Brooklyn

The Thought House of Philippa by Suzanne Leblanc

The Thought House of Philippa by Suzanne Leblanc

In a world where stimulation from one's outer environment exponentiates over time, it should only be expected that one's reactions and perceptions to this external stimuli dramatically increases as well. From casual encounters to in-depth conversations, the heightened awareness that is cultivated by society's complexities easily has the ability to not only allow one to become incredibly mindful of these happenings, but also to deeply experience each and every one of them individually and as a whole. In a way, it becomes some sort of a skewed balancing act—the more you face on a daily basis, the more you are able, or unable, to take in. The mind acts as a filter, delicately picking apart each extremity, delight, sorrow, and so on, choosing from the subconscious what the mind will become sensitive to—and sometimes the mind becomes hypersensitive to all. Even when the impetus has been drastically reduced, however, the mind can still remain in this overly observant state. This is the situation at hand for Philippa, the central voice of Suzanne Leblanc's book appropriately titled The Thought House of Philippa.  

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Vermin on the Mount

Vermin on the Mount

Brooklyn-based author Jami Attenberg has long hosted sunset author readings in her South Williamsburg apartment. And she's met many of those authors on the road while promoting her own work—highlighted by 2013 best-selling novel, The Middlesteins. Among them, Jim Ruland, whose "Vermin on the Mount" (VOTM) reading series recently paid a visit to Attenberg's place. The name derives from its origins a decade back at the now-closed Mountain Bar in Los Angeles's Chinatown. Frustrated by what he saw as a lack of a literary scene in Los Angeles—or at least, a disconnected provincial one—Ruland tells me he started VOTM as a way to bring together "novelists, bloggers, punk rockers, essayists, journalists, poets, people with a brown bag and something to say." The setting was an irreverent alternative to more staid reading environs of bookstores and auditoriums. Currently operating out of the Nomad Art Compound in Frogtown, VOTM also has a branch at 3rdspace in University Heights, San Diego—near the setting for Ruland's debut novel, Forest of Fortune. He read an excerpt from that piece, set at an Indian casino reminiscent of the one Ruland worked at for five years. 

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