Monday, December 21, 2009

Tyger, tyger, burning bright

A couple weeks ago, Brooklyn author Jonathan Lethem initiated a series of marathon readings of his new novel Chronic City, in which he would recite (like the Homeric poets, one hopes) the entire 528-page work end to end. As the readings ticked by one after another, it became evident that Lethem was not moving with the appropriate hustle, and when it came to the big finale at Book Court in Brooklyn, he had fully half of the book still to go. How did he accomplish this? The reading went until 5am is how. And I'm told people stuck around through all of it.

But that's not the part of the story that perplexes me. It's this: as the Book Court reading drew near, it started going around that in addition to Lethem, Book Court was also going to have a LIVE TIGER on hand for the reading. I can't find many references to it on the internet, just here and here, but I heard it from a bunch of people before the reading that this was real and was going to happen. It wasn't, and it didn't, but I still wonder how the rumor got started. It would have been pretty awesome, but as a guy who's had to run bookstore readings before I don't blame them for sticking with the "guy in glasses reading from a book" approach, rather than "huge exotic jungle predator" approach.

[Image of Siberian Tiger by Malene Thyssen from Wikimedia Commons.]

1 comment:

jenniferknode said...

I got less than a hundred pages into the book before giving it up, but the real/not real tiger is a recurring motif in it. I didn't care about this book because I don't care about any of the (uptown) versions of Manhattan dealt with in the book.