If you are a book blogger, I had a really good time at BEA
last year so you should seriously consider coming (and if you do, hey,
let me know so I can look for you!). Last year I went in sort of scared
of the whole thing (“Who can I hide behind, crowds are not for me!”)
but it turned out to be awesome, because I swear, I FOUND MY PEOPLE.
And I was surrounded by books. Many, many books. 😀
Katiebabs of Babbling about books and more!, Angie of Angieville, and Jess of Book Reviews by Jess had some good tips on how to prepare for BEA and what to do when you were there. One of the best tips I got (from Wendy the Super Librarian)
when I was a newbie last year was to wear comfortable shoes. You will
be doing a lot of walking, and you will also be carrying a lot of
books. Um.. she also recommended having some Advil handy I think,
which was again – true (the pain of carrying 40 books around all day
was worth it though).
OK, since many people have already covered what to do at BEA, I am
going to add some bookish things to do around the city if you have some
extra time around BEA and the Book Blogger Convention:
1) The Library Hotel – I’ve
never stayed here but I want to. This is a boutique hotel near Grand
Central station which has rooms full of books. And it’s based on the
Dewey Decimal system!
“Each of the 10 guestroom floors honor one of the 10 categories of the DDC and each of the 60 rooms are uniquely adorned with a collection of books and art exploring a distinctive topic within the category it belongs to.”
This is not exactly the cheapest hotel but they have specials
if you book ahead, and this week (Feb 12th to 19th) there is an extra
25% off their special rates. You just have to know what days you are
staying and the reservation would be non-refundable.
2) The Morgan Library and Museum
– The Morgan Library is also near midtown at Madison Ave. and 36th
Street. It was donated by J.P. Morgan Jr. and houses the library of
I am IN LOVE with the “Mr. Morgan’s Library”. It is beautiful.
Old books encased in gorgeous bookshelves in a huge, three story room,
complete with giant fireplace, amazing ceiling-work and one of a kind
manuscripts? I died and went to heaven. I could probably just stay in
that room, staring at the shelves for hours! Cool things: several
bookshelves devoted to bibles in different languages, a shelf full of
the Robinson Crusoe, and several illustrated manuscripts. Did you know
that the Morgan has three Gutenberg bibles? THEY DO. Anyway, I just
loved this room. The architecture and design of it are amazing.
Right now there is an exhibition featuring Jane Austen called “A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy“,
but it ends March 12th, long before BEA, which is unfortunate. I went
to see it 3 weeks ago. It was slightly crowded but with a little
patience you can spend a lot of time staring at some of Jane Austen’s
letters. I found it interesting that someone had painstakingly cut out
certain lines from her letters – probably her family removing something
that they deemed inappropriate from public view, and how she used every
free space on the paper to write in. Sometimes she would turn the page
90 degrees and write on top of what she’d already written. She had very
nice handwriting but I found it hard to read – I preferred her sister
Cassandra’s writing in terms of being readable to me. I would haven
taken pictures, but none were allowed. I ended up buying a postcard of
a letter Jane wrote to her niece – each word spelled backward. More on
this exhibit at Austenacious. If you miss it, I am sure there will be something else for a book lover to see by May.
3) Strand bookstore – Strand
books is the East Coast Powell’s. It’s a very large independent
bookstore with “18 miles of books”. They sell a mix of new and used
books (more new than used I feel), and there are ARCs for sale in the
basement. I haven’t been too impressed by their romance section (it
doesn’t seem to exist), but their YA section is big and impressed me.
Anyway, I’ve been there a few times, and I think if you love books you
should go there at least once.It’s at 828 Broadway and 12 Street in the East Village.
4) The New York Public Library (main branch/Steven A Scharzman building)
– You know, I’ve never actually been inside the main branch building of
the NYPL? I have walked by it a lot though! It is on my to-do list.
This building is located on Fifth Ave between 40th and 42nd streets,
next to Bryant Park, and it’s the library with the lions out in front
(their names are Patience and Fortitude). This library houses special
(non-circulating) collections. Ongoing exhibits incude the Gutenberg Bible, Winnie-the-Pooh and friends: the original toys, and the Jill Kupin Rose Gallery. There are interesting things happening there every day, and then there’s the stunning main reading room. The room is nearly 2 city blocks: 297 ft long, 78 feet wide, 51 feet high with ceilings that have murals of the sky. Wowza.
5) Kinokuniya Bookstore
– This is a little different since it’s a japanese bookstore. This is
the best place to go to if you love anime, manga, stationary and
japanese magazines. I have been here a few times, and I always find
something cute as hell to buy, be it a FRuITS magazine
or colored pens. And they have a cafe that sells bento boxes for nice
prices. Come on! There aren’t many japanese bookstores like this in the
U.S. so it’s special (I’m sad they closed the Kinokuniya branch in
Westchester). I’ve also been to the San Jose and San Fransisco branches
– all nice!
OK that’s what I have to begin with. There is much more. If you have
any favorite bookish places in the city, please comment with them! I
live near it and want to hear about it. 🙂
And if you go to BEA/the book blogger con and see me, please say hi! I
will be the half-asian girl with a black and red backpack, lots of bags
and comfy shoes. And an expression of bliss on my face.