Category Archives: work in progress

Nerd Jeopardy Returns July 21st

Like a rising phoenix with questionable IP usage, Nerd Jeopardy is back for round three. It’s just like every other literary trivia night you’ve attended, except this one comes with free wine (courtesy of Möet Hennessy) and a time-tested structure (courtesy of Alex Trebek).

Unlike the game show, all of our questions are about books, publishing, and pop culture. Three teams of three compete (the prizes are middling; the glory, everlasting) in two rounds, with some audience participation thrown in for good measure. There will be surprise appearances from some notable novelists in the form of the immortal Video Daily Double.

As an added bonus the whole ordeal’s going down at one of my favorite bookstores: McNally Jackson.

NB: The event’s presented by my little newsletter for FSG, Work in Progress. (If you haven’t subscribed yet, you should. There’s a nice little bonus package for subscribers in the July 15th issue.)

Full Details: 

Thur. July 21st, 7pm
McNally Jackson (basement), 52 Prince St

Facebook Event

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Nerd Jeopardy Recap

By the hangover alone I can tell Nerd Jeopardy was a success. Over 100 people came to watch teams Water Buffalo, Cover Not Final, and Have a Great Night compete for literary glory. (Literary trivia glory, to be more precise.) Congrats to team Water Buffalo. Congrats also to Michael, who won the Audience Quiz by successfully guessing how many footnotes can be found in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest (388).

Thanks to Housing Works for the venue and the assistance!

If you didn’t make it, here’s what you missed:

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Geoff Dyer and Work in Progress 8

At a recent event for Harper’s, an interviewer asked Zadie Smith whom she counts among her favorite contemporary book reviewers. She immediately replied with one name: Geoff Dyer.

If you haven’t read Dyer, it’s likely you have a friend who is incredulous at such an omission. Dyer tends to incite fervor in readers: “You have to read this, now. Take my copy. Call in sick. Go to jury duty tomorrow.” I admit I am one such friend. And in the case of this month’s Work in Progress, I hope his essay “Reader’s Block” wins a few more converts.

The strange thing about this is that at twenty I imagined I would spend my middle age reading books that I didn’t have the patience to read when I was young. But now, at forty-one, I don’t even have the patience to read the books I read when I was twenty. At that age I plowed through everything in the Arnoldian belief that each volume somehow nudged me imperceptibly closer to the sweetness and light. I readWar and Peace, Anna Karenina, Ulysses, Moby Dick. I got through The Idiot even though I hated practically every page of it. I didn’t read The Brothers Karamazov:I’ll leave it till I’m older, I thought—and now that I am older I wish I’d read it when I was younger, when I was still capable of doing so.

–Geoff Dyer

Now go read the rest of it. Then read Out of Sheer Rage.

The other piece I’m excited about is Tristan Garcia’s interview in BOMB Magazine, which they’ve offered to post online for WIP subscribers. Garcia’s novel Hate: A Romance appeared and then quickly disappeared last fall, unfortunately. While it’s cliché to say it’s a novel unlike any I’d read before, I stand by it. Continue reading

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Work in Progress 7 Is Live

The first Work in Progress of 2011 is alive and well, with a hodgepodge o’ content. I’m most excited about the U.S. debut of a Mario Vargas Llosa essay on how he cured his fear of flying. (It’s not sleeping pills.)

There’s an extended conversation between editor Jonathan Galassi and poet Gjertrud Schnackenberg, which goes into incredible depth about the myriad sources behind her work: Buddha, Carl Sagan, and the Lutherans all play a part.

The third article started out with an appeal from a couple of our writers. Justin Spring and Wendy Moffat, both biographers of gay historical subjects, asked if we could make a video for the It Gets Better campaign. Hearing how E. M. Forster and Sam Steward, very different men, lead successful lives despite social prejudice was quite heartening. I also like Justin Spring’s comment about how much good sex is in store for homosexual teens later in life.

And finally, David Levithan asks readers to write dictionary entries. Kind of.

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Nerd Jeopardy Wrapup

A quick thanks to everyone who came out on Thursday to Nerd Jeopardy. It was a big success and we’ll definitely do it again. I’m thinking February, at a bigger venue to accommodate the crowd. (Best way to find out about the next one is to sign up at Work in Progress.)

Thanks to Team TK, The First Mrs. Rochesters, and The Merry Husbands of Windsor Terrace for competing. The Merry Husbands took first, showcasing a breadth of literary knowledge essential to winning Nerd Jeopardy (and more or less useless anywhere else). Personally, the whole night was worth it for my “MockingJay-Z” pun.

And congrats to Iris Blasi, who won the Audience Award: a Kobo ereader.

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