Titlepage: Episode 2(?)
The second episode of Titlepage is up (although, according to this writeup on Jacket Copy, it was filmed before the first episode). It features four debut authors, including Keith Gessen, who will be presenting and signing his book at Vroman's on April 28. The other panelists are Sloane Crosley, Julie Klam, and Ceridwen Dovey. There are a few very nice moments in the conversation, including some real vulnerability from Gessen, whose friend told him his book All the Sad Young Literary Men would ruin his life. That's criticism everybody wants to get! Other good parts include Julie Klam's very funny story about her mother blaming the alphabet for her daughter's inability to distinguish "M" from "N" ("Why do they put them so close together?!") and Ceridwen Dovey referring to her ancestors as "drunkards and bums." Klam, who wrote for Pop Up Video on VH1, tells a few interesting stories form her days on that show, as well.
All four books sound like the sort of thing I'd like, and Gessen's is actually on my "to read" list as I write this. Dovey's book, Blood Kin, sound fascinating. The story of a coup in a fictional country, Blood Kin, is told by several nameless characters, including the deposed ruler's chef. Menaker, I think, asks her some excellent questions about the many descriptions of body parts, aging, and other corporeal elements. Despite Menaker's talent as a host, the show is at its best when the authors start talking with one another. I'm excited to see how the next panel, which features Mark Sarvas, who will be at Vroman's on May 5, plays out. The show definitely has potential.
Other things I noticed while watching this episode: all the panelists sit on what appears to be cheap lawn furniture. I can sympathize. A few years ago, I moved to Iowa with my then girlfriend. When we moved into our apartment, we had no furniture. We bought this terrific vintage Leave it to Beaver style kitchen table, the kind with a Formica top and stainless steel legs. Then we got some patio furniture for our porch. We didn't have enough money leftover to buy chairs to match the table, so we used the patio furniture. You know, just until we got the cash together to pick up some cool vintage chairs to match our great table. Flash forward two years and there we are in the kitchen, eating seared tenderloin while seated on lawn furniture. Classy. Apparently the Titlepage folks had the same problem. I guess those books on ropes are more expensive than they look.
Another thing I learned from comparing this episode to the first (or second) one: it must be the second book that turns you into one of the mole people, because all of these authors are pretty attractive.