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Writers to give marathon reading of pro-vaccination book in Dumbo

for The Brooklyn Paper
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They are taking a jab at the vaccination debate.

A herd of Brooklyn writers and parents will read the pro-vaccination book “On Immunity” from cover to cover in one marathon recital on April 16 at Dumbo’s PowerHouse Arena, in an effort to spread awareness about the importance of inoculation. The best-selling tome, which non-fiction writer Eula Biss published in 2014, offers a calm and reasoned discussion of the hot-button topic, said the event’s organizer.

“I have never read such a well-researched, insightful, rational book about an issue that people yell about on social media,” said Williamsburg resident Maris Kreizman, who read “On Immunity” in one sitting.

Kreizman said she first pitched the idea to the public via social media, and was overwhelmed by the positive response. She subsequently recruited readers for the event including the Hairpin contributing editor Jazmine Hughes, novelist Teddy Wayne, and comedian and sex educator Lux Alptraum.

Park Slope writer and editor A.N. Devers said she put her hand up to read straight away. Devers said she feels a particularly strong connection with the book, because she read it for the first time while pregnant.

“I read it deliriously fast because it felt like it was written for me,” said Devers, who has now read the book twice. “Eula Biss wrote ‘On Immunity’ from the perspective of being a new mother, and her experience caring and nurturing a newborn and facing big questions and cultural attitudes about health care and vaccination resonated deeply with me.”

Devers gave birth to her son in January 2014, right before a measles outbreak in New York. The writer said she was shocked when a doctor advised her to cancel a date with another mother and her baby who lived near the epicenter of the outbreak.

“I couldn’t believe that I was, in an isolating and vulnerable moment, being advised to stay away from other moms for fear that my child would contract a once-eradicated disease,” said Devers.

Kreizman said she calculates it will take the 30 readers four hours to get through the entirety of the 205-page book, with each volunteer taking on one chapter.

“There’s no completely scientific way to estimate in advance, so I’m going with the assumption based on my own reading that each chapter will take approximately eight minutes to read,” she said. “I am crossing my fingers really hard!”

Marathon reading of “On Immunity” at PowerHouse Arena [37 Main St. between Water and Front streets in Dumbo, (718) 666–3049, www.powerhousearena.com]. April 16 from 6–10 pm. Free, but donations accepted for Doctors Without Borders.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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