Mark Your Calendars

I met my fiancée at a BOMB magazine after-party. (Thanks Paul!) So naturally my expectations are high for my own first fête at BOMB. I want this one to be a memorable blowout with equal parts high culture, loosened tongues, and low wit. Fortunately it’s a killer lineup:

BOMB 129 Issue Launch

Claudia Rankine, whose book Citizen is so mind-blowing it’s been longlisted for a National Book Award in Poetry, even though it could have just as easily been classified as Nonfiction. Her interview with Lauren Berlant‘s been among the most popular from BOMB’s Fall issue.

Frederic Tuten, whose story “Winter, 1965″ hits incredibly close to home for every young writer in New York.

James Hoff & Eli Keszler. They’re going to play music, and if their interview is any indication, it’s going to be epic. We’ll provide earplugs.

Plus free drinks courtesy of Sixpoint! It’s going to be a great night. Hope to see you there.

BOMB 129 Issue Launch
Wednesday Oct. 15th 7pm
Powerhouse Arena, Dumbo 

(Facebook details)

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Things to Do in September

September is rife with great arts programming. A few highlights:

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My New Job with BOMB Magazine

bomb magazine coversAfter a summer freelancing with W. W. Norton and finishing up my book with Chronicle (Spring 2015!), I’m thrilled to announce I’ve joined the excellent team at BOMB Magazine. 

I’ll be building on the excellent work by my predecessor Charles Day to expand BOMB‘s digital and physical presence. This means: more events! more experimentation! more everything

While I’m on the subject, here are a few of my favorite BOMB pieces from the last few years:

(You should sign up for their excellent Weekend Reads newsletter as well.)

And if you’d like to destroy my brief spell of inbox zero, my professional email is ryan {at}

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A Summer Playlist, Why Not

Is mid-July too late for a summer playlist? I hope not.


The sequence is meant for a picnic or dinner party, with the tracks gathering steam as the sangria takes hold. Some of the songs, like “Do You” and “Problem,” are included simply because they’re addictive as hell. After the boozy, hectic midpoint, around “22 Grand Job”–the all-time best pop song about low wages, even if it is in British pounds–things slow down to encourage a laid-back, flirtatious vibe.

Oh, and a hat tip to the bartender at Skylark for introducing me to “Pass the Hatchet.”

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Exploring the New Yorker’s Archives

The New Yorker‘s archives are open to all for the next couple months. After that, the metered paywall goes up. So for those of you who haven’t subscribed, here are a few recommended gems:


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Reviewing Craig Davidson’s “Cataract City”

Cataract City


The good folks at the B&N Review published my writeup of Craig Davidson’s new novel Cataract City.

Craig Davidson might be Canadian, but his novel has the defiantly beating heart of a Bruce Springsteen song. Cataract City, the local nickname for Niagara Falls, Ontario, is a dying industry town with a Nabisco factory (“the Bisk”), pervasive alcoholism, and a foreboding proximity to the only national landmark with a reputation for stunt suicides. Over the course of the novel, two lifelong friends, Owen Stuckey and Duncan Diggs, will taste a little glory and a lot more defeat. They’ll warm bar stools at their regular dive. They’ll even fight over the same woman. You might as well accompany it with a spin of Born to Run.

Read on…

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Thanks everyone who came out to Laser Didion last Saturday. It was a perfect comedown from the annual BEA insanity, and I’m thrilled so many people braved the G train clusterfuck for a late-night event in Greenpoint.

As requested, here’s the playlist of the night’s entertainment.

We listened to “Notes Toward a Dreampolitik,” “On the Road,” and “On the Morning After the Sixties” from The White Album. And a big thank you to Jenn Northington at WORD for hosting our after-hours to-do.

A few Instagrams: Continue reading

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