One of the few independent bookstores left in Manhattan, Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks recently reopened at a new location on 28 East Second Street. The store’s owner, Bonnie Slotnick, sat down with Augury to discuss her shop and the recent changes it has undergone.
Augury Books: How did you decide to start selling books?
Bonnie Slotnick: I had begun collecting cookbooks when I was in my twenties. When I was thirty, I saw a store selling new cookbooks in the city. I ended signing up to become a book scout for them. After a while, I was sick of being under somebody else’s sphere of influence and I opened my store. That was 17 years ago.
A: What made you decide to focus on cookbooks in particular?
B: I used to look at my mother’s cookbooks when I was a kid. She didn’t have a lot, but there was one that I was just particularly taken with. I used to look at it all the time. It was my favorite book when I was ten or eleven. When I started seeing the books in stores, they really resonated with me. I found old cookbooks and they really struck a chord with me. The old ones are much more interesting; there’s so much history. The new ones all look the same to me.
A: What are some of your favorite books you’ve sold?
B: I like books from the 20s, 30s, 40s. I like books that are in the format of conversations. Some books at the start of the 19th century were written as a conversation between an older woman and a new bride or young girl who has to take care of her family. I like that the conversation isn’t just comprised of instructions. They’re in the form of letters.
A: How has the move been?
B: It was very traumatic to lose the lease on my store after all these years. I was very lucky to find someone who wanted to rent to me. And now I’m a tenant and I have a much bigger spot for the same rent. And it has a backyard. It’s really unbelievable. They really wanted a bookstore as their tenant.
A: Do you have any plans for the new space?
To restock. I’m now certain to buy again. And I have enough room that I can have events here – author events. Because I have a nice space in an interesting neighborhood, people are already getting in touch with me. If somebody wants to have a talk or a book club, I have space for that. Classes can come. Professors would bring their classes to the old shop, and we’d be packed in. Now I feel like I can have a square dance in here!
For more on Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, visit the website.
Posted in Augury Books, Interview | Tagged Augury, Augury Books, Bonnie Slotnick, Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, Bookstore, Cookbooks, Independent Bookstores, Nonfiction | Leave a Comment »
The dates and theme for the 11th annual PEN World Voices Festival have recently been announced. From May 4th through May 10th, 100 writers from various countries will come together in NYC to celebrate literature “On Africa.” The 2015 program, co-curated by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, seeks to make heard the voices of contemporary African artists. Among the writers being featured are Teju Cole, Edwidge Danticat, Mona Eltahawy, and Alain Mabanckou.
PEN is an international organization dedicated to protecting free expression for writers and expanding a worldwide literary community. Each Spring, they hold their World Voices Festival, chaired by Salman Rushdie, to exhibit the works of writers cross-culturally and to “celebrate the written word.” To learn about or get involved with PEN, explore their website.
Posted in Art, Augury Books, Creative Nonfiction, Creative Writing, Diversity, Event, Fiction, Nonfiction, PEN, Poetry, World Voices Festival | Tagged African Writers, Alain Mabanckou, Artists, Augury, Augury Books, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Diversity, Edwidge Danticat, Fiction, Mona Eltahawy, Non-fiction, On Africa, PEN, PEN American Center, PEN International, Poetry, Teju Cole, World Voices Festival, Writers | Leave a Comment »
The Federal Dust Reading Series is holding its twelfth poetry reading on March 27th. Hosted by Matthew Zingg, the event will take place at Litmore in Baltimore, Maryland. Poets being featured during this event include Paige Taggart, Niina Pollari, Michael Morse, and Will Schutt.
Paige Taggart’s poems have been published by Augury friend Joe Pan‘s Brooklyn Arts Press. Joe Pan’s poetry collection is forthcoming from Augury in 2015.
Posted in Augury Books, Brooklyn Arts Press, Creative Writing, Event, Federal Dust, Friends, Joe Pan, Matthew Zingg, Poetry, Reading, Reading Series, Uncategorized | Tagged Augury, Augury Books, Brooklyn Arts Press, Federal Dust, Federal Dust Reading Series, joe pan, Litmore, Matthew Zingg, Michael Morse, Niina Pollari, Paige Taggart, Poetry, Poetry Reading, poets, Reading, Reading Series, Will Schutt | Leave a Comment »
Augury friend Diana Spechler has recently begun a weekly column for The New York Times’ Opinionator entitled “Going Off.” In this series, she recounts her experiences while coming off of the prescription medications she uses to treat depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Diana sat down with Augury assistant editor Nicolas Amara to talk about the new column.
Augury Books: What has the initial response to “Going Off” been like?
Diana Spechler: A lot of advice. A lot of people sharing their own stories. Some thank you notes. Some anger–that I’m not coming out as staunchly anti-meds or staunchly pro-meds. I love it. All of it. What’s clear to me from the response and what was clear to me before I started the column, is that in 2015 psychiatric medications are still a taboo; now that I’m writing about them in the New York Times, in this very candid way, people are dying to talk. For some reason, we’re supposed to hide our psychiatric disorders and treatments. We’re supposed to feel embarrassed about them. That’s silly. There’s this story a guy once told me, probably seven or eight years ago, that’s always stuck with me: He went out with a woman and was turned off because he found antidepressants in her medicine cabinet. He relayed this information to me to explain why he never called her again. I told him, “You have to be kidding.” For one thing, what was he doing in her medicine cabinet? For another thing, turned off by her medication–her efforts to be healthy and happy? Jeez. Tough crowd! Antidepressants are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in America. Chances are, you know a lot of people on antidepressants and benzos and sleeping pills and mood stabilizers. Great. We’re all on drugs. Now let’s talk.
A: Did you ever feel nervous about running the column?
D: I was terrified before I started. Even after I started, I was terrified. I had a couple of bad days when the first piece ran. I felt so exposed. I felt like I was mooning the world. But it’s worth it for me to do this, to be as honest and open and straightforward as possible. It’s still scary, but now that I have this platform, I feel intense responsibility: I have a voice; I need to use it. I’m grateful to have public support through such a brutal process. Most people getting off their meds have one or two people to talk to, or they have no one. I’m extremely lucky and I never forget that.
A: Do you think the sort of writing you’re doing helps de-stigmatize depression?
D: That’s the idea. I don’t like any topics to be off-limits. I want to talk about everything. I want everyone to tell me everything, too. You know how people cover their ears and say, “TMI! TMI!”? There’s no such thing as TMI to me. If you’re insanely jealous of someone, or if you’ve stalked someone, or if you have a rash on your genitals, I totally want to know about it. I’m not above talking about my exes on a first date, either. We have all these pointless rules. It’s not hurting anyone if I talk about my period, if I talk about my panic attacks, if I talk about my medication. What are we, Puritans? I hope to help others feel less ashamed.
To read “Going Off,” click here.
More on Diana Spechler
Posted in Augury Books, Creative Nonfiction, Creative Writing, Diana Spechler, Friends, Interview, The New York Times | Tagged Augury, Augury Books, AWP, Creative Nonfiction, Diana Spechler, Going Off, interview, New York Times, NY Times, opinionator | Leave a Comment »
With the aid of Google’s Field Trip app, the SPARK Movement is honoring history’s forgotten and overlooked women by marking locations on the map that bear significant connections to their lives. These highlights on the app were launched during the first week of March, and they include over 100 women in various fields. Among the women recognized are Nellie Bly, Xie Bingxin, and Gloria Anzaldúa.
For more about the new initiative, you can click here.
To learn more about the SPARK Movement and how you can get involved, visit their website.
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The finalists for the 27th annual Lambda Literary Awards have been announced. The Lambda Literary Awards honor the best LBGTQ literature of the year in 24 categories, including fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Among the nominees for 2015 is Augury friend Shelly Oria. Other noteworthy finalists include Ana Castillo, Tom Spanbauer, Danez Smith, Lenelle Moïse, and La JohnJoseph. The winners will be declared at the awards ceremony on Monday, June 1st in New York City.
For the complete list of finalists and their works, visit the Lambda Literary Awards website.
Posted in Augury Books, Awards, Creative Nonfiction, Creative Writing, Diversity, Fiction, Finalist, Friends, Lambda Literary Awards, LGBTQ, Nonfiction, Offsite, Poetry | Tagged Ana Castillo, Augury, Augury Books, Awards, Creative Nonfiction, creative writing, Danez Smith, Fiction, Finalists, La JohnJoseph, Lambda Literary Awards, Lenelle Moise, LGBTQ, LGBTQ Literature, Nonfiction, poems, Poetry, Shelly Oria, Tom Spanbauer | Leave a Comment »
Augury author Joe Pan will be leading Brooklyn Poets‘ Yawp on March 9th. A monthly event, Yawp consists of a writing workshop at 7 PM, followed by an open mic night at 8. The primary focus for this month’s Yawp will be the evolution of poetry throughout the writing process. It will take place at 61 Local, and admission is $5 for nonmembers.
To learn more about Yawp, visit the Brooklyn Poets website.
Joe Pan’s book, Hiccups, or Autobiomythography II, is forthcoming from Augury Books in 2015.
More on Joe Pan
Posted in Art, Augury Books, Brooklyn Poets, Creative Writing, Joe Pan, Poetry, Poets & Writers | Tagged 61 Local, Art, Augury, Augury Books, Brooklyn Poets, creative writing, Event, joe pan, Open Mic, Poem, Poet, Poetry, poets, Workshop, Writing, Yawp | Leave a Comment »