Saturday, January 26, 2013

Writers Wax on About Savored Reads in Web Series

The other night, I came across a short program on TV. In it, Michael Showalter, comedian, actor and author of the memoir Mr. Funny Pants, sat in what appeared to be his apartment discussing his favorite books. Being a fan of Showalter, I sat amused as he, with his dry wit, highlighted the merits of works by Stephen King.

Michael Showalter praises Stephen King on Stacked Up. 
Image via
The program was Stacked Up, a web-based video series in which authors are asked about what's on their bookshelves. Its creator is Jill Bauerle, a multimedia journalist and self-described "bookophile" who resides in Brooklyn. In an interview with WNYC, Bauerle said that while conversing with friends over cocktails, "the idea spun off to how much you can learn about a person from his or her book collection, and how much fun it would be to talk to authors about books." She and her friends, Jennifer Katz and Maya Rossi, liked "the idea of treating writers like rock stars, and going into their homes to interview them also appealed to us." So, in the fall of 2009, the series Stacked Up made its debut on the Internet.

Since the premier episode, Bauerle and Co. - and us, the viewers - have seen the bookshelves of writers ranging from Susan Orlean to Amanda Stern to Michael Showalter. In each episode, the writers, situated in the familiarity of their home turf, comfortably talk about their choice reads. In a recent installment, Stacked Up stops by the apartment of Robin Shulman, whose 2012 book, Eat the City, I just read. After posing with Eat the City, which traces the history of food production in New York, Shulman reveals her love of memoirs and then points out some of her favorite books, including Low Life by Luc Sante, Harvey Wang's New York by Harvey Wang, and Gotham by Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace.

Last January, Stacked Up made the leap from the Internet to television, airing in New York City on Channel 25. Although it tends to come on late, usually 10 PM or later, it's totally worth staying up for. Brightly filmed and upbeat in tone, each episode of Stacked Up is entertaining and insightful, and the writers who are interviewed are at their warmest and most clever as they, with passion and humor, prattle on about the books on their shelves. 

To find showtimes for Stacked Up, or to watch the series online, go to THIS LINK.

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