKS, HABITS, ANYTHING WHEN YOU WRITE? >>>I — CAN I TELL YOU THE TRUTH? >>>YES. >>>I WOULD LITERALLY STOP THE PROCESS AND GET IN THE CAR AND GO TO LOAVES AND FISHES AND BUY A PACKAGE OF COOKIES. LITERALLY, I WOULD STOP THINGS TO GO AND GET FOOD TO ACCOMPANY ME THROUGH THESE HOURS OF WRITING. BUT I PUT ON WEIGHT, AND I’M, LIKE, TRYING TO TAKE IT, I’M STILL TRYING TO TAKE IT- IT’S LIKE HAVING A BABY, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR FIGURE BACK- AFTER YOU HAD A BOOK IN- >>>AFTER YOU WRITE A BOOK.>>>YEAH, EXACTLY. ♪ [UPBEAT MUSIC] ♪>>>DO YOU HAVE A FRIEND THAT WENT THROUGH A BAD BREAK UP, MAYBE THEY’RE FEELING MISLED OR BETRAYED? WELL, OUR NEXT BOOK CAN DEFINITELY OFFER SOME PERSPECTIVE. IT’S NON-FICTION THAT READS MORE LIKE A MOVIE. AUTHOR ABBY ELLIN WAS PLANNING TO MARRY THE MAN OF HER DREAMS, NOT REALIZING HE WAS LIVING A SECRET DOUBLE LIFE. SHE EXPLAINS IT ALL IN HER BOOK, “DUPED.” ABBY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING TODAY. >>>THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME. >>>YOUR BOOK IS CALLED “DUPED: DOUBLE LIVES, FALSE IDENTITIES AND THE CON MAN I ALMOST MARRIED.”>>>YES. >>>SO LET’S START RIGHT THERE WITH YOUR EX-FIANCÉE.>>>MY EX-FIANCÉE WAS A PATHOLOGICAL LIAR WHO ULTIMATELY WENT TO JAIL. HE WAS FABULOUS, HE WAS DOCTOR, HE WAS A NAVY SEAL, HE WAS IN THE NAVY, HE DID SECRET OPERATIONS WITH THE CIA. AND WE MET AND IT WAS VERY QUICK AND WE GOT ENGAGED WITHIN, LIKE, FIVE MONTHS. AND I WASN’T QUITE SURE IF THE STORIES WERE TRUE OR NOT. THERE WERE THINGS I COULDN’T VERIFY, AND I’M A JOURNALIST, AND SO THAT WAS REALLY DIFFICULT FOR ME BECAUSE I QUESTION EVERYTHING. SO, I TRIED TO CAST MY SUSPICIONS ASIDE. AND EVENTUALLY, I COULDN’T LIVE LIKE THAT ANYMORE. AND I BROKE UP WITH HIM. AND I LEFT, AND A YEAR AND A HALF LATER, I GOT A PHONE CALL FROM NCIS, WHICH IS NAVAL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE SERVICE, THAT THERE WAS A DOCTOR WHO WAS WRITING PRESCRIPTIONS FOR NARCOTICS FOR VICODIN, AND FOR ALL THESE DIFFERENT DRUGS, VIAGRA, WHICH [LAUGHS] AND HE WOULD USE- STEALING PEOPLE’S IDENTITIES. AND I WAS ONE OF THE IDENTITIES HE STOLE.>>>SO, YOU USE WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU AS THE JUMPING OFF POINT FOR THE BOOK, WHICH REALLY IS A DEEP DIVE INTO HOW AND WHY PEOPLE LIVE DOUBLE LIVES.>>>YEAH. >>>HOW COMMON IS IT, ABBY?>>>[LAUGHS] IT’S SO COMMON. I GET ABOUT AN EMAIL A DAY, BECAUSE PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS. THEY DON’T WANT TO SAY, “I WAS DUPED,” BECAUSE YOU LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT. AND IN MY BOOK, I THOUGHT, YOU KNOW WHAT, I WILL LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT HERE. I’M GOING TO TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM BECAUSE I DON’T REALLY CARE AND THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN SAY TO ME THAT I HAVEN’T SAID TO MYSELF AND WORSE. >>>AND ONE OF THE THINGS YOU TALK ABOUT IS THE ABILITY TO COMPARTMENTALIZE.>>>I DO. >>>AND IT REALLY STRUCK ME, BECAUSE IT’S ALMOST AS IF THEY KIND OF BELIEVE THEIR OWN REALITY- >>>OH, THEY HAVE TO. THEY HAVE TO. THE OTHER THING IS THAT IN YOUR BRAIN, THERE ARE AREAS THAT LIGHT UP WHEN YOU TELL A LIE. THE MORE YOU TELL THE LIE, THE LESS THEY LIGHT UP. >>>HUH. >>>WHICH MEANS YOU ACTUALLY START TO BELIEVE IT YOURSELF. >>>SO, ABBY, I HAVE TO ASK YOU BECAUSE YOU TALK ABOUT THIS IN THE BOOK THAT- A LESSER VERSION OF THIS- HAPPENED TO YOU AGAIN.>>>IT DID. AND- >>>WHICH I THOUGHT WAS BRAVE OF YOU TO TALK ABOUT IN THE BOOK. >>>I WILL TELL YOU WHY I ADDED THAT IN. THIS IS IN 2015, I MET A GUY IN NEW YORK WHO BASICALLY, VERY, HE TOLD ME HE WAS SEPARATED FROM HIS WIFE, AND THEY WERE SEPARATED THE WAY YOU AND I WERE SEPARATED- >>>RIGHT. ACROSS THE TABLE->>>[LAUGHS] YES. EXACTLY. THEY WERE NOT, THEY WERE NOT SEPARATED. I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, HE WOULD NEVER LIE TO ME BECAUSE HE KNEW WHAT I HAD EXPERIENCED. >>>RIGHT. >>>SO, IT WAS A MINOR DUPAGE, BUT IT WAS REALLY DEVASTATING BECAUSE I TRULY THOUGHT AT THAT POINT I WAS INVULNERABLE. I THOUGHT->>>YEAH. >>>AND THAT IS WHY I INCLUDED IT, BECAUSE I WANTED TO MAKE THE POINT THAT IT CAN HAPPEN TWICE, IT CAN HAPPEN, I MEAN, THERE IS, THERE WAS SOMETHING THAT I NEED TO LOOK AT IN MYSELF, OBVIOUSLY.>>>WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO OTHERS TO AVOID THIS?>>>TRUST YOUR GUT. AND THAT SOUNDS BASIC AND IT’S NOT.>>>DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE JADED THOUGH, IN A WAY THAT YOU WEREN’T BEFORE? DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU->>>NO, I THINK I’M SMARTER IN A WAY I WASN’T BEFORE.>>>OKAY, WELL THAT IS GREAT.>>>I WILL APPROACH ANOTHER RELATIONSHIP WITH CAUTION, AND THAT’S GOOD.>>>WE ALWAYS ASK AUTHORS IF YOU HAVE ANY PARTICULAR HABITS, OR QUIRKS, OR THINGS THAT YOU DO WHEN YOU WRITE? >>>WELL, THIS IS NOT GOOD, AND I HOPE MY MOTHER’S NOT WATCHING THIS BECAUSE SHE’S MAD AT ME. BUT ABOUT IT, I DRINK DIET COKE.>>>I’M ALREADY INTERESTED.>>>NO, NO, I DRINK DIET COKE. THIS IS NOT, I MEAN, I JUST LOVE MY DIET COKE. ♪ [UPBEAT MUSIC] ♪>>>WE’VE GOT ONE MORE NON-FICTION BOOK FOR YOU. THIS ONE IS PERFECT FOR SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE FANS. I’VE DEFINITELY GOT SOME IN MY FAMILY, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. YOU PROBABLY REMEMBER CHRIS KATTAN FOR HIS BOISTEROUS CHARACTERS LIKE MANGO AND MR. PEEPERS. HE’S OUT WITH A FASCINATING BOOK ABOUT HIS LIFE AND SATURDAY NIGHTS. CHRIS, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING BY. I AM SO HAPPY TO MEET YOU. >>>OH, THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME. IT’S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE. >>>YOUR BOOK IS CALLED, “BABY DON’T HURT ME: STORIES AND SCARS FROM SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.” >>>YES. >>>WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO WRITE IT NOW? >>>YOU KNOW, I JUST WANTED TO ANSWER A LOT OF THE QUESTIONS THAT PEOPLE HAD, WHICH WERE LIKE, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL THIS TIME, YOU KNOW. AND THAT’S WHAT SPARKED ME TO WRITE THE BOOK. >>>YOU TALK IN THE BOOK A LOT ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD, ABOUT YOUR ENTIRE PROFESSIONAL CAREER. AND YOU’RE, YOU KNOW, IT IS FUNNY. BUT YOU’RE ALSO VERY HEARTFELT AND IT’S VERY DIRECT I THOUGHT. DO YOU THINK THAT’S GOING TO SURPRISE READERS? >>>I THINK SO, PROBABLY. I MEAN I, AS A READER, WHEN I READ AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, I MEAN, I LOVE THAT. AND I’M NOT- >>>YEAH. >>>USUALLY SURPRISED BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT MAKES A HUMAN BEING. I MEAN, YOU- YOU’RE NOT ALWAYS FUNNY, YOU KNOW? >>>RIGHT. >>>HOPEFULLY PEOPLE WON’T BE DISAPPOINTED THAT IT’S NOT SUPER FUNNY, BUT IT’S NOT, IT’S NOT A LAUGH OUT LOUD BOOK, IT’S- >>>RIGHT. >>>NOT JOKES, IT’S NOT ANECDOTES, IT’S REAL STORIES, YOU KNOW, THAT REALLY HAPPENED. >>>YEAH. >>>AND THERE IS HUMOR IN THOSE STORIES THOUGH. >>>ABSOLUTELY. >>>LET’S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD. IT WAS IN SOME WAYS PRETTY NON-TRADITIONAL. AFTER YOUR PARENTS DIVORCED YOU LIVED WITH YOUR MOM AND YOUR STEPFATHER, SORT OF ON A MOUNTAIN IN A ZEN COMMUNITY, IS THAT RIGHT?>>>IN A MOUNT, YES, ON MOUNT BALDY- JUST IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IN THE SAN BERNARDINO MOUNTAINS. AND MY STEPDAD WAS A ZEN MONK. FOR ME AS A CHILD, I DON’T KNOW, IF YOU KNOW, FOR ANYBODY WHO KNOWS ABOUT ZEN, IT’S- IT’S YOU KNOW, IT’S A WAY OF LIFE AND IT’S- IT’S- IT’S NOT, MOST CHILDREN DON’T REALLY GET INTO IT [LAUGHS].>>>YES [LAUGHS]. >>>BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT, YOU’RE NOT STRESSED OUT YET.>>>YOU DON’T REALLY NEED THAT YET. >>>NOT YET. YOU KNOW, QUITE YET.>>>EVENTUALLY. AND MEANWHILE, YOUR DAD WAS IN LA AND HE’S A COMEDIAN, WAS A COMEDIAN HIMSELF. IS THAT RIGHT?>>>YEAH, WE WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF THE GROUNDLINGS- THE IMPROV GROUP IN LOS ANGELES. WHAT WAS SO GREAT WAS THAT I GOT TO SEE HIM PERFORM- >>>YEAH. >>>YOU KNOW, ON THE STAGE, YOU KNOW, WITH OTHER PEOPLE LIKE PAUL RUBINS, WHO CREATED PEEWEE HERMAN, AND- >>>YEAH. >>>PHIL HARTMAN. AND IT WAS JUST AMAZING TO SEE THAT.>>>SO, WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.>>>SURE. >>>YOU KNOW, MR. PEEPERS, THE BUTABI BROTHERS, SO MANY HILARIOUS CHARACTERS YOU PLAYED. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE? >>>THEY’RE ALL FUN, I MEAN, THEY ALL GAVE ME A CHANCE TO WORK WITH SOME GREAT, GREAT GUEST HOSTS AND- AND OTHER CAST MEMBERS. THERE WAS SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT MR. PEEPERS, WHICH WAS->>>YEAH. >>>MR. PEEPERS WAS THIS HALF MONKEY HALF MAN CHARACTER. >>>INTELLIGENCE FOR EXAMPLE, PEEPERS, PEEPERS.>>>HE ATE AN APPLE, AND THEN HE DRY HUMPS SOMEBODY, BASICALLY. >>>YES. >>>THAT WAS THE CHARACTER.>>>HE’S HILARIOUS. >>>VERY EASY TO, YEAH, IT’S FUN- FUNNY, PEOPLE LIKED IT. >>>AND REALLY, THE PHYSICAL COMEDY OF MR. PEEPERS KIND OF DEFIES LOGIC.>>>IT IS, YEAH. >>>HOW YOU DO IT IS, IS REALLY NOT UNDERSTANDABLE.>>>RIGHT, IT ISN’T. IT’S WEIRD. [LAUGHS]. >>>I ESPECIALLY LOVE THE APPLE ANECDOTE. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THAT? >>>WELL, THERE’S THIS OLD CARTOON CALLED “MICKEY’S TRAILER.” IT’S A MICKEY MOUSE CARTOON- AND [LAUGHS], IN THE TRAILER, AT ONE POINT, GOOFY IS EATING A CORN ON THE COB. AND HE EATS IT LIKE A TYPEWRITER.>>>YEAH. >>>AND I THOUGHT, LIKE, YOU KNOW, WHAT IF I ATE AN APPLE LIKE THAT. AND OF COURSE, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME- >>>RIGHT. >>>TO EAT IT LIKE THAT, LIKE AN ANIMATION. BUT IF YOUR MIND IS SET SAYS EAT IT LIKE THAT, YOU’RE GOING TO GET AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN TO IT. AND THAT’S WHAT I WAS DOING. [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER]>>>CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW? I KNOW YOU’RE DOING SOME STAND UP AND THAT HAS TO BE VERY DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOU DID BEFORE. >>>IT IS DIFFERENT, YOU KNOW, IT’S BEING ALONE ON STAGE IS DIFFERENT. I’M USED TO WORKING WITH OTHER PEOPLE ON, YOU KNOW, IN A SKETCH OR IN A FILM. BEING ALONE ON STAGE FOR LIKE, 45 MINUTES DOING A SET IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT BALL GAME. >>>DO YOU ENJOY IT? >>>I DO ENJOY IT, YEAH. IT GETS ME BACK IN TOUCH WITH THE FANS AND THE PEOPLE BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT GOT ME OUT OF ALL THE, YOU KNOW, DARK SPOTS IN MY LIFE, WAS COMEDY, YOU KNOW. >>>WE ALWAYS LOVE TO ASK WRITERS ABOUT THEIR ACTUAL WRITING PROCESS. >>>WELL, I MADE THE MISTAKE OF WRITING ON A- ON A- ON A IPAD THE WHOLE TIME. WELL, BECAUSE IT TOOK LONGER AND I WAS LIKE->>>YEAH. AND HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THE BOOK? HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING ON IT FOR A LONG TIME?>>>ABOUT FIVE YEARS. >>>WOW. >>>YEAH. ABOUT FIVE YEARS.>>>BUT WAS IT ULTIMATELY CATHARTIC, ALSO? >>>OH, MY GOD. IT IS. IT’S INCREDIBLY CATHARTIC. IT’S PROBABLY ONE OF THE BEST THERAPY SESSIONS YOU COULD POSSIBLY HAVE THAT LASTS FOR FIVE YEARS. >>>YES. IT’S A LONG THERAPY SESSION. >>>YEAH, IT IS. VERY LONG. ♪ [UPBEAT MUSIC] ♪>>>WANT MORE IDEAS FOR THE READERS ON YOUR LIST? NEW YORK CITY HAS PLENTY OF UNIQUE, SPECIALIZED, EVEN QUIRKY BOOK SELLERS. FOR EXAMPLE, FOR THE ANGLOPHILE IN THE FAMILY, NEW YORK IS HOME TO THE WORLD’S ONLY WINSTON CHURCHILL BOOK SHOP. FOR ALL THINGS CHURCHILL YOU CAN HEAD TO THE STORE. IT’S LOCATED IN THE LOBBY OF THE PARK AVENUE PLAZA. AEON BOOKSTORES IS A NEW INDEPENDENT SELLER ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE. IT OPENED LAST YEAR, SOMETHING WE LOVE TO SEE IN THE NOTABLY DIFFICULT WORLD OF BOOK SELLING THESE DAYS. AEON STOCKS BOTH NEW AND USED BOOKS, AND IT’S A GREAT PLACE TO BROWSE. IF YOU’VE GOT A PHOTOGRAPHY LOVER ON YOUR LIST, CHECK OUR DASHWOOD BOOKS, WHICH SELLS ONLY PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS AT ITS NOHO LOCATION. THE STORE IS ALSO A SOCIAL HUB FOR ALL THINGS PHOTOGRAPHY, UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF ITS OWNER, DAVID STRETTLE. ARE YOU SHOPPING FOR A REBEL THIS YEAR? DON’T MISS THE COLLECTIVELY OWNED AND VOLUNTEER RUN BLUE STOCKING STORE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVIST LITERATURE. THE STORE ALSO HOSTS TALKS, SUPPORT GROUPS, BOOK CLUBS AND OTHER COMMUNITY CENTRIC EVENTS CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF BEING OPEN. NOW, TO THE KITCHEN. CHEFS WILL LOVE A GIFT FROM BONNIE SLOTNICK COOKBOOKS IN GREENWICH VILLAGE. BONNIE OPENED HER STORE IN 1997, AND BOOKS AREN’T THE ONLY THING ON THE MENU. YOU’LL ALSO FIND UNIQUE FOOD PARAPHERNALIA TO SATISFY EVERY TASTE. IF ANTIQUE MAPS ARE YOUR THING, FIND YOUR WAY TO PAGEANT PRINT SHOP ON EAST FOURTH STREET. BEYOND MAPS, THE STORE SELLS VINTAGE CHILDREN’S PRINTS AND CLASSIC PRINTS RELATING TO ADVERTISING, ARCHITECTURE, ANIMALS, YOU NAME IT. IF YOU FIND YOURSELF IN BROOKLYN, YOU CAN SATISFY ALL YOUR SUPERHERO NEEDS AT BROOKLYN SUPERHERO SUPPLY. NOT ONLY BOOKS, BUT ALL THE EXTRAS ANY ASPIRING CRUSADER MIGHT NEED, FROM ANTI-MATTER REFILLS TO GIFTS AND TEES. AND FINALLY, RIGHT OFF BRYANT PARK, YOU’LL FIND KINOKUNIYA, THE PLACE FOR ALL THINGS JAPANESE. THE STORE HAS RECENTLY EXPANDED IT’S SELECTION TO INCLUDE MORE ENGLISH LANGUAGE OFFERINGS AND THERE’S A HUGE SELECTION OF PENS, JOURNALS, AND JAPANESE TOYS. THAT IS A QUICK LOOK AT SOME OF THE UNIQUE HOLIDAY OFFERINGS FOR BOOK LOVERS HERE IN NEW YORK. MOVING ON NOW TO A COUPLE OF FICTION BOOKS WE LOVE, I’M THINKING ABOUT THIS NEXT ONE FOR MY MOM AND MY BROTHER. SURPRISE, GUYS. IN ANY CASE, THEY’RE BOTH SERIOUS READERS WHO REALLY APPRECIATE AN EXPANSIVE NOVEL. “THE GUEST BOOK,” BY SARAH BLAKE WEAVES TOGETHER HISTORY AND FAMILY SECRETS IN A STORY THAT WILL LEAVE YOU GASPING. SARAH, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING TODAY.>>>OH, THANKS FOR HAVING ME. THIS IS GREAT. >>>SO, YOUR BOOK IS CALLED, “THE GUEST BOOK.” AND IT IS THE STORY OF MULTIPLE GENERATIONS OF THE MILTON FAMILY, WHO ARE BOUND TOGETHER, SORT OF FOR BETTER AND FOR WORSE, BY THIS SUMMER HOME, THEIR PRIVATE ISLAND IN MAINE. SO, LET’S START THERE. WHO ARE THE MILTONS?>>>SO, THE MILTONS ARE AN OLD MONEY FAMILY THAT’S, YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE FAMILIES THAT SORT OF CONSIDERED THEMSELVES THE BASTION OF THIS COUNTRY, THEY’VE BEEN HERE SINCE THE 1600’S, AND THIS ISLAND THAT IS ONE OF THE MAIN SETTINGS OF THE NOVEL WAS AN ISLAND THAT THE PATRIARCH AND THE SORT OF FIRST GENERATION, KITTY AND OGDEN, BOUGHT IN 1936 IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DEPRESSION, OFF THE COAST OF MAINE. AND IT BECOMES, THEY’RE VERY CLEAR THAT IT’S THE KIND OF PLACE THAT BINDS AND DEFINES THEM.>>>AT THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY, AS YOU SAID, YOU HAVE OGDEN AND KITTY AND FAIRLY EARLY ON IN THE BOOK, THERE IS A REAL TRAGEDY THAT PROPELS A LOT MORE THAT HAPPENS IN THE STORY. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THAT? >>>IN THE FIRST CHAPTER, WE SEE THE KIND OF LIFE THAT OGDEN AND KITTY HAVE IN 1935 AND OGDEN IS OVER IN BERLIN AND HE- HE IS INVESTING IN GERMAN STEEL WHILE, MEANWHILE, BACK IN MANHATTAN, HIS TWO SONS AND HIS WIFE ARE GOING ABOUT THEIR DAY. AND AT THE END OF THE CHAPTER, SOMETHING REALLY BAD HAPPENS TO ONE OF THE CHILDREN. FROM THERE, THE BOOK KIND OF EXPLODES OPEN INTO WHAT THIS FAMILY, HOW WILL THIS FAMILY NOW MOVE FORWARD. AND, IT’S IMPORTANT TO SAY THAT THIS IS THE KIND OF FAMILY FOR WHOM SOME THINGS ARE BETTER OFF LEFT UNSAID. >>>SO, FAMILY SECRETS ARE REALLY AT THE CORE OF MUCH OF WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE BOOK. WHAT DREW YOU TO THAT AS A THEME FOR THE BOOK?>>>I DID GROW UP SURROUNDED IN THE KIND OF SILENCE THAT IS SO FREIGHTED, THIS IDEA OF KITTY’S THAT SOME THINGS ARE BETTER OFF LEFT UNSAID. I MEAN, THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY HOW I WAS RAISED.>>>I FOUND THE BOOK VERY MOVING AND ALSO IN SOME WAYS SORT OF HAUNTING BECAUSE OF EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT, BECAUSE I KEPT GOING BACK TO THINGS, THEY STAYED WITH ME FOR DAYS, THIS SENSE OF LIKE, WELL IF SO AND SO HAD JUST SAID THIS->>>RIGHT. >>>THAT WOULD’VE BEEN DIFFERENT. >>>RIGHT. >>>AND IS THAT WHAT YOU WERE GOING FOR? >>>YES. I MEAN, TO ME, THAT IS THE MOST DELICIOUS THING ABOUT- GREAT BOOK. IT’S THE MOST DELICIOUS THING, WHEN THE READER IS IN POSSESSION OF THE TRUTH.>>>HOW DID YOU SETTLE ON THE ISLAND AS SORT OF THE CENTERPIECE OF THE BOOK? HOW DID YOU COME TO THAT?>>>WELL, FIRST OF ALL, IT’S A GREAT METAPHOR. THAT, YOU KNOW, THIS FAMILY’S PLACE IS AN ISLAND. BUT IT’S ALSO SOMETHING THAT IT IS IN MY FAMILY, I DO HAVE, YOU KNOW, MY FAMILY DOES HAVE A PLACE LIKE THAT. >>>AND IS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU STILL HAVE IN YOUR FAMILY? AND DO YOU STILL GO BACK? >>>I STILL GO BACK. I’M NOT AN OWNER ANYMORE- >>>YEAH. >>>BUT IT’S STILL IN OUR FAMILY, YEAH. >>>WOW. THAT’S VERY INTERESTING. >>>YEAH. >>>SO WAS THIS TO SOME DEGREE, LIKE, A SELF-EXPLORATION?>>>ABSOLUTELY. YEAH,>>>IT HAD TO BE IN SOME WAYS CHALLENGING I’D IMAGINE BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY PLOT LINES GOING ON->>>YEAH. >>>AND THERE’S SO MANY CHARACTERS AND YOU’RE JUMPING FROM YEAR TO YEAR, GENERATION TO GENERATION. WAS THAT DIFFICULT? >>>YES. [LAUGHS] IT WAS REALLY HARD. >>>[LAUGHS] I IMAGINE IT WAS.>>>IT WAS REALLY, REALLY HARD. AND IT TOOK A REALLY LONG TIME. >>>HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THE BOOK? >>>EIGHT YEARS [LAUGHS].>>>EIGHT YEARS. >>>IT TOOK A LONG TIME. >>>HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE MILTONS? DO YOU LIKE THEM?>>>EH, THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION. I DO BECAUSE I’VE, LIKE, SPENT EIGHT YEARS BEING THEM. YOU KNOW, SO, I, LIKE, I REALLY->>>YOU’VE REALLY LIVED WITH THEM FOR A WHILE. >>>I REALLY HAVE LIVED WITH THEM. I DO KIND OF LOVE THEM BECAUSE I SEE EXACTLY WHO THEY ARE. I MEAN, I’M NOT THEM, AND I AM THEM, I MEAN, I MADE THEM.>>>DO YOU HAVE ANY PARTICULAR QUIRKS OR HABITS OR THINGS THAT YOU DO THAT GET YOU THROUGH THE WRITING PROCESS? >>>WELL, I HAVE TO HAVE THE REALLY GOOD CUP OF COFFEE EVERY MORNING- >>>OKAY. >>>IT HAS TO BE REALLY GOOD.>>>WE LEAVE YOU TODAY WITH A LAUGH OR SEVERAL. THIS LAST BOOK IS ON MY LIST FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE BECAUSE SO MANY MOMS AND DADS CAN RELATE TO IT. THE OFTEN THANKLESS JOB OF BEING A CLASS PARENT AT YOUR KID’S SCHOOL. AUTHOR LAURIE GELMAN, A FORMER CLASS MOM HERSELF, TALKED TO US ABOUT HER HILARIOUS SECOND NOVEL, “YOU’VE BEEN VOLUNTEERED.” LAURIE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING US TODAY. >>>OH MY GOSH, THANKS FOR COMING. >>>SO, I HAVE TO START WITH, YOUR BOOK, “YOU’VE BEEN VOLUNTEERED,” IS HILARIOUS.>>>THANK YOU. >>>I LOVED IT. >>>OH MY GOSH, THANKS. MY FIRST NOVEL WAS CALLED, “CLASS MOM,” AND IT INTRODUCED YOU TO THIS CHARACTER, JEN DIXSON, WHO HAD TWO DAUGHTERS VERY EARLY IN HER LIFE AND NOW SHE FINDS HERSELF WITH A FIVE YEAR OLD. SHE’S 47, AND SHE’S STARTING THE WHOLE CLASS MOM THING AGAIN. SO THEY ASK HER TO BE THE MOM THAT LAISSES WITH THE TEACHER IN THE CLASSROOM. AND SHE SAYS YES, RELUCTANTLY, AND DECIDES THAT SHE’S GOING TO TAKE NO BS THIS TIME AROUND.>>>SO, JEN, AS THE CLASS MOM IS SORT OF LIKE AS SASSY AND SARCASTIC AS THEY COME. >>>YES, WITH HER EMAILS.>>>YES. >>>SHE SENDS THESE EMAILS OUT WHERE SHE, YOU KNOW, SHE WANTS EVERYBODY TO KNOW SHE’S IN CHARGE. RESPONSE TIMES WILL BE NOTED. AS I DID AS CLASS MOM, SHE JUST WANTS EVERYBODY TO BE INVOLVED, OR AT LEAST CARE ENOUGH TO READ THE EMAILS. SO I DECIDED, AND I PUT THIS ON JEN AS WELL, THAT I WOULD WRITE EMAILS THAT PEOPLE WOULD, THEY’D LOOK AND THEY’D GO, “OH, SHE WROTE ANOTHER EMAIL. LET’S SEE WHAT SHE SAYS THIS TIME.”>>>I GOT YOU, OKAY, SO THAT’S HOW YOU DID IT WHEN YOU WERE ACTUALLY A CLASS MOM.>>>RIGHT. AND MY HUSBAND WAS IN THE THREAD- OF COURSE, BECAUSE HE’S ALSO IN THE CLASSROOM. >>>RIGHT. >>>HE WOULD BE IN BED BESIDE ME READING AND HE’D BE LIKE, “OH MY GOD, YOU DIDN’T SEND THIS DID YOU?” AND I’M LIKE, “YES I DID. I SENT THAT.” AND HE’S LIKE, “OH, WE’RE GOING TO GET KICKED OUT.” HE WAS SO, SO WORRIED. >>>SO TELL ME A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THE EMAILS. I LOVED IN THE BOOK THAT YOU USE THE EMAILS THAT, THAT JEN SENDS TO THE PARENTS AS A WAY TO SORT OF MOVE THE PLOT ALONG. DID YOU HAVE A FAVORITE EMAIL THAT JEN SENT OUT? >>>A LOT OF THE EMAILS THAT I ACTUALLY WROTE, I PUT IN THE BOOK IN THE FIRST ONE. AND MY FAVORITE WAS SHE WROTE A NOTE ABOUT THE CHRISTMAS PARTY AND IT HAD TO BE READ TO THE TUNE OF “SANTA CLAUSE IS COMING TO TOWN.” AND I DID IT IN THE SECOND BOOK WITH “LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW.” AND I DON’T THINK I EVER GOT ENOUGH CREDIT FOR, FOR REWRITING THE WORDS OF “LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW.”>>>WHICH IS NO SMALL TASK. I LOVED, IN THE BOOK, WHEN SHE SENDS THE EMAIL AFTER SHE’S HAD WAY TOO MANY COCKTAILS. >>>YEAH, I DID THAT ONE TOO [LAUGHS]. >>>SO IS THAT BASED ON A REAL LIFE STORY? >>>IT WAS A DIFFERENT SITUATION, A DIFFERENT PLACE, A DIFFERENT TIME, BUT I ACTUALLY MADE THAT MISTAKE ONCE. I WAS IN LONDON FOR SOME REASON, BUT I REALIZED I STILL HAD STUFF TO DO AS THE CLASS MOM.>>>YEAH. >>>SO, IT WAS A VERY SARCASTIC, TALLY HO. HERE I AM, IN LONDON. YOU KNOW, VERY AFTER FIVE HOURS IN A PUB, IT WAS A VERY DRUNK EMAIL, I’M GOING TO SAY IT. IT JUST WAS A DRUNK EMAIL. AND IT WAS LIKE- IT WAS LIKE I DRUNK –>>>IT CAN HAPPENED. >>>EMAILED MY ENTIRE CLASS AND THEN I WOKE UP THE NEXT DAY AND I WAS LIKE, “OH.” [LAUGHS]. I DIDN’T REALIZE I’D DONE THAT. AND SO I HAD TO SEND AN APOLOGY EMAIL. >>>SO HOW LONG WERE YOU A CLASS VOLUNTEER? >>>FIVE SOUL SUCKING YEARS IN A ROW. AND IT WAS, AFTER FOUR YEARS, I WAS LIKE, I’M DONE. I’M GOOD. YOU KNOW? TWO FOR EACH KID.>>>YEAH. >>>I’M DONE. AND THEY’RE LIKE, “NO, YOU HAVE TO COME BACK AND DO IT AGAIN.” AND I WROTE MY FIRST EMAIL AS MY USUAL SHOT ACROSS THE BOW- >>>YEAH. >>>THIS IS, THIS IS WHAT IT IS, YOU KNOW, DON’T GET EXCITED- THESE ARE THE MEAN STREETS NOW, YOU KNOW.>>>[LAUGHS] RIGHT. >>>AND THERE WAS ONE MOTHER WHO HAD NEVER HAD ME AS A CLASS MOM, DIDN’T GET THE HUMOR, DIDN’T LIKE WHATEVER HUMOR SHE SAW AT ALL, AND SHE WENT STRAIGHT TO THE HEAD OF THE SCHOOL AND SHE SAID, “THIS WOMAN OFFENDS ME. I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS THE WAY SHE SPEAKS TO PARENTS.” AND THEY FIRED ME. FIRED ME.>>>DID YOU ENJOY WRITING THE BOOK BECAUSE IT’S SO FUN FOR YOU? >>>NO. [LAUGHS] I CAN’T SAY I ENJOYED. IT’S REALLY HARD. WRITING IS HARD. >>>YES. >>>WRITING IS LONELY, HARD WORK. AND IT’S, YOU’RE SO IN YOUR HEAD THE WHOLE TIME. >>>YEAH. I IMAGINE. >>>YOU KNOW, THERE’S A WHOLE COCKTAIL PARTY OF CHARACTERS AND THEY’RE TALKING TO YOU, AND WHEN YOU PULL OUT OF IT, YOU KNOW, YOU SORT OF LOOK AROUND AND YOU’VE BEEN IN THIS OTHER WORLD FOR SO LONG, YOU’RE LIKE, “GOSH, HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN OUT?”>>>YEAH. >>>LITERALLY YOU’VE BEEN IN THIS- THIS OTHER PLACE. AND EH- YOU KNOW, YOU STARE AT A BLANK PAGE AND YOU, THERE’S REALLY NO ONE TO TALK TO. A LOT OF PEOPLE CAN DO WRITING GROUPS. I CAN’T DO THAT. >>>YEAH. >>>I HAVE TO SORT OF FIGURE IT OUT MYSELF. >>>SO, THIS IS YOUR SECOND CLASS MOM NOVEL. IS THERE A THIRD? ARE THERE MORE HEROICS FOR JEN? >>>WELL, I JUST DID A LITTLE TOUR OF THE COUNTRY, AND I HAVE SO MANY MORE STORIES TO TELL IF YOU KNOW, IF THEY WANT A THIRD ONE->>>I BET THEY DO. >>>THEY- I’VE ACTUALLY, I THINK I’M GOING TO WRITE THE THIRD ONE, IT’LL BE A TRILOGY. IT’S SO RIPE FOR, FOR THE PICKING. ALL THE STORIES ARE JUST SO THERE.>>>THAT IS IT FOR OUR SPECIAL BOOK IT EDITION. THANKS SO MUCH FOR WATCHING. I HOPE WE HELPED YOU FIND SOME GIFTS FOR THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE, OR MAYBE JUST FOR YOURSELF. THAT IS OKAY TOO. REMEMBER, YOU CAN FIND US ONLINE WHENEVER YOU NEED YOUR NEW YORK CITY ARTS AND CULTURE FIX. I’M CAROL ANNE RIDDELL. WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME ON ARTS IN THE CITY. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

Dereck Turner

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