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1. Stephanie Meyers, who works for Harper Perennial and was an editor for Great Philosophers Who Failed At Love, Erica Barmash, who works in marketing at Harper Perennial, & Carrie Howland, who is Simon Van Booy’s agent. 2. Poet and philosophy enthusiast Todd Colby, with Cousin Corrines’s Reminder, in which you can read his poetry.
Keeping in line with the upcoming romantic holiday, as well as the recent publication of Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love, Book Court hosted a discussion-slash-reading last night on — you guessed it! — great philosophers who failed at love. The event featured the author of the book, Andrew Shaffer, as well as poet Todd Colby, and writer Simon Van Booy. (Apparently only white men know anything about philosophy and/or failing at love.)
The evening began with each of the writers reading a bit of their work. Van Booy read a section which dealt with the steps leading up to sex in humans from a scientific perspective, written by Desmond Morris and excerpted in Why We Need Love, which is edited by Van Booy. Can I tell you now that Van Booy is seriously dreamy? Hearing him read, in his sexy British accent, about the processes of courtship and seduction verged on the sublime. (J Depp face + intelligent brown eyes + talented and romantic writer soul/mind) x tragic past = #1 WILF in the Universe. Even my straight male date said that he was afraid to go up and talk to Van Booy after the reading, worried he might accidentally grab Van Booy’s handsome face and make out with him.
1. Simon Van Booy & Andrew Shaffer, in front of the Wheel of Philosophy (and Bieber). 2. Kyra Shapurji, who writes for Inc. Magazine, and Nicole Anderson, who is a freelance writer. They love Simon and have read all of his work.
Shaffer read his chapter about St. Augustine, explaining first that being “a lover of wisdom” and being “wise at love” are two very different things. Augustine’s suckage at love involved a ten-year-old girl, and ended with his becoming celibate.
Colby read some of his more romantically-themed poetry, the majority of which I heard at the reading for Cousin Corrine’s Reminder, but his poetry is good enough that I enjoyed hearing it a second time. Sadly, it was too cold for him to wear a bandanna.
1. Writer Jonas Moody & contemporary art curator Andrea Hill. 2. Yumeko Jenkins, who works in product design. When asked an ethics question about playing Dungeons and Dragons, Jenkins said she would play the game, but only because she is from Arkansas and the people there would think that D&D is some sort of Satan worship, and she would do it to spite them.
The Q&A portion was next, and the authors fielded Qs like, “What was Hegel’s problem?” A: Don’t fuck your landlord’s wife. Also, it is worth mentioning that Colby seemed to know more about Hegel’s lovelife, even though Shaffer was the one who had written a book on such things. Although Shaffer did clearly remember Rousseau’s problem, which was having five illegitimate children with the same woman, and then giving them all up for adoption. Somehow we got on the topic of castration, and Van Booy became even WILFier by telling us about his Greek college roommate whose greatest fear was castration. This roommate would do things like bring a rabbit home, and then make it for dinner, cooking it in a pot and getting blood everywhere. All this roommate did (besides occasionally cooking rabbit) was smoke and watch porn, which really inspired Van Booy because the roommate was so generous and welcoming to everyone. And possibly, and this is speculative, because the roommate was covered in blood and semen, which is truly a fluid combination that inspires deep affection and admiration in the hearts of men.
Finally, we played Wheel of Philosophy. Audience members were selected from the crowd by raffle tickets, and they had to spin the wheel and then answer the corresponding question, which generally had to do with ethics but occasionally had to do with Justin Bieber.
–Julia Jackson is working on her MFA in fiction at Brooklyn College, and is a regular contributor for Electric Dish.