The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop Reading


Last night, Brooklyn’s own BookCourt Bookstore, located sensibly on Court Street, hosted the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop’s bimonthly reading. Sackett Street founder Julia Fierro and small group of writers guided us on an intimate trip through the land of memory, while the audience lounged in the comfortably-lit and intellectually stimulating ambience of BookCourt’s spacious reading room, sipping their red wine.

Julia’s husband Justin Feinstein opened up the night with his memoirs of his slow initiation into the mindset of the Berklee College of Music.

1. The audience, experiencing zen-like appreciation of literature. 2. Justin Feinstein.

He had a promising start — getting high and exhibiting the “lack of focus common to Berklee students.” But as the tale continued, the self-imposed isolation of a competitive environment took its toll: “our musical narcissism trumped any real friendship,” though together, Feinstein and his roommates at least “smoked or drank away the day’s insecurities.”

From exploring the day-to-day psyche of the ivy-level musician, we moved next to Aimee Phan’s tale of familial memory. There were two excerpts, one for each of the grandmothers in Phan’s new book, The Reeducation of Cherry Truong. We began with the life of the silent grandmother, who kept quiet about her husband’s affairs, and “tried to smile as little as possible” after scaring a French child with her black-lacquered teeth. By contrast, grandmother number two was a woman of such tremendous volume that she single-handedly drove off a band of raggedly Thai pirates with her formidable sound.

1. Aimee Phan. 2. Jennifer Miller and Maura Kelly.

On we went to lighter stuff, with a teaser from Maura Kelly’s new book, Much Ado About Loving, which touched on the well-known failings of Internet dating. Then Jennifer Miller presented us with the results of nemesis-dating — agreeing to a date with one’s high school enemy, out of baffled curiosity — from her book, The Year of the Gadfly.

1. Book raffle! 2. Audience member Kristin soaking in the words.

The evening was brought to a joyful close with the free raffling-off of books from the authors. This humble reporter will have to finagle a few more raffle tickets next time.

Altogether, a comfy Sackett Street family reading.

1. Julia Fierro with husband Justin, 2. … and with Leah Umansky.


— Emma Rock is a Brooklyn College undergraduate majoring in film and English.

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