Book Parties No Longer Dead, Just Bloated


By Neal Comment

I’m the first to admit I’m not all that attentive to the fashion and style thing, so it wasn’t until somebody asked me why I hadn’t written about Alex Kuczynski‘s skeptical look at literary megaparties in last Sunday’s NYT style supplement that I even knew the article existed. Unlike Rachel Donadio, who filed a death notice for the book party back in April 2006, Kuczynski recounts all the soirees she’s been to that were “so huge and elaborate that you might think you were at a wedding.”

Of course, even while spinning in the opposite direction, she hits the same James Atlas essay for the New Yorker Donadio did; you can’t write a piece about book parties without acknowledging its existence. After that, it’s all “you should’ve been at Elaine’s, back when we were all poor but we could smoke in bars, so we were happy, and now we have parties in rich people’s apartments, and that’s pretty sweet, too.” Basically, my one takeaway from this article was that I need to be doing more outreach, because I wasn’t at any of the fancy parties Kuczynski writes about, and I’m not exactly a wallflower. “I had a book party last year at 21 Club,” she confides halfway through her spiel, “and I paid for it, and it sure was expensive, and only about 90 people came, and no one wrote a single peep about it.” I would’ve, honest!