Wednesday, July 23rd

Homes is where the suburbs are! But first: Empty restaurant tables and Batman on IMAX be damned—get us out of this hellhole! We’re tired of maintaining our pedicure, and to top it off, we smell … funny. Meanwhile, if we have to read one more thing about Megan McCain’s dinner with Heidi Montag (John McCain’s shameless ploy to align himself with skin tone) or The New Yorker’s “brave” Obama cover, we’re moving to Daytona to be a cocktail waitress at the Holiday Inn! Leave it to Joyce Carol Oates to keep the intellectual torch burning here through the long slog of summer, reading from her latest—and, at our count, her 638th—book, My Sister, My Love: The Intimate Story of Skyler Rampike, at the Bryant Park Reading Room. Also, mysteriously bleak novelist and memoirist A. M. Homes appears at Housing Works with fellow writer Darin Strauss. “I think the reading is a conversation about suburbia,” said Ms. Homes, calling from her car. “I’ll be reading from a new book I just did with photographer Bill Owens, which has a story set in a large, unnamed store; it’s so large that it sells coffins, and a man who shops in the store … By the time he finishes shopping, the people in the store have essentially nominated him for president.” (We know, you’ve heard it a million times!) “For some reason people are anti-suburbia,” Ms. Homes continued. “And I think, what is that about? In postwar America the move was from the city to the suburbs, and I think in the 1970s people started to get very turned off, and the first generation that grew up there started to feel like it was kind of claustrophobic and soulless—not me!” Ms. Homes was kind of throwing us off, so we asked her about other books she’s working on: “I am working on a new novel; it’s about these two murderous brothers,” she said. Phew.

[Joyce Carol Oates at Bryant Park Reading Room, 12:30 p.m., http://www.bryantpark.org; A. M. Homes and Darin Strauss in conversation, Housing Works, 126 Crosby Street, 7 p.m., http://www.livefromhome.org/events%5D

mbryan@observer.com

Wednesday, July 23rd