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We’re proud, in this week’s issue, to unveil our first installment of V Lit, a new special supplement to The Villager and the East Villager newspapers.
Why did we do it?
For starters, amid the never-ending pressures of the news cycle, a number of author interviews and book reviews we had done were starting to pile up — and, of course, more were only steadily coming in. It seemed like a good idea to take a moment, take some of these and put them all into one section.
But more to the point, as one Villager subscriber told us, encouraging us to do the section, “Villager readers are readers,” as in people who love newspapers, books, literature in general. And, of course, there are few places on Earth as renowned for inspiring writers and being a home to writers — and artists of all kinds, and art in general — as Downtown Manhattan.
So, all in all, it just seemed like a good idea.
Is the selection of books and authors featured in this section as inclusive and representative of the area’s rich diversity as it could be? No, it’s not. However, in its own imperfect and flawed way, it came about organically.
Some of these books, like John Strausbaugh’s “The Village,” were major releases that have — justifiably — received glowing reviews in the national press. It was fitting that the legendary Jerry Tallmer, a founding editor of the Village Voice, and himself a living part of the Village’s history, review Strausbaugh’s epic book.
And Lucas Mann, a former Villager intern, is now emerging into “a league of his own,” with a new nonfiction work on a Midwestern minor league baseball team. It seems that he’s become a “player.”
In other cases, an Unbearable casually slipped us his latest volume of poetry in a community garden, or we chanced to hear an author giving a reading of her new book on squatting at MORUS (the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space), or a local musician / writer told us at MORUS’s opening party that he had penned a new rock-and-roll novel, or we chanced upon a cool new comic book shop on Carmine St., or readers pitched us their latest book, or a review of a friend’s new work. …
Somehow, it all came together, and fairly ad hoc, in a short amount of time.
If we do another edition of V Lit, we will strive to ensure that it is even more inclusive of the people and the neighborhoods that make up Downtown Manhattan.
On another note, V Lit has taken “artistic license,” so to speak, by retaining (as in, not censoring) some of the authors’, let’s say, “colorful” language, be it in their writing or their interviews. We hope readers are not offended. Again, this seemed to be in the spirit of creativity and free expression — though would normally be edited in our regular news pages.
For now, we hope you enjoy this first installment of V Lit.