Wednesday, October 1

Harvard Book Store Presents (Past Events)Special Events Archive

Stephin Merritt

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Stephin Merritt discusses 101 Two-Letter Words in conversation with Ethan Gilsdorf

Co-sponsored by 826 Boston

This event includes a book signing.

$22 Tickets on sale now at and include admission plus one copy of 101 Two-Letter Words. Unable to attend? Order the book(s) or pre-order a signed copy from Harvard Book Store. No Brattle Passes.

Harvard Book Store and 826 Boston welcome singer-songwriter STEPHIN MERRITT of the Magnetic Fields for a presentation of Two-Letter Words—his one-of-a-kind celebration of the 101 two-letter words allowed in Scrabble—in conversation with the Boston Globe‘s ETHAN GILSDORF.

Rolling Stone has called Stephin Merritt “the Cole Porter of his generation”; O, The Oprah Magazine has hailed cartoonist Roz Chast as “the wryest pen since Dorothy Parker’s.” Together they have crafted a wonderfully witty book that is sure to prove useful to Scrabble players and Words With Friends addicts—and to delight anyone in thrall to the weirder corners of the English language.

With the mordant wit and clever wordplay of Edward Gorey or Shel Silverstein, Stephin Merritt has written an original four-line rhyming poem for each of the 101 two-letter words included inThe Official Scrabble Players Dictionary. Here are poems about familiar words (such as atgo,hino, and up) as well as obscure ones (such as aakaoeqixu). And every one of the 101 poems is accompanied by a full-color illustration by the incomparable cartoonist Roz Chast.

101 Two-Letter Words is perfect for any language lover or Scrabble player (it may even improve your score!).

Ethan Gilsdorf is a journalist, memoirist, critic, poet, teacher, and 17th level geek. He is the author of the award-winning travel memoir investigation Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Gilsdorf writes regularly for the New York Times, Boston GlobeBoston Globe Magazine,Boston Magazine,,,, Washington Post, WBUR’s Cognoscenti, GeekDad, and He is also a book and film critic for the Boston Globe, and is the film columnist and contributing editor for Art New England.

With the Magnetic Fields, Stephin Merritt has written, produced, and recorded ten albums, including 69 Love Songs, which was named one of the 500 best albums of all time by Rolling Stone. Merritt has performed as part of Lincoln Center’s “American Songwriters” series and at BAM’s “Next Wave of Song,” and he has composed the score for the Academy Award–nominated film Pieces of April and for Eban and Charley.

Photo credit: Marcelo Krasilcic