Breaking news! Lethem, falling behind, adds new reading!

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Jonathan Lethem is apparently not going to go down in his battle with his new novel without a fight.

The Bard of Boerum Hill — who made the front page of The Brooklyn Paper this week for falling hopelessly behind in his attempt to read the entirety of his new book, “Chronic City,” in eight sessions — has just added another reading before the Dec. 4 finale in hopes of getting it done.

Lethem will read 40-60 pages of the Manhattan-bashing novel at Word Bookshop in Greenpoint on Sunday, Nov. 29 — a mere hillock in the mountain of prose that the “Fortress of Solitude” author must climb if he is to complete the 480-page novel at the finish line of the “marathon” on Dec. 4 at BookCourt.

Who knows if he’ll even get through the 60 pages? According to a statement from the bookstore, Lethem will read, “but not continuously — he’ll take breaks along the way to sign books and chat with listeners about the book.”

The statement also mentioned that there will be free “bagels, donuts, fruit [and] pie” — and everyone knows that a writer can’t refuse a complimentary snack.

As The Brooklyn Paper reported, Lethem was only about halfway through the doorstopper of a novel — a story about a former child star living off residuals and his friend, a cultural critic right out of Saul Bellow or Philip Roth’s universe — when he finished his most-recent reading last week at Spoonbill and Sugartown in Williamsburg.

With two more readings to go, it’s anyone’s guess whether he’ll finish what has become the greatest literary challenge since Hemingway wrote the greatest six-word short story ever: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Jonathan Lethem at Word Bookshop [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-0096], Sunday, Nov. 29 at 12:30 pm. Lethem will conclude the marathon on Friday, Dec. 4. 7 pm to whenever, at BookCourt [163 Court St. between Pacific and Dean streets, (718) 875-3677].

Updated 12:06 pm, November 25, 2009
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