Yesterday was my birthday, and a few weeks before it, Hobgoblin asked me how I wanted to spend the day. Going into Manhattan to visit bookshops and eating a fancy dinner was my answer, of course. So that’s what we did. But before I tell you about the bookshops, I should tell you about one of my birthday presents: the Nook! The color version. I spent this morning learning how it works and downloading books for it, and it was lots of fun. I like the Nook very much so far. I have about twenty free books I downloaded from various websites plus a couple digital review copies on the Nook right now. If you’re curious, here are the books I’ve downloaded so far:
- L. M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams (to continue the Anne of Green Gables read-through I’ve been doing. I finished Anne of Windy Poplars last night),
- Charlotte Smith, The Banished Man (a late 18C early 19C writer),
- Wilkie Collins, The Law and the Lady,
- Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Charlotte’s Inheritance,
- Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier,
- Isabella Bird, A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains (recommended by some of you in my previous post),
- Abraham Crowley, Essays
- Sarah Fielding, The Governess; or, Little Female Academy (a mid-18C book),
- Dorothy Sayers, Clouds of Witnesses,
- Fanny Burney, Cecilia (a very long book of the sort that reading on an ereader might be much more comfortable than reading in book form),
- Margaret Oliphant, The Rector (part of her Chronicles of Carlingford series; they don’t seem to have the whole series available online, sadly),
- Charlotte Lennox, The Life of Harriot Stuart, (mid-18C author),
- Maria Edgeworth, Ennui,
- Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence,
- E.M. Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread,
- Edith Wharton, The Custom of the Country,
- Frances Sheridan, Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph (mid-18C author),
- Anna Katharine Green, The Leavenworth Case,
- Mary Kingsley, Travels in West Africa (recommended by some of you in my previous post).
I have no idea when I’ll actually read these, or if these are even the ones I’ll read first, but it was so much fun to download them and think about reading them. When I actually read a book on the ereader, I’ll let you know how it goes.
Now, you might be wondering why I wanted to visit bookstores after a gift like this. Because I need books of all sorts, of course! I want to use the Nook to read free books and review copies mainly (and perhaps some books I buy when I travel), and I want to keep buying paper books because I love them so much. I also want to keep supporting bookstores and having the fun of browsing.
So the first stop we made was at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, a used bookstore staffed mostly by volunteers where the money they make goes to help fight AIDS and homelessness. I found all kinds of interesting books here, and came home with:
- Margaret Oliphant’s Hester, not available online as far as I can tell,
- Jose Saramago’s The Cave,
- Deb Olin Unferth’s novel Vacation,
- A.M. Homes’s Music for Torching.
Next up was McNally Jackson, an incredible store with one of the most amazingly smart and eclectic collections of books I’ve seen. I spent a long time browsing there, and wasn’t anywhere near finished when we left. I bought:
- Clarice Lispector’s novel Near to the Wild Heart,
- and Ander Monson’s Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir, which is, I think, a book of essays about the memoir genre. Just my type of thing.
- Also, Hobgoblin bought Roland Barthes’s The Preparation of the Novel. In spite of skimming a review of this book, I haven’t quite figured out what it’s about. But it looks fabulous. (I told Hobgoblin that the book was available on NetGalley, but he wanted the paper version. Some books just need to be read on paper.)
Next we headed over to Three Lives, another favorite store. I could have bought SO many books, but I limited myself to Janet Malcolm’s In the Freud Archives. The woman who sold us our books raved about what a good book this is and what wonderful books Malcolm writes. I had to agree, especially as I’m in the middle of her book Two Lives right now and am enjoying it very much.
Then it was time for dinner and an hour or so at the Union Square Barnes and Noble before time to catch the train. I wasn’t planning on buying any books there, but I couldn’t resist Terry Castle’s book The Professor: A Sentimental Education, a collection of essays.
It was so much fun. Even with my new ereader, I’m not going to stop visiting bookshops and buying tons of books.