Bridgehampton author and editor Taylor Plimpton is reading from the 2009 anthology The Dreaded Feast: Writers on Enduring the Holidays at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor on Saturday.
Edited and compiled by Plimpton and Michele Clarke (formerly of The Paris Review), the anthology collects darkly humorous essays , short stories and poems that poke fun at the holidays, while also helping readers survive them. It features pieces by an all-star list of writers, including Hunter S. Thompson, Calvin Trillin, Charles Bukowski, Augusten Burroughs, Charles Simic, David Sedaris, Billy Collins and Hamptons locals John Waters, Jay McInerney and Plimpton’s late father, the author and journalist George Plimpton.
“It’s almost a relief to read about other people’s misery,” Plimpton said, describing what makes the book so enjoyable, especially during the holidays. He said The Dreaded Feast is a “more reality based” look at the holidays, though the content is funny, not gloomy.
“It’s such a great idea,” Plimpton added, explaining that Clarke, his co-editor, came up with the concept for the book, but he was responsible for choosing the pieces and putting them in the right order so everything flowed properly. “The not-fun part was getting the rights,” he said, recalling the difficulty of compiling such an illustrious list of talent, both alive and dead.
This is the author’s third reading at Canio’s, which he called a great independent bookstore. “They are so supportive of the local literary community,” he said.
Plimpton, who now works as a freelance writer and editor, is author of Notes from the Night: a Life After Dark, his 2010 memoir of the New York City nightclub scene published by Broadway Books. He was an editor at Men’s Journal, where he wrote book reviews, travel articles and features. He is currently at work on a memoir about his relationship with his father, George Plimpton, who died suddenly in 2003.
Plimpton said he is currently in discussions with a filmmaker interested in the rights to Notes from the Night.