The naked and the read

Wear a tuxedo. Wear jeans. Wear a formal gown. Wear a house dress. In other words, come as you are. Maybe even arrive, um, unclothed.

There’s no way there will be a dress code on Saturday, May 14, at my friend Steven Hart’s Nighthawk Books in Highland Park, New Jersey, when another friend — novelist Bathsheba Monk — reads from her newly published novel, Nude Walker.

Bathsheba Monk

Steve promises live musical entertainment, starting at about 2 p.m., followed by Bathsheba’s reading at 3 p.m. Copies of the novel will be available for purchase, as well as copies of B. Monk’s first book, Now You See It: Tales from Cokesville, a wonderful collection of linked short stories set in Pennsylvania coal country. After the reading, Bathsheba will gladly sign copies of her books.

Bathsheba’s a wonderful stylist and a witty storyteller. The characters in Nude Walker are colorful and engaging. And the novel’s theme, plot and setting are gratifyingly ambitious, with a story that ranges from an U.S. military base in Afghanistan to a left-for-dead Pennsylvania coal country town where foreign-born entrepreneurs and economic outcasts are the new “locals.”

It’s a really good book (which will someday also make a really good movie). Bathsheba Monk’s a really good writer and a really good reader. And you’ll have a really good time – so, on May 14, walk or run, dressed or not, to Nighthawk Books in Highland Park, N.J.


Bare essential

Dare I say it’s going to be a literary sensation…no ifs, ands or BUTTS…? My friend Bathsheba Monk’s first novel — NUDE WALKER, published by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux and edited by Sarah Crichton – is already earning rave reviews…and it isn’t even in the bookstores yet…

Visit Bathsheba’s website – – to read the advance reviews, to read her delightfully intelligent and amusing blog postings, to hear her radio interviews and chats…AND to place an advance order for NUDE WALKER!

Bathsheba’s an astounding writer. While you’re at it, why not order her wonderful first book, a collection of linked short stories titled NOW YOU SEE IT…STORIES FROM COKESVILLE.

Here’s a bonus. A Youtube video of Bathsheba’s first public reading of excerpts from the novel…

Forewarned is forearmed?

You decide after you read friend Bathsheba Monk’s essay “My New Gun” in the March 1, 2009 edition of the New York Times Magazine —
yes, indeed, Bathsheba makes her second appearance on the back page with an essay in the “Lives” series in which she talks about deciding to buy a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum — partly in response to a rash of break-ins in her neck of the Pennsylvania woods but also out of  fear that the financial apocalypse, the continuing series of calamities that makes it feel like Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve might actually have changed his name from Ben Beelzebub and that any minute now a pale rider on a pale horse will be spotted galloping down Pennsylvania Avenue toward Capitol Hill.

Me, I’d never buy a gun. Ever. I’d run. I’d hide. I’d give them all my money. There’s no way in the world that I could ever shoot someone.

But Bathsheba’s an intelligent, articulate, reasonable person  – -her essay’s not going to send me running to the nearest gun shop but it certainly got me thinking about what kind of world this must be if  B. Monk, who I’d wager subscribes to the theory that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, neverthless feel compelled to choose both the pen and the sword — or, more specifically, both a computer keyboard and  a .357 Magnum.

Here’s a link to Bathsheba’s essay in Sunday’s Times:

Here’s a link to her earlier “Lives” essay, “Coal Miner’s Daughter” —

And here’s a link to her great blog, Bathsheba Monk Explains Everything: