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TAKIN’ IT TO THE STREET

On Fear Street of Shadyside, Ohio, the growing up was different — scarier. Enterprising teens were relied upon to catch serial killers on a regular basis, a nighttime babysitting gig meant certain death, and the cute boy taking you on a date was almost always a murderer. R.L. Stine’s pulpy teen horror series, published from 1989 through the early Nineties, was listed by Publishers Weekly as the bestselling young-adult book series of all time. With the nostalgia market peaking, and Stine lighting up social media as a minor Twitter celebrity, it’s no wonder there’s been high demand for a sequel. Last September we got just that with the relaunch of Fear Street, a modern-day reincarnation that’s as wonderfully spooky as the original series despite the characters now having iPads and smartphones. Tonight Stine will talk about the recently dropped second book in the series, Don’t Stay Up Late, his internet comeback, a now-adult fan base, and (we hope!) being played by Jack Black in the upcoming Goosebumps movie. At 7, Book Court, 163 Court Street, Brooklyn, 718-875-3677, bookcourt.com, free.

Sat., April 18, 7 p.m., 2015

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UP TO THE TEST

It starts with the GEPA, then before you know it it’s time to ACT so you can prepare for the PSAT and SAT so that maybe, one day, you can take the GRE, LSAT, or even MCAT. But generally, by this time, all those acronyms just make you want to scream, “Fuck THAT.” Standardized testing is an American phenomenon, and, like the Big Mac or residual fumes off a NASCAR circuit, probably one that’s making us dumber rather than smarter. Education journalist Anya Kamenetz explores why we make our children jump through hoops in The Test. Her new book explains how schools become so obsessed with standardized tests, how private industries commandeered them, how taxpayers fund them, and how parents can find a way around the often stressful and ultimately inaccurate measure of their kid’s aptitude. Tonight she’ll read, sign copies, and conduct a Q&A. Hint: The answer isn’t A, B, C, or D.

Mon., Jan. 12, 7 p.m., 2015

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BOOKED FOR TIME

Playwright Sarah Ruhl is equally deft at depicting onstage the healing properties of a vibrator, the passion of Christ, and why one should or shouldn’t pick up the cell phone of the dead man sitting next to her at a café. In 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write, she changes her medium but keeps her zaniness. Her essays tackle chimpanzees, motherhood, Chekhov, fire alarms, and the future of theater, but we doubt she’ll let her idiosyncratic observations be confined to just those subjects. Ruhl has a gift for extracting heavy existential questions out of the darnedest things, and she surely does so as she reads from this latest volume tonight. Even if Ruhl didn’t have the time to write the essays, there is no doubt they will make her audience laugh, think, and celebrate this modern luminary’s talent.

Mon., Sept. 22, 7 p.m., 2014

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EQUATION FOR HAPPINESS

“A history of happiness is a funny thing since, for a long time, happiness was viewed as merely the absence of history,” write the editors of n+1. “Then came modernity.” Staying true to this observation, which was made almost 10 years ago in their 2005 issue, the editors of n+1 stop by fellow Brooklyn literary institution BookCourt to launch their new anthology, Happiness: Ten Years of n+1. Editors Keith Gessen, Carla Blumenkranz, and Marco Roth, among others, read from the collection and talk about how the fledgling publication that used to pay its writers in beer became what Malcolm Gladwell praises as “the rightful heir to the Partisan Review and The New York Review of Books.” Since n+1 reintroduced us to the intellectually fired spirit of a Viennese coffee house, via thought-provoking articles with titles like “Bed-Stuy: Do or Die?” and “Against Exercise,” a happy celebration is only fair.

Mon., Sept. 15, 7 p.m., 2014

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RECORD DEAL

In Do Not Sell At Any Price, Amanda Petrusich describes approaching a roomful of 78 rpm records “like a chimpanzee devouring a pile of ripe bananas.” Made of shellac and producing 78 revolutions per minute (modern CDs spin 200-460 times per minute), with grooves so large that the discs can only hold 3 minutes of music per side, these rare records were last seen commercially in the mid-1950s. Petrusich, a music critic for the New York Times and Pitchfork, joins fellow 78 collectors Nathan Salsburg and Chris King, as well as the old-timey Strung Out String Band, under the glass ceiling of Brooklyn’s favorite literary greenhouse to celebrate these nearly-extinct artifacts and the eccentrics who hunt them down. Before 1925, artists sang directly into the horns of gramophones in order to record 78s acoustically. 78s recorded before that year have yet to be discovered, but the evening promises a similar intimacy.

Fri., July 11, 7 p.m., 2014

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Adam Wilson

Adam Wilson, author of Flatscreen, reads from his new story collection, What’s Important Is Feeling. The title story, which ran in The Paris Review, was selected for Best American Short Stories 2012. Drinks will be served.

Thu., March 6, 7 p.m., 2014

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A MIGHTY PEN

Well-known for his ink and watercolor drawings of surreal scenarios (a bear smoking a cigarette, a cowboy riding a lion), Canadian-born artist Marcel Dzama has no shortage of hip projects on his résumé. He’s responsible for the cover of Beck’s Guero, collaborations with Dave Eggers at McSweeney’s, and the costume designs in the music video for Bob Dylan’s “When the Deal Goes Down,” to name a few. Most recently, Kim Gordon starred in a short silent film he made for the Toronto Film Festival. Tonight, he comes to BookCourt to sign his new illustrated monograph, Sower of Discord, which includes a pull-out poster, a foreword by Raymond Pettibon, three original short stories by Eggers, and an interview with Dzama by Spike Jonze.

Wed., Nov. 13, 7 p.m., 2013

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GROWING PAINS

With a nearly 30 percent increase in 
reported pregnancies thanks to Hurricane Sandy, there should be more than a few New Yorkers interested in what Drew Magary, a GQ writer and father of three, has to say. Far more entertaining than Dr. Spock, Magary’s new book, Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of 21st-Century Parenthood, reveals his and his wife’s humorous ways of coping (why not get drunk while taking the kids trick-or-treating?), the humiliations they’ve endured (watching their child “defiantly” urinate into a hotel pool), and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Get a taste for his writing on his blog, F.K.S. (Father Knows Shit), and bring questions for him tonight at BookCourt.

Mon., June 3, 7 p.m., 2013

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ELEMENTARY, SCHOOLED

In her book Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes—which is having a launch party tonight at Brooklyn’s BookCourt—psychologist and journalist Maria Konnikova gives us the training we need to think like the world’s foremost consulting detective. Disregarding the cocaine use and incessant violin playing (which she apparently leaves to our own devices), Konnikova shows us how to use Holmes’s metaphorical “brain attic,” and other strategies drawn from Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, to hone our wits and sharpen our observation. Which will certainly come in handy the next time we need to differentiate the deadliest snake in India from a garden-variety speckled band.

Mon., Jan. 7, 7 p.m., 2013

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Selma Dabbagh Reads Out of It at BookCourt Saturday

British Palestinian writer Selma Dabbagh’s debut novel Out of It tells the story of Rashid and Iman, twins from Gaza. While Gaza is being bombed, Rashid learns via email that he’s found his way out of the turmoil: a scholarship at a London university. Meanwhile, his sister Iman looks to solve her own frustration with the city’s political climate by checking out an Islamic resistance group. The tale focuses on the struggles and conflicts that inevitably emerge in these types of situations, and how families and siblings learn to cope with and move through it. Dabbagh, whose previous short story collections have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and International PEN David T.K. Wong Award, reads from Out of It tomorrow at BookCourt at 4:30 p.m.