Four-day viral infection.

If my life were a “Jeopardy” answer right now, it would be:

The way to get to more attention than you’ve ever had in your entire life.

And the question is:

What is: Get your bike stolen, find it on Craigslist, organize a sting operation, and then write a blog post about it?

(It also helps if you do it on an extremely slow news day in the middle of August.)

Holy crap, was that just a crazy couple of days. All because of a blog post that I wrote to entertain my friends! (Seriously, nobody read this site.) I was in the New York Post. I was on the evening news. Twice! I was linked all over the place, too many places to count, though it was the link from Reddit that put me over the top. But it started by me posting on Twitter and Facebook, and then Maura posted it on Tumblr soon after, and Jen Doll put it up on the Voice, and it just kind of spread from there. It was extremely fascinating to watch it all go down and I found that I could not walk away from my computer. All told, 95,000 people have visited the page in the four days since last Friday, which is more people then have ever visited anything I have written on this blog ever ever ever.

The irony that I have been working my ass off for a decade to fight my way to the middle, while something I wrote in thirty minutes has garnered me this kind of readership (albeit temporary) has not been lost on me.

It has also been extremely awesome to see people write really mean things about me on the internet. Regular readers of this site (which means like, my mom and my college roommate) know that it has always been my philosophy never to publicly respond to criticism of my work because I think it’s pointless and there is no way to do it without sounding like a huge baby. Also it’s what you sign up for when you agree to have your work released by a mainstream publisher. They pay you money for it. It’s called a job. And while the same rule does not necessarily have to apply to big jerks on the internet who have been talking some major trash about me (this is also what happens on an extremely slow news day in the middle of August), I am going to refrain from responding…except to one thing.

Dear People Who Think I’m a Fucking Hipster:


Sign me,
39 in November

Anyway, fame (of the positive or negative variety) is fleeting, especially on the internet, and it’s what you leave behind that matters most in this life. And my legacy is that for just one day I made people happy! That was the best part of it! Oh my goodness, I got so many nice emails from people all over the world. And tweets. And people posted things to my facebook wall. I did not stop smiling all day, so thank you, thank you, thank you, for responding like you did, and I am sending all the love right back to you.

I’ll revise my “Jeopardy” answer:

The most you could want as a writer.

And the question is:

What is: to make people happy with my words?

I’ll end with my favorite email I received:

I just read about how you got your bike back via Facebook, and it made me cry.

I live in Iowa now but lived in Brooklyn for 12 years and was a bike commuter. I loved my Madeline, she was abused some, back tire stolen, seat stolen, but she was a constant companion. I had to sell her at a stoop sale when the frame cracked and some guy bought her for parts. I cried as he drove away.

People in Iowa are always shocked when I pull out my NYC bike lock and lock up my Schwinn and the burley that I tow with my 18-month old. They often comment on my need for security. But I always explain how much I depend on my bike (we are a one car family living in the most urban area of town and walk and bike a lot) and how sad I would be if it was ever stolen.

Congratulations on having great friends and for believing that the NYPD would help you.

I don’t know why it touched me so much, but I could just feel her heart, fresh and human and connected, pounding through my computer screen, and my heart pounded right back at her.


Out now!

Kirkus Reviews gives it a starred review: "A sharp-tongued, sweet-natured masterpiece of Jewish family life." Find more praise from The New York Times, Fresh Air, All Things Considered, The Washington Post and more, right here. Order an autographed copy.
Download book club discussion questions.

And in paperback:

The Melting Season. Watch the trailer, or see coverage from Chicago Tribune, Marie Claire, O, New York Times, and more here. Buy an autographed copy from my favorite local independent bookstore, WORD Brooklyn!

The Kept Man. Watch the trailer, and read reviews from People, Time Out New York, Interview and more right here

Instant Love. Read coverage from O, New York, Daily Candy, and more here.

I am happy to come visit your book club in person or via phone or skype! Email me directly for more info.


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The New York Times
NYTBR: All that We Hold Dear
NYT Mag: The Unlikely Chef
No, I'm the Narrator
A Shelf-Obsessed Writer
One Dark Night in My Neighborhood
An Apartment Affair
Life Lessons from Turning 40

The Hairpin
My History of Being Fat

Wall Street Journal
Fictional Foods: No Empty Calories
My Election Day

The Forward
A Chat with My Dad about Delicatessen

The Week
My 6 Favorite Books with Overweight Protagonists

Publishers Weekly
The Most Dysfunctional Families in Literature

Largehearted Boy
Book Notes: The Middlesteins
On the Men We Meet, and What Their Music Means to Us
Antiheroines: MK Reed
Antiheroines: Lisa Hanawalt
Antiheroines: Ellen Forney
Antiheroines: Emily Flake
Antiheroines: Vanessa Davis
Antiheroines: Julia Wertz
Antiheroines: Gabrielle Bell
Antiheroines: Sarah Glidden
Book Notes: The Kept Man
Ryan from Hallelujah the Hills Interviews Me
I Interview Ryan from Hallelujah the Hills
Book Notes: Instant Love

Jewish Book Council
Different, but Special

The Rumpus
Where I've Laid My Head
How To Write a Book in Two Months: The Rumpus Interview with Cole Stryker
The Fates Will Find Their Way Review
The Rumpus Interview with David Goodwillie and Teddy Wayne
The Rumpus Interview with Kate Christensen
The Last Book I Loved: Everything Matters!

Hit me with your vest shot
How I helped rescue the OWS library
Books you can dance to
Tracy Morgan cries for his mom -- and we cry, too

Poets & Writers
How to Use Tumblr to Connect with Readers (print only)

Lauren Groff Profile
Pizza Island Profile
The Rise of Small Presses
Wesley Stace Profile

Patrick Somerville Interview
Lauren Groff Interview
Nathan Englander Interview
Ellis Avery Interview
Elissa Schappell Interview
Kate Christensen Interview
Heather Havrilesky Interview
Julie Klam Interview
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Maile Meloy Interview
Martha McPhee Interview

Village Voice
The 10 Best Things From 2011 To Listen To While Writing, According To Actual Authors

The Millions
A Year in Reading

How to Hunt for Architectural Salvage with the Designers of Spritzenhaus
Peter Loughrey Interview

No Baby Next Door, Please

Essay: Crossroads

The Awl
Flicked Off: In Which Two Ladies Do Yoga Then See 'Eat Pray Love'

Book Forum
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Five Chapters
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Double X
Schrödinger's Cake

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The One Time I Needed Planned Parenthood
Big Book News #4
The Complete Story of How My Bike Got Stolen, How I Found it on Craigslist, and How I Got it Back
Mountain Backdrop: White Sands Missile Park
Big Book News #3
On Outlining Books
Advance Praise for The Kept Man
Shaving Jonny
The Big Book News #2
Artsy and Fartsy go to Coney Island
Blurry Pictures of Girls with Mustaches
Key Names from Instant Love
How Did I Miss the Hook?
Two Days in May
The Big Book News
Idiotarod 2005
Kiss Me on the Bus
Ronald Protests the RNC
Existential Crap
Happy Hour
Taco Hell
Idiotarod 2004: Race, Rest, Finish
Behave, Boys. Behave
26 Pics of People Kissing
All About George
September 11, 2001
My Imaginary Assistant Amanda

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