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Drinking stories

Posted by Jan Gardner September 11, 2006 10:11 PM

The second season of the Four Stories reading (and drinking) series at the Enormous Room in Cambridge opened tonight to a full house.

I'd heard that people get turned away at the door because the room fills to capacity (85) even before the readings start. Tonight was no exception.

The theme was tales of exile and home. Chris Castellani read from, as he said, "what might be the first chapter of what might possibly be my third book.'' In his novel-in-progress, the mother of an Italian-American grad student would love him to move closer to home but he knows that's not for him. His life is the life of grad students at second-tier schools who will end up with jobs in regional airport cities "where bitterness will thrive like kudzu.''

Tracy Slater, a writer (and sister of Lauren Slater), has created a literary salon with a few hip twists. A DJ (tonight it was writer Steve Almond) plays records before the evening gets underway and during breaks.

And attendees are invited to write down questions they want to ask the four writers who read each night. Two questions are selected for each writer and the writers of those questions get a free drink.

Tonight the questions were playful and provocative. "What's the best kiss one of your characters ever had?'' Castellani was asked.

In October, the theme is "Driving Solo: Grub Street authors on loneliness and love unrequired.'' The question is: Will misery find company?

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About off the shelf News about books, authors, and publishers from The Boston Globe.
Jim Concannon is editor of the Globe's Books section.
Jan Gardner writes the "Shelf Life" column for the Globe's Books section.

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