I was in New York this past weekend and saw the best sign ever at the Strand Book Store:
That was it. I had official permission to buy more books. We went to two favorite NYC stores, the Strand and McNally Jackson, and to be fair – I bought two from each store. Two titles were on my list and two were impulse purchases. The four books I bought are:
Five Days Gone: The Mystery of My Mother’s Disappearance as a Child by Laura Cumming (Cumming is the art critic for the Observer in London and the author of several other books. This book came to my attention after reading Nick Hornby’s glowing words about it in his Believer magazine column. This is an incredible, and incredibly unusual, book about family, secrets,” Hornby writes…the ruinous sexual shame and hypocrisy of the first half of the English twentieth century. It’s one of the best memoirs I have ever read… There is so much about it that moves; there is so much about it that educates. It is, and will remain a favorite, to be re-read one day, to be recommended to anyone who will listen.” With a review like that, Five Days Gone moves higher up in the “to read” pile.)
Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper (The starred Publishers Weekly review reads, in part, “Phelps-Roper’s intelligence and compassion shine throughout with electric prose … She admirably explicates the worldview of the Westboro Baptist Church while humanizing its members, and recounts a classic coming-of-age story without resorting to cliché or condescending to her former self.” I also heard part of a Fresh Air interview with Phelps-Roper and wanted to learn more about her journey.)
Stranger by Jorge Ramos (One of my impulse buys, I thought it would be worthwhile to hear what Ramos, a Mexican American journalist, has observed since the 2016 election. I read Stranger on the train back to Boston and was grateful to Ramos for sharing his story and the real data about the contributions immigrants make to our country. It was especially interesting to read about the day Donald Trump had Ramos removed from a press conference in Iowa in 2015.)
The Pursuit of Art: Travels, Encounters, and Revelations by Martin Gayford (I was excited to find this book at McNally Jackson. I had read Rendez-Vous with Art by the same author a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. This one is about the author’s journey to see art – and meet artists.)
One of the many joys of spending time in the Strand are the awesome signs:
I also enjoyed Jacqueline Woodson’s recommendations:
McNally Jackson has a display of books representing each state. Of course, I looked at the books representing Ohio and was not surprised to see a Toni Morrison title. The other “Ohio book” is They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraquib, a book of essays about music and culture.
McNally Jackson also has a wall featuring their bestselling titles since they opened in 2004:
We also walked by a bookstore that was new to us – 192 Books on Tenth Avenue at 21st Street. A small store, but a nicely curated selection. The joy of this one was in the discovery. I rarely find bookstores that I didn’t know about so it was an especially nice moment.
It was a “fair-like” book weekend in NYC and I returned to school for book fair week!
The best sellers are – not surprisingly – graphic novels and activity books with burning questions like “would you rather eat rotting vegetables or a big cup of dry dirt?”
Last night we had an evening shopping event. It’s the best book fair hour. Lot of families together looking at – and talking about – books.
A note about the picture at the top of the post. One of our Lower Elementary teachers takes little pumpkins and turns them into seasonal magic!