Hoboken has several events each year for artists and musicians, but where do you go to support your local writers?
Once a year, the city's literati set up in the Shannon Lounge at 106 First St. to sign and sell their books. This year's event, which coincides with the city's crafts fair, will occur from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Among the local scribes will be Jeff Somers, 31, first profiled in the Current two years ago, who just saw the release of his second book this past spring.
The prolific author's self-consciously self-promoting (and funny) web zine, The Inner Swine, can be found at www.innerswine.com. In the zine, the Jersey City native plumbs his quirks, complains about everyone else's, critiques friends' weddings, and shares his deadpan views of life, managing to do it in a self-deprecating enough style that you permit the transgression into self-promotion. The things that tick off Somers' "inner swine" offend us, too, during the moments when we're self-aware enough to perceive the trespasses. Like Eminem, there's a little Jeff Somers in all of us - which is probably what "the Inner Swine" is about.
But what are the actual books about?
Somers' first book, "Lifers," (Creative Arts Books, 2001) chronicles the lives of three Gen-Xers who plan to rob the publishing company that one of them works for. "Lifers" is a novel, but Somers' newer book is mostly non-fiction. "The Freaks Are Winning/The Inner Swine Collection" is a compendium of Somers' essays, arcana and short stories from the eight-plus years that he's been laboring on the Inner Swine, both on the web and as a tangible zine.
"These friendly folks," Somers writes in one tongue-in-cheek essay on people who abuse e-mail, "believe in free speech and work overtime to make it even more free than it already is. Every scrap of correspondence they generate is carbon copied to everyone they know. If you ask them a question, it comes back with 55 names attached to the 'TO' line."
Somers, who graduated from St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City and attended Rutgers University, is no slouch. His short stories have appeared in the Portland Review, and "Lifers" managed to generate a capsule review in the New York Times Book Review.
"The Freaks Are Winning" can be purchased at Tower Records in New York and New Jersey, in addition to Amazon.com.
Somers says that he will likely not be there all eight hours, but plans to stop in for the last few.
Other authors who will appear Dec. 8 include the Hudson Reporter's political columnist and reporter, Al Sullivan, who published a 2001 compendium of newspaper profiles, Everyday People (Rutgers University Press).
Also signing will be Oprah Magazine Articles Editor Dawn Raffel, whose first novel, Carrying the Body, was published this year to critical acclaim.
Other authors appearing include: Ona Gilbert (Starfish Summer), Gonca Esendemir (Flying With Broken Wings, a Poetic Journey), Jack Silbert (The Christmas Aliens), Paul Paradise (Trademark and Counterfeiting), Santiago Cohen (The Fifth Name), Phil and Jan Huling (Puss in Cowboy Boots), Jane Isenberg (The Bel Barrett Mystery Series), Barry McNamera (Keys to Dealing with Bullies), Ilise Benun (Self Promotion Online), Joachim Horvitz (Big Book of Jewish Baseball), Iseult Devlin (Winter Sports: A Woman's Guide), and Francis McCall and Patricia Keeler (A Huge Hog is a Big Pig).
The crafts market will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at City Hall and at the Shannon Lounge. For more information, call (201) 420-2207. q