16 April 2013

Bits and Bobs (the new books edition)

(photo credit: Christopher L. Smith)
One of my favorite bookstore in Manhattan
There are many amazing bookstores in NYC, but  I think Three Lives & Co. is one of the best. A gorgeous little gem on west 10th Street in Greenwich Village, Three Lives is particularly good for literary fiction. It is one of those bookshops that seems curated rather than stocked. The resulting table displays and staff picks are too exuberant to be elitist. This is a store that makes readers want to pick up books by the armful. I am not prone to buy new books, but Three Lives always makes me do just that. Even when my luggage is too full.

I ran into a few other wonderful shops on our recent trip to New York, most of them secondhand stores (my preference) and I did find one or two other items, but alas I failed to even note the names of the other stores. I have also decided once and for all that The Strand is for chumps, tourists, and wannabes. Now before you take me to task for such a leap of hyperbole, I realize that it can be just the ticket for finding any number of treasures, but god almighty the weekend crowds are annoying as all get out. They make me want to stay up front to buy bags and t-shirts and not even try and squeeze down the narrow aisles and find an actual book. If you do go, at least do it during the week. Might not be as insane.

The books
The Gardam is the third in the Old Filth trilogy. The Barnes and the Jekyll were gifts from my friend Ron who was with me.

The Potato Peel Pie Award for Precious Title goes to...
The cover covers up for this hokey title. I have a sneaking feeling I won't actually like the book. Stay tuned.

I am on the Supreme Court of judging books by their covers
We all do it. I just wish I could get paid to do it. In addition to the Ellis above, these two and the Swift jumped into my hands thanks to their alluring covers.

My friend Ron pointed this one out and bought it for me. I am just waiting for my OCD to kick in which will require me buying the whole series.

I would buy a new Lively no matter what, but this beautiful cover made it truly irresistable.

Although the Lively cover shows a Tulip Magnolia (of which we have a lot in DC), it reminded me of these cherry blossoms I put in our living room a few weeks ago. They had fallen off a neighbor's tree after our late March snow so I brought them inside where they continued to bloom and even to sprout leaves.

What would Anita think?
I know Brookner wouldn't mind a drink, but what would she think of my friend enjoying a Cosmo while reading
Look at Me? I picture her drinking tumblers of brown liquor.


  1. My favorite bookstore in NYC. I try not to go there EVERY week. Sounds like you made quite a haul.

  2. The Lively cover is beautiful - so much nicer than the hideous US hardback.

    I haven't come across the Great Food series yet. I know I won't be ble to resist the actual books when I do.

  3. I, too, love Three Lives and once asked the owner for a job. He told me to get in line.

    The Strand is great for ARCs though now they don't carry as many as they once did.

    I hope you went to Housingworks.

  4. I admit I did go to The Strand when I was in NY over the holidays -- the Saturday before Christmas!! The timing was terrible, it was horribly crowded, but I did find some lovely hardcover Trollope short stories and a couple of NYRB classics. Lolly Willows, I think.

    I also went to Housingworks bookstore, just to use the bathroom, but I found ANOTHER Trollope! An OUP paperback, but I helped support the store.

    I also bought another NYRB classic at the Frick giftshop, Renoir My Father. And Penguin hardcover at the Morgan library. . . I went to NY with four books and came home with about 10!!

  5. You are right, the Lively cover is truly irresistable. I've also gotten a few from the Penguin Great Food series, mainly the ones with essays more so than recipes, as I am not much of a cook. But they certainly are a pretty collection to hold and behold.

  6. I visited NY for the first time in my life a few weeks ago and only managed to go to the Strand. Luckily it was a Friday morning and I was able to find a couple of books I wanted and some bags. But I really liked the shop which seemed like a celebration of books. Hopefully my next visit will involve more bookshops!

  7. So envious of the tulip magnolia! Or any magnolia! And cherry blossoms! And dogwoods! (And yes, Cosmos! LOL)

  8. The Lively cover is beautiful!

    Although I like the Prague Cafe title a heap more than I like the cover... but mention of Ignatius J. Reilly might swing into favourable territories for me.

  9. I have only been to the Strand bookstore (and NYC) once; it must have been a weekday.

    In contrast to Simon T., the reference to Ignatius J. Reilley (and Forrest Gump) would only put me off any book. Comedy is so tricky!

    I was going to write that I just bought a Penelope Lively title just the other day...but now I think it was Peneolpe Fitzgerald and I can't remember the title for the life of me.

  10. I've passed Three Lives several times, but will definitely stop next time! I think Strand books is a zoo (and it is unbearably hot during the summer!), but if you can get there on a weekday morning, it's much easier to browse.

    You're in for a treat with The Sense of an Ending.

  11. I recently bought that Agnes Jekyll book, and also couldn't resist (even though I may never read it) the Isabella Beeton book in the same series: "The Campaign for Domestic Happiness." Perfect title and cover.


  12. Sounds like a wonderful bookstore trip, indeed! Great selection of books.

    I loved How It All Began immensely -- but then I adore Penelope Lively quite immoderately. I actually liked the original cover, feeling that it captured the feel of the story, with characters all over London having their lives shaken up by chance.

  13. Ted: I wonder how often I would go in if I lived in NYC. Probably whenever I needed comforting.

    Lisa May: I don't think I have seen the hardback. That's why I was so surprised to come across the paperback.

    Cynthia: I didn't go to housing works. My intent was to buy no books on this trip so I didn't actually seek out these stores.

    Karen: I can't even imagine what it must have been like before Christmas.

    Michelle: I am guessing the recipes would be pretty antiquated as well. Not sure if I would want to try them.

    Sakura: It definitely has its charms, but I think it has lost some of them in the past decade.

    Jill: At least Cosmos "grow" in your neck of the woods.

    Simon: Usually such comparisons don't fare well for the newcomer.

    Ruth: I love the Penelopes.

    JoAnn: It is hot in the winter too.

    Sarah: I love the title Campaign...sounds like a war for happiness.

    Mel: Can't wait to read the Lively.


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