Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum (But Don’t Spill it on Me Book): Sara Levine’s Treasure Island!!!
If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.
1. Happy buccaneers milling around the rum punch. 2. Sara Levine in the swashbuckling act of READING!
Way to go for WORD of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Last night’s Treasure Island!!! event kicked off the month of February with rum, adventure, and the American sensibility of self-improvement! And yes, that’s Treasure Island with three exclamation points — author Sara Levine’s editor wouldn’t have it any other way.
1. Jason Diamond and Sara Levine during the Q&A. 2. The mutineering crowd during the publishers’ introduction.
WORD is a bright, cozy, and popular place. The colorful walls and hum of activity in the air put me in mind of a hip, lively living room party. Plus the rum — the rum definitely helped. The crowd sipped and listened to the travails of the unnamed narrator of Treasure Island!!!. Sara Levine was funny, as was her material — — full, as it was, of “Boldness! Resolution! Independence!” and “Horn-blowing!” And based, as it was, on “A classic. Gold letters said so right on the cover.” The book’s narrator, much like Ben Franklin, is hell-bent on good old American self-improvement, yielding mixed — but funny — results.
After we learned, to our disappointment, that modern-day aspiring pirates may not have the cleanest psychological bills of health (Long John Silver never had therapists to go through, one after another, unlike our narrator), it was time for a little Q & A with Jason Diamond (of Vol.1 Brooklyn). The questions bounced from adventure, to gender, to the fragility of American suburbia, and back.
Levine also explained the origins of her modern day yearning-for-adventure tale: “[Robert Louis] Stevenson wanted to make things easy for himself so he said, ‘I’m gonna write a book without psychology and without women.’ I decided to write a book with psychology and women.”
1. Between the Covers: A matchmaking service for book lovers. 2. The welcoming and pretty bookstore that is WORD.
Signed copies were available afterwards, along with temporary tattoos proclaiming Steer the Boat!, though the environment and subject matter of the night were just about hip enough to warrant a permanent tattoo artist rendering services on board.
Returning up the stairs from the galley, I was met once again by the cheerful vibe of the bookstore. Good books abound in the shelves, complete with employee reviews, as is common to bookstores. Unique to WORD, however, was their ingenious “Between the Covers” bulletin.
Whatever your romantic or literary preferences may be, you are invited to post them at this local bookstore — in the hopes of finding a soulmate. No pictures grace the bulletin board, but then you can’t judge a book by its cover.
1. Sara Levine beaming with the true treasure: literature.
Judging Levine’s Treasure Island!!! by its title, I would expect a rip-roaring adventure similar to the original tale. But as Levine says, “The story is not about physical adventure. It’s about what it means to live an adventurous life.”
About this, the audience was clearly excited. As for myself, all I can say is: Ahoy!
Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine
— Emma Rock is a Brooklynite writer, student, and sketch-comedy-radio personality. Her work has previously appeared scribbled on subway ads and bathroom stalls. You can hear her on WBCR Brooklyn College Radio every Monday from 4–5 on Vernaculus.