Daniel Handler and Neil Gaiman face off in the Uni Reading Room with National Book Foundation

nbf_wspThis morning, The Uni Project teamed up with some wonderful friends of ours, Daniel Handler, Neil Gaiman, and the folks at National Book Foundation, to try to give New Yorkers…hypothermia!

Below are photos from our coldest reading room yet. In fact, it was simply too cold to create the reading room we all envisioned for Washington Square Park: a browsable selection of National Book Award finalists. Instead, it was decided (wisely) that Daniel and Neil would have a friendly competition to see who could give away those same books to the public, allowing everyone to go inside and feel their extremities again.

In 2013, the National Book Foundation gave the Uni Project an Innovations in Reading Award, and we’re looking forward to creating more reading rooms together, like this one in May. Thanks to Neil, a road warrior who always appears backstage when I’m with The Magnetic Fields, which makes my day. Thanks to Daniel and Lisa Brown for their support of the Uni Project over the years—Daniel not only shows up backstage, he leaps on it with his accordion. Thanks to everyone at National Book Foundation for a fun partnership. Here’s a look at a Uni reading room in this same park in springtime!

nbf_logo_150Watch Daniel host the Book Awards tonight, with Neil presenting an award to Ursula K. LeGuin. Go see them together at BAM on February 17.

nbf_wsp1

The night prior, the secret event sign was stored in an undisclosed location at our dining room table.

nbf_wsp2

nbf_wsp3

Set up early. Set up right. Portable Reading Room.

nbf_wsp4

Leslie gave numbers to people, which allowed them to read, instead of stand in a line.

nbf_wsp5

nbf_wsp6

This lovely woman was #1 in line, and she had a Reading Rainbow picnic blanket.

nbf_wsp7

nbf_wsp8

Daniel arrived early and warmed up the crowd by reminding them that Neil was not early.

nbf_wsp9

Gladiators embrace.

nbf_wsp11

Some taunting ensued.

nbf_wsp14

Daniel seems daunted by ratio of books to temperature. Lots:Cold.

nbf_wsp15

Neil can work a line, the hugs fly.

nbf_wsp16

Preventing a riot, Leslie handing out numbers.

nbf_wsp17

nbf_wsp18

nbf_wsp19

Who wants to read EO Wilson?

nbf_wsp20

nbf_wsp21

nbf_wsp23

Neil and I began to realize that the ratio to worry about was books to people in line. Few:Lots.

nbf_wsp24

nbf_wsp25

nbf_wsp26
nbf_wsp28

nbf_wsp29

Eventually we had to call it, but Neil and Daniel still worked their way to end of the line, meeting everyone.

nbf_wsp12

Thanks gentlemen, for bringing more reading to New York.

nbf_wsp30

Books gone. Authors departed. Time to pack up our lovely, patient reading room cart.

nbf_wsp31

One more reading room this weekend, and then we’ll stay indoors until spring. Thanks everyone for coming out.

More photos of the event posted at Publishers Weekly here.

Comments are closed.

The Uni Project is the operating name (DBA) of Street Lab, a 501c3 nonprofit.