Ada Calhoun is the author of Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give, the acclaimed new memoir inspired by her popular essays for the New York Times. Her New York City history St. Marks Is Dead was widely named one of the best books of 2015. A Village Voice cover profile noted, “Her CV can seem as though it were cobbled together from the resumes of three ambitious journalists.”

Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give

We hear plenty about whether or not to get married, but much less about what it takes to stay married. Clichés around marriage—eternal bliss, domestic harmony, soulmates—leave out the real stuff. After marriage you may still want to sleep with other people. Sometimes, your partner will bore the hell out of you. And when stuck paying for your spouse’s mistakes, you might miss being single.

In Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give, Ada Calhoun, acclaimed for her provocative essays in the New York Times Modern Love and Lives columns, presents an unflinching but also loving portrait of her own marriage, opening a long overdue conversation about the institution as it truly is: not the happy ending of a love story, or a relic doomed by high divorce rates, but the beginning of a challenging new chapter of which “the first twenty years are the hardest.”

Calhoun’s funny, poignant personal essays explore the bedrooms of modern coupledom for a nuanced discussion of infidelity, existential anxiety, and the many other obstacles to staying together. Both realistic and open-hearted, Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give offers a refreshing new way to think about marriage as a brave, tough, creative decision to stay with another person for the rest of your life. “What a burden,” Calhoun calls marriage, “and what a gift.”

Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give TOUR

Press Release (PDF)

St. Marks Is Dead: The Many Lives of America's Hippest Street

A vibrant narrative history of three hallowed Manhattan blocks-the epicenter of American cool.

St. Marks Place in New York City has spawned countless artistic and political movements. Here Frank O’Hara caroused, Emma Goldman plotted, and the Velvet Underground wailed. But every generation of miscreant denizens believes that their era, and no other, marked the street’s apex. This idiosyncratic work of reportage tells the many layered history of the street-from its beginnings as Colonial Dutch Director-General Peter Stuyvesant’s pear orchard to today’s hipster playground-organized around those pivotal moments when critics declared “St. Marks is dead.”

Blurbers included Tim Gunn, Ad-Rock, Kathleen Hanna, Karen Abbott, Jami Attenberg, Lili Taylor, and Colin Quinn, who said, “I love this funny, sad, amazing book. … St. Marks Place is the most interesting street in the world, because it doesn’t try to be. It’s abnormal and impossible and ugly and sexy and annoying and inspiring. And the story was written by a St. Marks child, which is probably the only way it could’ve been told.”

A Village Voice cover profile of the author declared, “With St. Marks Is Dead, Ada Calhoun just became the most important new voice on old New York.” The paper also called the book the year’s “Best Nonfiction Book About New York.”
Rave reviews from across the country. “Timely, provocative, and stylishly written,” said The Atlantic. “Sophisticated…A delightful book,” wrote The Wall Street Journal. “Nuanced, captivating, and thoroughly fun,” claimed the L.A. Review of Books. Amazon called it a Best Book of November 2015. The New York Times Book Review called it “an ecstatic roll call,” and named it a New York Times Editors’ Pick.
One of the best books of the year — Boston Globe, 2015, which earlier in the year wrote in “Fall Suggestions”: “Calhoun makes a case for the enduring relevance and legacy of St. Marks Place, the quintessential downtown street and home to everyone from W.H. Auden to Keith Haring.” Also named one of the best books of the year by Kirkus, Orlando Weekly, and the New York Post.