Every year, there's room for one or two "next big things" in the literary world. Wells Tower has already reserved his spot for 2009. A recent issue of Poets & Writers had a feature on him, and all the folks from Farrar, Straus and Giroux at his book launch seemed smitten with his short-story collection Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned. And meeting Wells in person, you can't help but be overcome by his sweet demeanor and good humor. Plus, he's got an awesome name. I dare you to say it without adding a little James Bond inflection to it.
Also, I finally discovered the difference between a reading and a book launch. At a reading, someone reads, and nobody gets drunk. At a book launch, nobody reads, and everybody gets drunk. While the former is more intellectually satisfying, the latter is more physically satisfying. A little bird told me that FSG has permanently banned the presence of Crisco from its book launches.
So at Moe's in Brooklyn (replete with a portrait of Moe from The Simpsons, natch), we revellers enjoyed free Mediterreanean food -- a full-on dolma feeding frenzy -- bathed in atmospheric red light. While I sat in a row of dislocated fold-down theater seats and jealously guarded the tapanade, Mr. Towers circled the room and charmed the heck out of people. Cheers!