The protagonist is dead, but this event will be very lively.

The Astoria Bookshop will host a book launch for local author Mary Adkins’s debut novel, “When You Read This!,” on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. The party will include readings, a Q&A session, and signings.

Adkins is a true woman of the pen, who has contributed to The New York Times as a reporter and written essays for publications like The Atlantic. She also teaches storytelling and she’s working on a play.

When You Read This!” combines all the author’s talents. It’s a romantic comedy that unfolds via blog posts, e-mails, legal correspondence, online therapy submissions, text messages, and other virtual correspondence.

In other words, it has some LOL, OMG, and ILU.

The protagonist is Iris Massey, a public relations specialist who dies from cancer at the outset. She was only 33, but she had worked with top-notch PR guru Smith Simonyi for four years.

The plot thickens when Carl, a young, ambitious, self-important intern, discovers that Iris had run the diary-like website, “Dying to Blog,” for the last few months of her life. Sometimes funny, sometimes hard-hitting, this visual blogging platform contains her musings on life and some very personal accounts of her disease.

Then, a deeply mourning Smith notes that Iris left him a printed request to get the blog published.

Thus, Carl and Smith set out on an odyssey. The first stop is Iris’s sister, Jade, a chef whose grief is so overwhelming that she can only eat potato chips and drink red wine. The neurotic Jade goes ballistic over the idea of publishing her sister’s private musings.

A digital story ensues as Jade and Smith exchange emails. Adkins goes a step further by adding blog posts from Iris with charts and graphs and Jade’s emails to a cyber-therapist and Iris’s doctors. (Jade wanted to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.)

Attendance is free. The Astoria Bookshop is located at 31-29 31st St.

Images: Mary Adkins


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