The Good Life  
Jay McInerney
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On reading for a hometown audience including an ex-girlfriend and the age-old comparison of Jay to Bret Easton Ellis

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Hi, Jay here, I'm back in New York. I just returned from Miami, where I did a reading at < a href="" target= "new">Books and Books, which is this really great independent store down there. A lot of independent stores are withering away. Mitch Kaplan, who it turns out has been in the book business exactly as long as I have, the first book he really remembers selling is Bright Lights, Big City in 1984, so it was great to go back there. It was a good crowd, this was in Coral Gables, also the questions were really good. A lot of people wanted to know about Brightness Falls, which is my 1992 novel, which was the predecessor to this one, The Good Life. I was sort of pleased that there were a lot of Brightness Falls fans out there. And we sold a lot of those, too, I think.

The night before I was in New York, I was reading at Barnes & Noble and I hate reading in New York because it's the hometown audience and New Yorkers are so jaded and they have so many things to do on any given night that I was utterly convinced that I would show up and there would be no one there and I would be humiliated. That's the standard author nightmare, equivalent to standing up in front of the class and discovering you're naked. But anyway, I trudged off, sort of unwillingly, actually trudged up the street to the Barnes & Noble at Union Square. It's only about five blocks from my apartment and I was quite relieved to see a lot of people there. They told me 250-300 people.

It seems that the hometown audience isn't quite as jaded as I thought. A lot of my friends were there, old girlfriends, people I hadn't seen in years. Including my old girlfriend Jeanine, to whom The Good Life is dedicated. She actually showed up late so therefore she missed the remarks about her. Jeanine was actually the first person to call me on the morning of September 11 and tell me to turn on my TV although I was already watching riveted out the window because I had a great view of the World Trade Center at that time. But anyway, I dedicated the book to her in part because she lived through the writing of it and in part because we got back together on September 11, 2001. And there she was.

I thought the reading was great, questions were great, I signed books for about an hour and then later I met Jeanine around the corner for a drink at Gramercy Tavern. I told her how relieved I was and how great the crowd was and she said, "Yeah, well you didn't have as many people as Bret Easton Ellis did. But not bad."

So apparently I'm not as successful as I thought. My friend Bret got a bigger crowd and there's always something to feel bad about. Anyway, I hope my next reading is at least as much of a success. I'm off to the west coast. So, if you can't come out, tune into my podcast next week.

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