Yesterday was my birthday, and although it might have been wiser to stay home, since life has been crazy lately and there was plenty I needed to do, including most especially sleep and try to recover from the cold that might one of these days kill me (it feels like it will at any rate), I instead took a train to Manhattan to visit some new-to-me bookstores and buy books. Here’s my haul:
I stopped first at Albertine, which specializes in books in French, although it has books in English as well. It’s the kind of store that is small (even smaller for me since I don’t read French) but makes up for that by having extremely well-chosen books, including many small-press titles you won’t find elsewhere. It’s here that I bought Anne Garréta’s Sphinx. The space was beautiful, worth stopping by for the calm, contemplative atmosphere alone. It’s across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, pretty much, and so worth taking a look at after a day in the museum next time you are there.
Then I went on to Rizzoli Bookstore, another beautiful space filled with carefully-selected volumes. Here I bought Sarah Ruhl’s 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write, a book I have almost bought several times but always put back on the shelves. Finally I was ready to commit, and felt vindicated when the bookseller who helped me pay told me she loved the book. I love getting bookseller approval.
Then I went to the Strand and headed straight downstairs to the literary nonfiction section, which is the best of its kind anywhere I’ve ever been. They have shelf after shelf after shelf of memoirs, essays, biographies, autobiographies, other kinds of nonfiction, and it’s my idea of bookish heaven. There I found Close to the Knives by David Wojnarowicz, Shame and Wonder by David Searcy, Poor Your Soul by Mira Ptacin, The Two Kind of Decay by Sarah Manguso, Hammer Head, by Nina MacLaughlin, Savage Park and Eight by Amy Fusselman, and Minor Characters, by Joyce Johnson. I could have gotten so much more, but my arms were starting to get tired and my cold was getting bad, so I thought it was time to stop. All in all, it was a good trip, but I made sure to get home in time to have a comfy evening on the couch to do a little reading. I have so, so much of it to do!