November 29, 2009
So, lets get right to it. New York Bookstores. Just the sound of it makes me purr like a cat (and I don’t necessarily love cats, but I don’t know of any other animals that purr). I can already feel the scent of a stack of newly printed editions of some delicious novel right under my nose. Mm, yes please.
When we enter a bookstore, we usually enter a world of fantasy. We've left the real world outside, and are there to enjoy being surrounded by massive amounts of paper with words printed onto them for as long as we like. Great. There are probably thousands and thousands of stories under the very same roof in a bookstore, and they're waiting to be found by someone like you, who’ll make them come alive, and allow them to jump off the page and right into your living room. Amazing, isn't it?
Here are my favorite book spots in New York, chances are you’ve heard of some of them before:)
52 Prince St. (b/t Lafayette & Mulberry)
This shop has a great location, and it’s one of those smaller places where you can find most current and not so current books you might be looking for. Last time I was there, I bought Barack Obama’s two books, Dreams from my Father and the Audacity of Hope. It was in mid 2009. The guy in the register asked me (jokingly) if I had been in a coma for the last two years. Eh, I’m not American, I answered and laughed, and we started talking about Obama. But after I left I was like, wait. What if I actually had been in a coma. Or something. That could have been really awkward. Anyway, they also have a really nice coffee bar, and very nice staff. If you ever happen to find yourself down on Broadway in rush hour and you panic, get yourself in here for some quiet time.
Barnes & Noble,
Union Square (17th Street)
This place became a sort of haven for me, and I ended up going there at least once a week, but usually more, when I could. The whole store has that kind of vibe, and I think a lot of people go there just to hang out on their own in their anonymousness. I remember being worried that the security guards by the entrance would start recognizing me since I was there so often, and suspect me for theft since I usually didn’t buy anything, just browsed. Nothing ever happened though. Like I mentioned before, they also have great events for free.
12th Street and Broadway.
This is a New York classic, probably with the best general selection in the entire city. Cheaper too. Not as cozy as Barnes or McNally, but I would go here to actually buy the book, not just to look at it. Big selection of used and rare books as well. And the nice canvas totes with different prints are a great souvenir and make good gifts. They have a good website too, to get updates on what they’re up to in there, and find out what’s new in books.
Spoonbill & Sugartown
218 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg
Don’t let the website fool you, it’s a great place! And I’m going to say this: Especially for their selection of postcards and stationary. I know you're not supposed to say that about bookshops and I mean, they have great books too, particularly in photography and art (which is their area), but the non-book stuff is great! I always bought fun NY postcards here to send overseas, and all my quirky notebooks are from there as well. The selection of new novels they have is pretty great too, but you know, not in the same way as the other stuff. They have a store cat too.
Pageant Book & Print Shop
They closed their actual physical shop on E 9th street, but they’re still online. If you’ve seen Hannah and her Sisters by Woody Allen, it’s the bookshop where Michael Caine goes browsing for e.e. cummings. I just had to put it in here! Update: Thanks to Rachel's great comment, we now know that they reopened on 69 East 4th Street!
266 Bleecker Street
What can I say, I love this place. Just like an intimate and cozy bookshop should be, and they don’t only sell biographies. Sadly, this year they’ve had to move location from a different part of Bleecker street that now almost only hosts fashion boutiques… Sad. But at least they’re still running!
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
126 Crosby Street
Bookstore and good cause. There’s a lot you can do to help here, they’re amazing. Housing Works is committed to ending the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness. They run a bunch of different businesses and projects in these areas, and their bookstore has many events and a great coffee shop. Good place, in other words.
New York Public Library.
Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
It’s just classic. You have to check it out if possible, it’s amazing!
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street
Beautiful children's bookstore, it’s kind of magic. It’s really close to Barnes and Noble too, so you can go there on the same book run. They have Storytime on Saturdays at noon, how lovely isn’t that?? Staff sits down with parents and kids and read stories... Wonderful. Kind of like in You’ve Got Mail if you ever saw it? They also teach magic classes, but age limit is 15… Oh, well.
So, yeah, that was it for now… For a city like New York there are obviously tons and tons of little and big bookshops, this was only my little selection for this time. I also realized that it’s a very Goop-ish post, but what can I do? It’s what came out! And I kind of like Goop, most of the time.
Please comment and share your book favorites around the world! I would love to hear them. ♥
Pictures: MCNALLYstrandspoonbillbiographyhousingbooks of wonderbarnespageanthannahhannah Whitaker
November 28, 2009
If America runs on Dunkin’s, New York City runs on books. This city reads. That’s how people make time pass, specially while riding the subway. And lets face it, people ride the subway a lot in NY. It doesn’t matter if it’s Kafka or Danielle Steel, people read, and it’s great.
New York has amazing bookstores. From big chains to small independent dealers. The small ones are not always one step away from closing down due to lack of customers (which is unfortunately the case in many places). Many of them are even crowded with buyers, browsers, constantly hosting book signings and poetry readings.
If you for instance go to Barnes & Noble by Union Square often enough, you'll have a chance to in a short time span hear two or three world famous writers read from their latest work, and maybe catch a song and a signature from music artists like Regina Spektor and Rufus Wainwright presenting their latest albums. All for free.
Regina Spektor at Barnes and Noble in August 2009.
Needless to say, it’s heaven for booklovers. And if you didn’t love books before you got here, there’s a big chance you’ll start now. If not only for having something other then the other passengers to keep you company when the subway car screeches to a halt for the tenth time in a row in the tunnel between Union Square and Third Avenue and you’re already running twenty minutes late. A book will calm you down.
My main practical problem in leaving New York, besides getting rid of my furniture and other belongings that I couldn’t take with across the pond, was my dear collection of books. I had managed to build up quite an impressive set of piles (all neatly organized mind you) of beautiful, beloved books. It was really hard to say goodbye to them. To sell them for a couple of bucks to the book table guys on the street or even giving them away for nothing when I knew that they were worth so much more than that, was hard. Not least emotionally. This quote expresses it pretty well:
“Who are we,
if not a combination of
books we have read,
Each life is
an encyclopedia, a library,
an inventory of objects,
a series of styles, and
can be constantly
reshuffled and reordered
Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millenium
Needless to say, I was pretty attached to them, perhaps a bit too much. When times get rough and reality a bit too real, a book to carry you off someplace else is a pretty valuable thing. I’d like to think that I kept the best stuff I’ve read inside of me along the way, even if my books are not physically with me.
But back to the subject here. If you love to read or just to smell the scent of a freshly printed paperback, you’re in the right place. There are book related events going on every single day, in all boroughs of the city.
Next up are my favorite New York book spots! Please feel free to contribute if you have any of your own, they can be anywhere!
Pictures from Flickr: 1, 2, Anthropologie.
November 27, 2009
The city of New York is so many things. More, probably, than a single person can find out even by living there an entire lifetime. There must be one different image of that city for every person who ever heard it’s name mentioned. Almost everyone has their own version in their heart of the city of New York.
Before I moved there, I had visited New York once before, for about a week. That time just flew by in a swirl, and I can honestly say that I don’t remember that much very clearly. I know that it was just after Christmas, and it was long before 9/11. It was cold and snowing, and it was a different city than the one I encountered when I stepped foot there many years later.
The image that had been developing itself in my head of what it was going to be like once I got to move there looked something like this:
The West Village and Soho, brownstones drenched in sunlight, red haired tall men in Yankee caps (think Conan O’Brien), walking with to-go-coffee-mugs in high speed wearing high heels down the streets (not Conan, me), Rockefeller Center at Christmas time, being very busy, having loads of fun, having loads of money and taking loads of yellow cab trips. Spacey lofts filled with people with big hair and expensive shoes, David Letterman and general happiness. All in all, Sex and the City and other romantic movies probably had their fair share in creating that image.
The reality looked kind of different. Or I should probably say, very different. It was more like:
Yes, being very busy, to the point of losing my mind, being so dependent on coffee 24/7 (mostly one dollar bodega coffee after having realized that Starbucks was the one dominant presence on my bank account statement) that I had serious abstinence problems when I tried to cut down to maybe 3 cups a day, as opposed to the usual 6. Getting used to the fact that I had unwanted pets by the name of Mouse, Ant and Cockroach, who where happy to invite their friends over to my house at any time of the day (or night). Getting nostalgic over just the thought of fresh air on a flower meadow, the sight of the sea or just a lake, over seeing a landscape not consisting only of brick walls, offices and honking cars. Ruining practically all my high heeled shoes on the first day of wearing them by getting stuck in the many holes in the many sidewalks. Eating way too many bagels, pizza slices and sandwiches than what is good for anyone's health, all while having an extra five minutes before heading over to the other side of town for some minor but oh-so-necessary appointment. In theory having money, but seeing them all happily go away to pay the rent for a living situation that in most places would have cost me half that price or honestly, usually less than that. And it goes on.
In spite of this, I still love New York. Like most people do. I think it’s one of the best places in the world to be today.
There where also many good things and good times that outweighed the stressful, and they would make this post way to long to read on a single blog browse (I guess it’s actually that long already).
But there is one thing that I didn’t know about New York, and that is probably the one thing that I’m so happy to have discovered:
The Literary New York. Books in New York.
More about that coming up..
Pictures from Flickr 1, 2, 3.
November 26, 2009
They update very often as there are so many contributors who send in their work to their Flickr group. I find it really inspiring! ♥
Barcelona building by lapin barcelona.
Houses in Havana by Michael Gage.
This in particular made me really happy:
10-year old John Woolley. Amazing!
November 25, 2009
...Joaquin Phoenix and the imperfections of love, here's a great great film on that subject. Two Lovers came out earlier this year, and I think it was the last movie Joaquin did before deciding to not act anymore. It's a really beautiful film with great performances, it takes place in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. It feels very real, very New York, very Brooklyn and very modern. If you haven't seen it yet, I suggest you do! It's a really beautiful story, I loved it.
Pictures from IMDB.
Pictures Copyright © Magnolia Pictures.
November 24, 2009
Like so many, it was maybe Joaquin Phoenix's interpretation (what a great performance, what an actor, what a man) of him that opened up my eyes to the world of Cash. Right now, I can't get enough Cash. (The other kind of cash would be nice too, but lets stick to the subject here). I mean, look at that man. Gorgeous! And that voice, that charisma, the height, the lovely relationship between him and June. With the risk of sounding like a cliche, I can't help getting so inspired by the relationship and bond they seemed to share, how much value there is in having a marriage or relationship like that. It was so obvious that they were like one, and they seemed to have been decided on giving whatever was necessary for it to work, because of the love that was between them. Just beautiful.
Update after some thoughts:...
I don't know, I feel like it's rare to see that kind of commitment today, or at least in the public eye. But as Janis wisely pointed out, he was married and divorced before June, as was she. Nothing's perfect. Not even love. But I have a sensation that people might give up too easily today on their marriage, that divorce is such an easy option. I realize that that may be a controversial opinion, and the Cash's aren't a perfect example for that since they were both previously divorced. But when two people obviously love each other so much as they did, I think the only right thing is for them to be together. And yes, that may be hurtful to other parties involved, but it is for the sake of love, not for giving up.
...I'll win. Christmas is around the corner, so I cheated a bit and put up some decorations this weekend already. Since I'm not going to be celebrating Thanksgiving this year, I'm making Christmas start early!
It's so funny how when you go browsing for Christmas decoration stuff (I usually want to buy about everything I see) this time of the year, you just know that come January or even before then, it's all going to be like 50-80% off. It's frustrating. Every year I make the same promise to myself to stack up in January for the following holiday, but once the sales arrive, I'm usually a bit broke from buying all the gifts and a bit over Christmas so I can't be bothered.. What a dilemma, right? This year I'm going to succeed, I promise. Maybe this time.
Image by Hermione.
November 23, 2009
November 22, 2009
...would be the Tim Burton exhibit that just opened at Moma in New York. I think he creates such wonderful and quirky worlds, even though I sometimes find it gets too much (Sweeney Todd,great, but too much blood☹). But anyway, it would be fun to be able to see what they put together at the museum. Oh well! Can't always get what you want. Thanks to the internet, it's nearly possible.
Anyway, as I was walking today on the island of Djurgården here in Stockholm, there was an atmosphere that struck me as kind of Burtonish..
I wonder who lives in that house? Eerie, at least..
It's going to be really exciting to see Alice In Wonderland once it opens! Do you have a favourite Tim Burton movie?
When I was little, I thought this was the utmost living situation, and I nearly convinced my mum that our family needed to be living on a Husbåt. We even went looking at some that were for sale at the time. I was 10 years old. I had romantic images of reading my schoolbooks as the rain fell down the little boat windows, and the whole thing swaying along. Realizing it would get really cold and inconvenient, we stayed in the safety of our house.
Looking back, I think it's good that it remained only a romantic idea. But my fascination for these kind of boats remains, and today I walked by these ones on the fancier dock on Strandvägen, with quirky little details I hadn't noticed before. You can tell a lot about the owners by the look of the boat..
coolest name for a boat!
not really Pirates of the Caribbean, but something like it..
complete with little skull flags... scary!
at first sight, just a pretty boat...
..looking closer, there's the cutest doggie looking for some company. Aw!
look at that! Can I dog sit?
November 20, 2009
...yet so great. I've always been more fascinated by fashion illustration than the actual fashion itself, and it's pretty cool that it has become very popular in recent years. One of my favourites is the Swedish born illustrator Lovisa Burfitt who makes delicious drawings as well as wall paintings that can be seen here and there in different commercial spaces. We like! ♥
November 19, 2009
After a long day, it's nice to come home and put on just that song or album that makes your energy slightly more lateral than vertical, in other words, music that makes you relax. Music is so subjective to everyone, but here's a song that really sums up relaxation at home for me. It's also full of breaking up emotions, but lets not think about that right now:) This is a really cute video to it by Mike Mills, look out for the rainbow...
November 18, 2009
These last couple of days was the first time since I started blogging that I didn't know what to blog about, because I was feeling kind of down for various reasons. So I didn't blog at at all, unfortunately. But when I finally signed on today, and saw the lovely comments and the good vibe that is out there in the whole blogging community, I actually felt a lot better. In other words, this whole thing can be really uplifting, and I suspect that it is for a lot of people out there, and what a beautiful thing that is! I guess a blog in a way is to create a little universe of your own where you do exactly as you want. What do you think?
On a completely random note, I'm going to go on and recommend this scented candle from Voluspa, because it's seriously the best scent I've ever smelled from a candle before. And I'm picky! Pomegranate and Patchouli... Kind of cozy, kind of delicious. Definitely uplifting!
So very sorry for my absence here on the blog, I've been fighting to not let the weather here in Stockholm bring me down, without really succeeding. It's been grey, rainy and cold for days and days in a row now!! Enough! So, tonight will be Mysa Totale again, very much needed:) How do you cope with a possible November blues?
November 15, 2009
Not that I want to be hawking any products here or anything, but I can't resist sharing these great bags from Fleabag. When I was in NY a while back I was lucky enough to get introduced to these bags at their showroom, it was love at first sight. They are the perfect totes when you go shopping and you can stuff them with a loot of stuff. We like that♥ Plus that they're all organic and as environmental friendly as possible, hand-numbered, and pretty to look at too. Needless to say, I want one!
Part of the dock
People here ride their bikes long into the fall season, sometimes even winter, even though it gets really cold and windy.
This is Lövsta
This is a true beauty, Orion..