Monday, August 20, 2012

Books of Wonder

New York is a magical place.  There are people from every imaginable walk of life dancing to the choreography of finely timed lights.  The little man who says walk lights up and the crowd surges forward, one block closer to their destination.  The red hand appears and suddenly the crowd is still.  I would love to see it in time lapse photography taken over the course of the day.  I probably can if I youtube it.  
I had a dream come true this weekend in New York.  One of my dreams for a very long time was to come to New York with a list of bookstores.  At each store, I would purchase just one book, my very favorite of that moment.  Then I would sign the book with the date, location, and a few sentences that capture the moment.  This is something I always did with my books.  My inside covers revealed who I was at that moment in time, on that day, on that vacation, in that place, all those years ago.  

Books of Wonder, the inspiration behind Meg Ryan’s bookstore in You’ve Got Mail, was on my list.  It is not the largest store, nor the fanciest, but it sure has character.  It is a place I could spent many hours in browsing through the newest releases, the vintage book posters and the shelves of rare books protected behind a plate of glass.  I could curl up here with a book, a latte and read for a while and watch the people walk by.

Imagine my joy in sharing this with my children and our friend Claire.  We were in New York to see Claire’s brother perform in a production of Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor and while he and his mother were at the Saturday performances, we wandered the bookstores of Union Square.

We went to the Strand.  Cross another off my bucket list.  I have to admit, I did not like this store nearly as much as Books of Wonder.  Too large, too many people, too many toys, too many noises.  I can’t believe I am going to say this....but there were too many books!  The stimulation was a bit overwhelming and Grace and I grabbed a book and we left.

Just a few stores down from the Strand is Forbidden Planet Comics.  Oh my.  I have never been to a comic books store like this and I felt like I was going to turn around and run into Dr. Sheldon Cooper at any moment.  These people take their comics seriously.  Grace found a book she liked that was a graphic novel about named storms/weather events.  It was very cool but we decided to take the information and save it for another day.  Some of these books are very pricey.  

My girls (and I include Claire in this) probably thought I was the biggest dork in the city that day.  I don’t know if they realized that one of my dreams came true that day.  Years ago when I researched the bookstore list I imagined myself wandering from store to store alone.  My girls were just babies and certainly not up for the energy level of the city.  I am so glad I waited for them to grow up a bit and join me on this adventure.  It was a day I will never forget.

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