08 February 2013

Got Buns, Son

Despite living in Fort Greene, I haven't been down to Greenlight Bookstore more than a handful of times. The first time was when I got locked out of my apartment six weeks ago and had to find shelter because I have no friends in the neighborhood. Plus I was jacket-less. After spending quite some time in Greenlight, I remembered why I really shouldn't go into bookstores.

Thank goodness I didn't have my wallet on me because I would have spent so much money. On a return visit, I somehow managed not to have my wallet again and had to put a staff recommendation on layaway, Kazushi Hosaka's Plainsong. It's early on but I already love it. I haven't had the chance to get to the end because I'm behind on this month's book club reading -- Zadie Smith's NW -- but I knew just flipping through the pages at Greenlight that Plainsong was right up my alley.

Also, I love Zadie Smith's movie reviews from Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays. It's the movie equivalent of reading Nick Hornby's Stuff I've Been Reading columns. It goes to show that if someone is smart, they can write about anything. The tough part is getting that smart...

The other night, we went to Greenlight for Eddie Huang's book release. I've been following him for a few years and love his new show on Vice, in which he visits various cities while eating and educating -- in his own special way. Having never met Eddie or spoken to him, I was curious what he was like in person. Put it this way: my friend, who was previously a bit of a Huang hater, proceeded to not only buy Eddie's memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, but wait in line to say hello to him afterwards. A new fan!

The event featured a Q&A with former NY Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton and the bookstore was packed with a very diverse crowd. For all authors out there, learn to make your readings funny. I can usually pay attention for about three minutes during a typical reading, but Eddie's personality and reading was just hilarious. Semi-pro tip: in a pinch, laugh at yourself, the crowd will awkwardly follow. Watching Eddie read made me want to write things that are like, actually funny when read out loud. Or just, you know, funny period. Dare to dream I guess. Below are a couple of my favorite Fresh Off the Boat Vice episodes, along with a lot of book related links.

Right after the book event, my friend and I drove to Flushing and threw down three dinners in a row. First we stopped at Hahm Ji Ban for what was possibly the best Korean BBQ I've ever had. Then we froze our asses off while getting skewers (the good one at 39th and Prince), before stumbling into Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao -- one of the places Eddie Huang visits in his Munchies episode -- for soup dumplings, Chinese churros, sweet soy milk for dipping, and a bowl of noodles. All followed by an ultimate stomach meltdown. Obviously.