June 30, 2014

This American Life

Forget all those conspiracy theories about the Earl of Oxford; only a drinkin,’ brawlin,’ pub-dwellin’ man could have penned the potty-mouthed jokes that liven up even the Bard’s darkest dramas. In America we like our beer cold and our playwrights belligerent, so as far as we’re concerned, William has always been one of us. The new anthology Shakespeare in America traces his influence on every level of our national culture from poets to presidents. Tonight, to celebrate the book’s release, James Earl Jones returns to the Delacorte to read from Othello, reprising the role he first played here 50 years ago. Also appearing are Alec Baldwin (fresh off his Fifth Avenue biking arrest and subsequent hissyfit), performing scenes from Macbeth, and Steven Pasquale, belting songs from West Side Story (that counts as Shakespeare, right?), as well as readings by F. Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Alexander, E.L. Doctorow, Cynthia Nixon, and many more. @ Delacorte Theater, 81st & Central Park West, 8:00 p.m.

Francisco Goldman

The Interior Circuit: A Mexico City Chronicle is Goldman’s story of his emergence from grief five years after his wife’s death, symbolized by his attempt to overcome his fear of driving in the city. Embracing the Mexico City as his home, Goldman explores and celebrates the city, which stands defiantly apart from so many of the social ills and violence wracking Mexico — an apartness that has been threatened by the 2012 election of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. @ 192 Books, 192 10th Avenue, 7:00 p.m.

July 1, 2014

Shirley Jackson

On the occasion of a new novel about her life, five Shirley Jackson-ophiles discuss her work, her life, and her haunting interests. In recent years acclaim for Shirley Jackson’s writing has been rekindled thanks to rediscovery of American classics like The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Now comes Shirley, the second novel by Susan Scarf Merrell, a haunting look at the relationship between Shirley Jackson and her professor husband, Stanley Hyman. With Colin Dickey, author ofCranioklepty and co-editor of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology; Benjamin Dreyer, Vice President, Executive Managing Editor & Copy Chief of Random House; author of Shirley, Susan Scarf Merrell; and writer and co-editor of Gigantic magazine, Lincoln Michel. Moderated by writer and bookseller, A. N. Devers. @ Community Book Store of Park Slope, 143 7th Ave. Brooklyn, NY, 7:00 p.m.

Mira Jacob

Author Mira Jacob’s debut, A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, follows a family from India in the 70s to New Mexico in the 80s to Seattle in the 90s. Writer Julie Klam, who worked with Jacob on VH1’s Pop-Up Video, joins her in conversation. @ Powerhouse Arena, 37 Main St. Brooklyn, NY, 7:00 p.m.

July 2, 2014

Joshua Mehigan

Levinson prize-winning poet Joshua Mehigan celebrates the launch of his new collection of poems from Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, Accepting the Disaster: Poems. His poems have appeared in many periodicals, including The New Republic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review. @ BookCourt, 163 Court St. Brooklyn, NY, 7:00 p.m.