Category Archives: penguin press

Bringing Office Politics to the Public. Also: Pynchon.

I’ve been made to understand The David Awards at Penguin are a big deal. So named for CEO David Shanks, the various imprints court votes with the pressure, intrigue, and zealotry of the College of Cardinals. (Zing! Timely metaphor.)

So I’m asking you, dear reader, to help me win a modicum of respect in the office by voting up my Thomas Pynchon entry for the Best Animated Video. It was produced by the great minds at Pentagram, and it happens to feature prose from one of the greatest living writers on the planet.

(You don’t have to vote in every category, just Best Animated Video.)



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The Nerd Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions

Nerd Jeopardy at Housing Works Bookstore

That’s right, it’s the fabled Tournament of Champions edition of New York’s best infrequent literary trivia night. Next Thursday at the great Housing Works Bookstore, three winning teams will square off to claim true Nerd Jeopardy honor and respect. (Plus a fourth team of amateurs*, just to embarrass them.)聽The questions will be more difficult–some in French, even–and I expect a level of fierce competitiveness rarely seen outside an episode of “The Bachelor.”

There will be plenty of wine and beer to keep audience heckling at a fever pitch and several opportunities for audience members to win prizes of their own.


Q. I’ve never been to Nerd Jeopardy before. What’s it like? Continue reading

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Nerd Jeopardy Recap

  1. Mr. Trebek was there in spirit.
  2. You can’t see it in the photo, but there are 80 people drinking wine and plotting their strategy to the right:
  3. jasper_a Nerd Jeopardy at McNally Jackson w/ Kyle 馃榾
    Thu, Oct 18 2012 16:04:23
  4. Round One:
  5. TimeOutNewYork
    Categories are on the board at @mcnallyjackson for #NerdJeopardy.
    Thu, Oct 18 2012 16:27:54
  6. mcnallyjackson
    Bunch of drunk nerds in our basement swapping trivia like it’s spit at a drama club cast party. Who’s going to lose their glasses first?
    Thu, Oct 18 2012 15:50:39
  7. Time Out live-tweeted a few of the questions:
  8. TimeOutNewYork
    “This week Hilary Mantel won her 2nd Booker Prize, becoming the 1st woman to do so after these 2 men.” #NerdJeopardy
    Thu, Oct 18 2012 16:36:59
  9. TimeOutNewYork
    Put A Bird On It: “Birdwatchers can spot a cerulean warbler on the jacket & in the plot of this 2010 Oprah’s Book Club Pick” #NerdJeopardy
    Thu, Oct 18 2012 16:45:15
  10. TimeOutNewYork
    “In 1939, publishers were convinced that Robert de Graff’s plans for this format would restore the industry.” #NerdJeopardy
    Thu, Oct 18 2012 16:47:18
  11. Maris correctly guessed the author of My Crazy Beautiful Life, an “illustrated memoir.”
  12. mariskreizman
    My greatest achievement tonight was that I answered a Ke$ha-related question at Nerd Jeopardy.
    Thu, Oct 18 2012 19:24:03
  13. Congrats to the “Poorly Informed Hecklers,” who beat “Lady and the Tramps”聽by one point. (Third place went to the scrappy “Phony Morrisons.”)
    The winning trio received hardcover copies of Zadie Smith’s聽NW, Errol Morris’聽A Wilderness of Error, Nate Silver’s聽The Signal and The Noise, and Scott Hutchins’聽A Working Theory of Love. (Mr. Hutchins also made an appearance in our Video Daily Double, at the very same moment he was reading at BookCourt across town.)
  14. The Tournament of Champions Speed Round, with lighting-fast questions from the audience thrown out聽at winners from previous Nerd Jeopardies.
  15. Mike Duncan took first place, earning聽a bottle聽of Veuve Cliquot, a deluxe Penguin Classics edition of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s聽Tales of the Jazz Age, a signed copy of Junot Diaz’s聽This Is How You Lose Her,聽and all of our respect.
  16. Thanks everyone who turned out for Nerd Jeopardy! We’ll host another one in January. Find out when by signing up for McNally Jackson’s newsletter.

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A New Kind of Presidential Debate Analysis

I don’t know why I love the presidential debates so much. After all the buildup of a summer of attack ads, stretched facts, dirt digging, and political inertia, letting Obama and Romney square off against each other is going to be great television. (Or great streaming video, whichever.)

Of course, post-debate analysis is uniformly disappointing. The pundits pick apart the least consequential aspects of the candidates’ performance in an effort to one-up the other networks with soundbites. (The Times聽has a nice piece on how past underdogs have won the day with such spin.)

So! I’m proud to announce a new venture with The Penguin Press and Reuters: a post-debate video roundtable with three award-winning authors, each an expert with a unique perspective on the election.

Reuters Global Editor-at-Large聽Chrystia Freeland聽will host the discussion. Freeland is the author of聽Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. (You may have also seen her聽amazing聽New Yorker聽piece on the 1%聽this week.)

She will be joined by聽David Nasaw, award-winning author of the national bestseller聽Andrew Carnegie聽and The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy(arriving in November).聽Nasaw will provide a historian鈥檚 perspective on the cultural and political forces shaping the election.

Last but not least, the roundtable will include Pulitzer Prize winner聽Daniel Yergin, the globally recognized expert on energy and author of the聽New York Times聽bestseller聽The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World.

The roundtable starts on聽Reuters.com聽after Wednesday’s Presidential Debate at 10:40pm EST. It’ll run for about 30min. Hope you can join in.

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Zadie Smith’s Guide to NW

I’m very, very excited to share something I’ve been working on for quite a while. It’s an interactive tour through the real-world locations of Zadie Smith’s NW, narrated by the author.

Tour of NW

To be honest, it’s kind of difficult to explain what the project is. It’s not a book trailer (thank God), and it’s not an enhanced Google Map.

I 聽was inspired by the novel itself, naturally, as well as polymathic 聽experiments like the Arcade Fire’s The Wilderness Downtown.聽It’s a rare thing to see a novelist evoke a real geography while simultaneously transcending it. I hope this project conveys a sense of that.

Thanks to the team at Verso for production, and photographer Andrew Meredith in the UK.

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Nerd Jeopardy Returns!

ImageAfter taking the summer off to read Proust’s oeuvre in the original French, I decided it’s time to herald autumn with a night of literary trivia. And wine!

The Penguin Press & Small Demons present:
Nerd Jeopardy!聽
Thursday, Oct. 18th, 7pm
McNally Jackson, 52 Prince St, NYC
Complimentary Wine & Bookish Humiliation

Come to watch a books-only version of the popular game show with me as your genial host. If you’ve attended Nerd Jeopardy before, you know more or less what’s in store: prizes, swearing, a surprise guest or two.

If you haven’t attended, here’s a brief sample of past categories and clues:


Image Continue reading

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The New DFW Video

I’m very excited to read D. T. Max’s new biography of the late David Foster Wallace, Every Story Is a Ghost Story. (Some of you caught Max’s moving speech at BEA this past May.)

Anyways, I participated in a video Viking Books put together around the book’s publication. Nothing makes you feel inarticulate like trying to express your deepest admiration for a life-changing novelist whose mastery of the language remains, to this day, wholly unsurpassed.

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