The problem with literary events is that they're rarely, well, events: After all, it's hard to think of an activity any more inherently flat than sitting in a room and listening to some author on the umpteenth leg of his book tour read aloud. That's what veteran local bookseller Joe Christiano thought, too, and he decided to do something about it. Enter First Person Singular, a more-or-less-monthly literary event that uses staged readings, live music, and more to shake up the timeworn lit-event format — and change the definition of what's "literature" in the process. February's iteration featured Sixties girl-group songs reinterpreted as cultural artifacts and performed in the style of a classical recital; the March event spotlighted four local professional actors performing monologues from all ten plays in August Wilson's Century Cycle. Other First Person Singular events have highlighted the letters of Flannery O'Connor, baseball stories, and Warren Zevon songs, "spoken, sung, and howled" — all to standing-room-only crowds, by the way. It's a literary event with the energy and immediacy of a stage play or a rock concert, created by and for people who refuse to believe that literature should ever be boring.
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