Tag: New York

New York

6 Books That Celebrate the Beauty of New York

New York truly is a hell of a town, and it has inspired some of the most beautiful, fascinating, funny, heartbreaking literature the world has to offer. In part due to its iconic locations, such as Tiffany’s, Central Park,  In celebration of this strong, resilient city, here are six of the greatest literary tributes to New York and all that it has to offer. 


1. Breakfast at Tiffanys by Truman Capote


Image Via Splice Daily

 Image Via Splice Daily


In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany’s; her poignancy, wit, and naïveté continue to charm.

This volume also includes three of Capote’s best-known stories, “House of Flowers,” “A Diamond Guitar,” and “A Christmas Memory,” which the Saturday Review called “one of the most moving stories in our language.” It is a tale of two innocents—a small boy and the old woman who is his best friend—whose sweetness contains a hard, sharp kernel of truth.


2. Just Kids by Patti Smith


Image Via Flavorwire

Image Via Flavorwire 


In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. 


An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work—from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.


3. Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin


Image Via The Advocate

 Image Via The Advocate


Mountain,” Baldwin said, “is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else.” Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin’s first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic.


With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.


4.  The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger


Image Via Vox

 Image Via Vox


The hero-narrator of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. 

There are many voices in this novel: children’s voices, adult voices, underground voices–but Holden’s voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep. 


5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 


Image Via The Buzz Magazines

 Image Via The Buzz Magazines


From the moment she entered the world, Francie needed to be made of stern stuff, for the often harsh life of Williamsburg demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior—such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce—no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans’ life lacked drama.


By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans’ daily experiences are tenderly threaded with family connectedness and raw with honesty. Betty Smith has, in the pages of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life-from “junk day” on Saturdays, when the children of Francie’s neighborhood traded their weekly take for pennies, to the special excitement of holidays, bringing cause for celebration and revelry. Betty Smith has artfully caught this sense of exciting life in a novel of childhood, replete with incredibly rich moments of universal experiences—a truly remarkable achievement for any writer.


 6. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann


Image Via Matteo Pericoli

 Image Via Matteo Pericoli


In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.


Let the Great World Spin is the critically acclaimed author’s most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s. Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gather in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. Tillie, a thirty-eight-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth.

Elegantly weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann’s powerful allegory comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the “artistic crime of the century.” 



Featured Image Via City Journal

Synopsis Via Amazon

harry potter

Wands at the Ready! A New Harry Potter Exhibit Is Coming To New York and You Should be Excited

With all the hype around Harry Potter & The Cursed Child finally making its way to Broadway, Harry Potter fans have even more to look forward to. The first of it’s kind celebrating a single series of books by a living author, ‘Harry Potter: A History of Magic’ is coming to New York’s Historical Society from October 5, 2018 to January 27, 2019. 




via Giphy


With prices ranging from $21 for adults to $6 for kids, fans of the series can now view original manuscripts, rare books, and even J.K. Rowling’s original pitch letter to publishers. With tons of original material from Scholastic and J.K. Rowling’s own archives, this exhibit is one of the most exclusive of Harry Potter archives to date. 




Image via The Upcoming


The exhibit is split up into sections inspired by the key subjects taught at Hogwarts ranging from Herbology to Defense Against the Dark Arts. 

Tickets just went on sale to the public and while there are lots of time slots still available for the coming months, we’re predicting that this exhibit will sell out very quickly. 




Image Via The Telegraph


If you can’t make the exhibit in London or New York, there is a print-version which details a treasure trove of artifacts, including Mary GrandPré’s original pastel illustrations for the novels as well as costumes and set models for The Cursed Child


Featured Image Via Amazon

rare books

Secret Rare Book Collection to Be Sold for Nearly Half a Million Dollars!

In Lincoln, Nebraska a man named James Seacrest has bestowed a vastly extensive and extremely impressive literary collection to be sold at auction in New York this year. Seacrest passed away in 2016, but for decades before that point he had been a newspaper publisher, and a collector of rare and signed books of all varieties and genres.



James Seacrest | Image Via North Platte Telegraph 


Seacrest had dealt heavily in the business of book dealing and collecting. The man was an addict for hard-to-come-by editions of books, and when his home was visited by the Director of Rare Books at Heritage Auctions, James Gannon, the man was taken aback by how long he would have to extend his stay in order to sift through all of the material. Seacrest had several signed Charles Dickens books, a couple signed F. Scott Fitzgerald books, a signed copy of The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, a signed copy of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, a signed book by President Obama, not to mention thousands of other fiction and non-fiction tomes. Gannon says there was even one room in the home entirely dedicated to books on the state of Nebraska’s history!


catcher in the rye

Image Via Medium


Gannon estimates that the 200 books picked out to be sold at auction should total approximately $440,000 and that proceeds gathered are intended to be donated to various charities of the Seacrest family’s choosing. Apparently James Seacrest was always quite private about his collecting and also about his charitable nature, so out of respect for his legacy the family has declined to announce which charities the money will go to. 


I know that I can’t fathom the delight and pleasure of even just holding one of these precious pieces, let alone read from them! I can only hope that they find beautiful, new homes to inhabit!




Feature Image Via Rare Book Hub

Netflix Documentary

Joan Didion Explained: The Woman Behind the 1960s

Precise essayist, poignant novelist, mother, and notable badass, Joan Didion is one of the most celebrated authors of her generation. Her voice is so fresh that she’s become an essential American cultural figure, particularly since the release of Slouching Towards Bethlehem. The book is a personal account of the hippie movement in the San Franciscan neighbourhood of Haight Ashbury. Her cult following has since grown and intensified sinceHers is the voice of a generation, and an incredible Netflix documentary about her life was released back in October of 2017. Check out the trailer below.



Just from the trailer, you can see the author speaking candidly about her various life experiences. We are given a glimpse into her life following the very difficult tragedy she experienced in losing her husband and daughter within a year and a half of each other. A Year of Magical Thinking won the National Book Award for nonfiction, and it’s a must for anyone in grief. In Didion’s words: “Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.” Didion speaks about her daughter’s death in her 2011 book, Blue Nights.


Joan Didion: The Center Cannot Hold is an intimate, affectionate portrait of a life made by Didion’s nephew, Griffin Dunne. Of his aunt, he said to Vanity Fair, “I asked her and from the moment she said yes, I said oh boy, I’m in for it now. This person means a lot to a lot of people.” 


Joan Didion is best known for her years spent narrating some of the biggest moments in recent American history—1960s San Francisco, the Manson Murders, etc. Didion explores the disintegration of American morals and descent into cultural chaos. 


Today, Didion, who is now 83-years-old, continues to write and has just published another nonfiction novel called South and West: From a Notebook, which is based on notes she took while travelling in Alabama and Mississippi in the 1970s.


Joan Didion

Image Via Pinterest


Feature Image Via Netflix

Antiquarian books

Welcome to Hobart, Where There’s One Bookstore for Every 100 Residents

Two hours from New York City there is a town of 500 people with five bookstores. That means there’s one bookstore per 100 people. The town is called Hobart.


As Atlas Obscura reports, the story of Hobart begins with Diana and Bill Adams, a lawyer and physician, respectively, from Manhattan. They passed through Hobart on a trip through the Catskills when they came across a cornershop up for rent. They went in and asked the owner about it and rented the space on the spot. Thus began Hobart’s journey as a book village.



Wm. H. Adams Antiquarian Books. | Image Via Atlas Obscura


The Adams’ store, Wm. H. Adams Antiquarian Books, stocks antique books, as Bill developed a fascination with Greek texts. The other bookstores that populate the town have specialties as well. Blenheim Hill Books, owned by couple Barbara Balliet and Cheryl Clarke, has a wide selection of feminists and African-American studies books, for example. Balliet, a professor of Women’s Studies at Rutgers University, and Clarke, a poet and author, collected a stockpile of books by the time they were ready to retire, many of which now reside in Blenheim Hill Books. As does a little dog.


Blenheim Books

Barbara Balliet, Cheryl Clarke, and the cute dog in Blenheim Hill Books. | Image Via Atlas Obscura


Though it’s a mystery how a small town of less than 500 people can sustain five independent bookstores, it seems to be working out for them. One Hobart bookstore owner, Don Dales, hypothesizes that the bookstores don’t actually survive on competition, but coexistence. They bounce between the bookstores, filling up their bags. It doesn’t hurt that each bookstore has its own specialty also.


The idea of the book village has been around since 1961, when the first was founded in  Hay-on-Wye, Wales by Richard Booth. Since, book villages have sprung up across the world, including in South Korea, New Zealand, and Malaysia. I hope you have the necessary funds to buy homes in all of these places. I also hope all this attention on Hobart does not now ruin it. Maybe the answer is to start our own book village. Who’s down?


Feature Image Via Atlas Obscura