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Eat and Drink

‘Sour Heart’ author Jenny Zhang to participate in literary dinner series

The three-course vegetarian Chinese menu is by chef Diane Chang of Po-Po’s.

"Sour Heart" author Jenny Zhang will join Reads' next literary dinner on March 4. Photo Credit: Lenny / Courtesy Jenny Zhang

Reads may be an online business, but the book subscription service is all about building an offline community.

That might mean picking a book for its monthly curated box that ties to an NYC art exhibit, or hosting dinners with authors.

“We’re such people people,” co-founder Rachael Yaeger said. “Our business is a digital one, but we love people, so we definitely needed to do something offline.”

Reads held its first literary dinner in November at Sisters in Chinatown, with Durga Chew-Bose, author of “Too Much and Not the Mood,” and a vegetarian and gluten-free menu by Ali Francis of Baking Supply Co.

Bibliophiles and foodies can now book a seat at its next dinner, co-hosted with Stet Magazine on March 4 with “Sour Heart” author Jenny Zhang, who just won the Pen/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction.

Chef Diane Chang of the catering business Po-Po’s is creating a three-course, vegetarian menu that’s a “hybrid of things I love to eat along with classic Chinese flavors,” Chang said, from scallion pancakes to a blue corn-polenta congee to a black sesame coconut cream dessert. The flavors are also inspired by the book’s title.

“‘Sour’ is such a profound ‘taste’ in Chinese cuisine — especially when paired with other tastes like sweet or spicy,” Chang said. “Just sweet or just spicy or salty would be less impactful than when there is a hint of sour. So with that being said — there will be pickles served.”

The intimate, 30-seat dinner will feature a reading and Q&A with Zhang.

“We think it will be really fun and casual and chill,” Reads co-founder Emma Stevenson said.

Reads hopes to do several literary dinners a year, in between other events like retreats and cocktail hours.

“We’re very excited about growing Reads, and we love collaborating with others,” Yaeger said. “I’m sure we’ll keep thinking of other fun things.”


Reads and Stet’s literary dinner with Jenny Zhang is March 4 from 6-9 p.m. | Magick City, 37 Box St., Greenpoint | Tickets $100 (includes three-course dinner, cocktails and a copy of “Sour Heart”) at

More bookish fare

For other events that blend the literary with the culinary, check out:

BAMcafé’s Eat, Drink & Be Literary

This regular series brings together writers and book lovers for a meal, reading and discussion. This year’s program has Hari Kunzru (March 13), Valeria Luiselli (March 27), Kevin Young (April 17) and Lorrie Moore (May 8). $65; 30 Lafayette Ave., Fort Greene,


Cookbooks — and books about food in general — are the focus of this bookstore with an on-site café. The calendar often features dinners and tastings with a Sicilian bent by owner Paige Lipari, such as an upcoming night devoted to the dish timballo (March 1). 160 Huron St., Greenpoint,

Food Book Fair

This “festival of writing about eating” launched in 2012, with talks, dinners, screenings and more that explore food media, from cookbooks to TV. Updates at

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