Hello everyone! I am back from a (somewhat unplanned) month-long break. I was booked calendar-wise with events, and I was writing my book in my slim free time, but now I’ve carved out some time to blog again!
Over my break, I went to NYC to visit The Strand. For those of you who don’t know, the Strand is a
magical palace full of brownies and books bookstore in New York City, and I’ve compiled a list of ten reasons why you should go there and spend all your money on books. *
*none of this is sponsored. I just like telling people to spend money. If we’re all broke, at least we’re not alone, right??
1. The Bookshelves
I am not an elf. Nor am I a child. In fact, I’m not even that short. I’m around average for a 16 year-old girl. But do you see me in that photo? I am merely a measly midget in comparison to these bookshelves. They are tall and beautiful and FULL OF BOOKS. And there are ladders on almost every bookshelf, so you can pretend you’re Belle from Beauty and the Beast and swing from side to side while singing.
2. Books on EVERYTHING
Here is an list of some topics I saw covered by books in the Strand:
- Vintage Fashion Design
- YA Fantasy
- Greek Architecture
- Barbecuing Techniques
- Non theism Philosophy
- Queer Studies
- Pop Culture History
- Film Productions
- Sudoko Strategies
Believe me when I say that if you’re interested in something, The Strand will have a book about it. There’s a section for even the most obscure of hobbies, and I was able to find books by all of my favorite fiction authors.
3. The Kid’s Room
I am less than two years from being able to vote. I can legally obtain my permit to drive, I wear dresses past my ankles, I prefer pantyhose to leggings, and my favorite cereal is bran flakes. I’m practically an adult. But that does not stop me from running into the Strand’s children’s room and becoming a little kid all over again. Pastel colors, story time, and dreamy book illustrations. Oh my. For all of you who love YA, there are several little ‘pods’ of bookshelves devoted to it, and there’s a table proclaiming the best of YA fantasy, complete with bookish gear to match the book!
The Strand has an excellent collection of empowering books written by women! There were some books that I’d read, such as We Should All Be Feminists and Men Explain Things To Me,* but there were also some books that I’d never heard of. There were ‘lighter’ books with jokes about being a woman in today’s world, but on the other side, there were historical and philosophical books discussing feminist theory. Also, there was a large display of bags, journals, posters, and pins with famous female writers, activists, and politicians.**
*Both of which I highly recommend, by the way
**The Strand is the BEST place to go for pins. I got a pin of Beyonce, a pug, and a pen that had ‘Stronger’ engraved onto it.
5. Bookish Things
Okay, so I know I said I spend all of my money on books, but when I get a little extra money, sometimes I spend it on…wait for it…you’ll never guess…THINGS THAT ARE ALL ABOUT BOOKS AND WRITING! Journals that almost too pretty to write in! Coffee mugs that are wittier than I am! Emily Dickinson finger puppet/magnets!* Bookish things make me extremely happy. And the Strand has an excellent selection. The ‘gift section’ was stocked with post cards, buttons, art supplies, cute totes, adorable throw pillows, water bottles, pencil cases, literary t-shirts, and more!
*Yes, I own one of these. Her bun is the magnet, and her body is the finger. And no, this is not sponsored. I just want you all to be able to find this little beauty. #emilydickinsonfan4eva)
6. The Rare Books Room
What’s the only thing better than books? OLD BOOKS. Nothing beats the smell. The Rare Books Room is in a building adjacent to The Strand, and it contains special books. You can find signed books of any era, old books, first-editions, and more. I managed to find a 1930s edition of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poetry. Even if you’re not interested in buying older books, I still definitely recommend visiting the room. It’s like seeing a medieval library!
7. Strand Underground (AKA SALES HEAVEN)
Did I mention that the Strand had three levels? The main floor has gifts, fiction, poetry, and mainstream nonfiction, the second story has YA, children’s books, and books on all different varieties of art, and the underground level is stocked with textbooks, more obscure nonfiction topics, and SALES. Because the Strand has a mix of new and used books, some books that are formatted in more old-fashioned ways, such as thick paperbacks sometimes found in drug stores, end up in the bottom level. These are dramatically reduced in price! They were only 50 cents when I went. Plus, you’re literally underground, so it kind of feels like you’re a spy on a mission to buy cheap novels in a black market book exchange. (“My name is Worm. Book Worm.”)
8. Staff Picks
When I first walked into the Strand, I noticed that some of the books had little handwritten notes attached to them. There is a shelf of staff-selected books, with explanations on why the staff member thought it was special. I ended up buying one of the staff picks, because I felt like the book had just been recommended to me by a friend.
9. The Outdoor Sales
$1 books. Look at that sign. Read it slowly. Read it again. $1 books. No, this is not a false alarm. Outside the Strand, there are some carts set up on the sidewalk, and they all contain massively priced down books. They’re books from all different genres. I saw poetry, essays, cookbooks, and children’s in just on section. Most were gently used, but all were readable. What are you waiting for? Run! Go buy cheap books. I’ll be cheering you on from the top of one of the very tall bookshelves, where I’m sure I can see everything.
10. Proximity To Other Literary Hot-Spots!
The Strand is in New York City, which means it’s minutes away from other amazing bookish sites.* I went to the Morgan Library Museum when I went, which had a visiting Emily Dickinson exhibit. This Museum has a beautiful collection of old books, and the Dickinson exhibit was fantastic. So, why not go to the Strand and have a whole day of fun literary adventures? (Though I could probably spend three weeks in just the Strand. It’s so big! And there are so many books!)
*INCLUDING A BAR OPENING THIS JUNE CALLED ‘OSCAR WILDE.’ I never thought I’d be the kind of person to enjoy going to bars, but that was before they started naming them after literary figures.
p.s. Look at these Emily Dickinson cupcakes! I got a photo of Emily on them for my birthday. Experts speculate that this is the second photo of Emily ever to be discovered, though some are adamant that it’s not her. What do you think? (I think it’s her! She rocks the middle part, the ribbon around the neck, and the doe-eyes in both photos.)