b'home with Lasner, since he\'s a bit of anThis one, due next February, will be LIVE AT NIGHT PRESENTS accidental publisher.part of their ongoing series about fa-Both Erens and Lasner were litera- vorite books. Erens chose George El-The Dizzy Gillespieture majors in college and both thoughtiots Middlemarch. The subject seems AfroLatin Experience about becoming academics, but even- more in keeping with Erens personal-tually opted for careers that felt moreity. She is an author who lives a lot in WITH GRAMMY WINNERSconnected to the world. Though Erensher head (Stuff just floats through, JOHN LEE AND PAQUITO DRIVERA wanted to be a writer from at least ageshe says), takes inspiration from other 6 (after briefly considering careers aswriters,andfindsanswersinplaces HOSTED BY BOBBY SANABRIA apianistoraballerina,thoughnotmany would not think to look. FROM particularly adept at either), she was aHer most recent adult novel, Eleven longtime magazine editor. And Lasner,Hours,forexample,wasinspiredby who is himself the author of sev- Tinkers, a Pulitzer Prize winning JUNE 19 TH eral books, fell into pub- book that takes place over 8:00PM lishingwhenhemetAsa dying mans last day. at SOPAC aguywhoranaElevenHoursisa smallpublishingLasner andcompletelydif-house. Erens prepare toferent story, but Hiswife,launch Matasha, Igitisseten-whowasPublishing is ready- tirelyduring thenhising for another book byawomans girlfriend,Erens. This one, due nextchildbirth. didworkinAnd her sec-publishing,February, will be partondnovel, soshecouldof their ongoing seriesTheVirgins, offer advice toabout favorite books.aboutacou-the friend, andErens chose Georgepleinaprep BOX OFFICE Mon-Fri 12-4PM (973-313-2787) sopacnow.orgovertime,theyEliots Middle- schoolinthe allthreestartedmarch.late70s(when running it together.Erensherselfwasa Thentheoriginalguyprep school student), is Learningleft. We just kind of tookinspiredtold by a boy who is not part it over, he says now, sounding still aof the central pairing, a narrative form bit awestruck by how it all turned out. by another novel that uses a in Nature Given what large publishing housessimilar device. th -century classic, have been through in recent years, itMiddlemarch, a 19is almost a miracle that this small ac- influences Erens in other ways. Its al-cidental business has not only survivedways been my favorite novel, she says. but prospered. At one time they wereIts an inspiration just in terms of its $100,000indebt,theircreditcardsview of human nature and psychology were maxed out and they thought theandwisdom.Itsadelightful,funny, end was near. They had tried to followwise book. She regularly rereads it.whatwaspopular,whatotherpub- Like Middlemarch, Matashas form lishinghousesweredoing,buttheyis classic; Erens didnt read any middle chucked that. We decided if were go- gradebooksasshewasrevisingand ing to go under, we should go undershies away from kids books set in the on our own terms, Lasner says now. present, with their oodles of technol-Enthusiastic liberals, they began pub- ogy. She also notes that, other than the lishing hard-core political books. Theysetting, there is nothing autobiograph-did some kids books; and they startedical about Matasha. And yet, Matasha, an imprint for which well-known writ- too, is a great reader, a child who finds ers write about their favorite books. inspiration,comfortandwisdomin And, lo and behold, the publishingthe books she loves. And like her cre-house stabilized, then rebounded. Atator, she, too, is a writer, who delivers some point youve been doing it longthose same things with the story she montclaircoop.org enough,itsafull-time,well-payingwrites. (973) 783-4955job, says Lasner. TiaSwansonalsowasaliterature Infact,evenastheypreparetomajorwhoconsideredacareerasan launchMatasha,IgPublishingisacademic.Herfavoritebookis"Pride readyingforanotherbookbyErens.and Prejudice."26/ matters magazine / summer 2021'