December 12th at the Cornelia Street Cafe will, if memory serves, mark my thirteenth appearance there in the last seven years. I get great joy out of these readings, and my audiences seem to go away happy as well. So I hope everyone who reads this post will join me for the fun!

Just to be clear: the date is Thursday, December 12th, and the venue is the venerable Cornelia Street Cafe, 29 Cornelia Street, just west of Sixth Avenue between Bleecker Street and West 4th. The time is from 6 to 7:30 pm and the entry fee is $8, which will also entitle you to a glass of wine.

I’ll be reading both from my recently completed novel Problems of Translation and — as I often do — from even newer work, this time a short story in progress. I’m very proud of both. As some of you may already know, the great Ben Fountain (National Book Critic’s Circle Award for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk) once called my writing, “swift, profound and exciting . . . laced with humor and a heartfelt passion.” I’ll take praise like that any day of the week!

If you’ve been to an earlier reading, you probably know that Problems is my comic adventure novel about Charles Abel Baker, who travels the world trying to get one of his short stories translated into ten different languages before being returned to English. Charlie lands in trouble in almost every country he visits. One of the last episodes I read saw him in the clutches of a drug cartel in Mexico! Perhaps I’ll give you a clue on Dec. 12 as to how (or whether!) he manages to get away. As for the short story, well . . . you’ll have to show up to see what that’s all about.

But there’s more! I’ll be joined on the 12th by a poet named Charlie Bondhus, whose poetry I’m really looking forward to hearing. The evening will be a first for Charlie — his first time reading at Cornelia Street — but he’s certainly no neophyte when it comes to gathering awards: the Brickhouse Books Stonewall Award, the Blue Light Press First Book Award, Main Street Rag’s Annual Poetry Book Award, to name only some. Major poet Carolyn Forche called All the Heat We Could Carry “a rare, brilliant, and necessary book.” So it stacks up to be an exciting evening.  Visit Cornelia’s website (www.corneliastreetcafe.com) for greater detail, including pictures of both Charlie and myself.

I look forward to meeting you all there on the 12th. Remember!  Keep your expectations high; it’s up to us to meet them!

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