Hana’s Book Club: Books From New York

Bookshops weren’t on my to-do, to-see or to-go list when I visited New York this summer. In fact, I’ve been resigned about reading for some time now. I keep telling myself I don’t have time to do it, or just find a different excuse.

So I was surprised to find myself walking to a couple of bookstores in New York and enjoy browsing through the titles as I used to long time ago. Here are the books I found that made me want to read again.

1. The Strand, East Village

My first stop was at the famous The Strand book store. Their “18 miles of books” is simply something you can’t step over when you’re in New York.

One of the first books I spotted in The Strand was Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler. The novel captures the story of a 22-year old girl living in New York. In a year of working as a waitress close to Union Square (ironically, The Strand is also close), she “learns the chaotic, punishing, privileged life”. The novel has become a national bestseller being Stephanie Danler’s debut. I saw a lot of praise on TV while I was in New York, so it seemed like a book worth reading.

Address: 828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003-4805

Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York is a book that gives all the love and praise to New York as well as looks at the city’s crazy life. Almost at the end of my trip, I started to feel nostalgic. I think this book will be my chicken soup/comfort food when I really miss New York.

Then, as soon as I book my tickets to New York again, I’ll start reading Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love to New York. Because you can’t say goodbye to New York forever, can you? I definitely know that I’ll be back as soon as I can.

Harry G. Frankfurt, a renowned Princeton academic – On Bullshit. So what exactly is bullshit? Bullshit is what happens in communication, it’s not a lie, it’s not about making a false statement about something that’s true. It’s about making an impression by stating something while not caring whether it’s true or false at all. Which can be pretty dangerous.

2. The Strand at Toby’s Estate, 5th Avenue

When I took a stroll from The Strand to 5th Avenue, I had no idea that the book store behind Toby’s Estate coffee shop is another Strand. I found out when I googled it and I would’ve never guessed it’s the same book store. This branch looks completely sophisticated, almost romantic. Nevertheless, the title I found interesting don’t have such a romantic name, so eventually everything comes to balance.

Address: 160 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

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I couldn’t resist another catchy title written by Aaron James: Assholes. The has a similar spirit as On Bullshit: it starts with understanding who an asshole is but also goes into asshole management. How do you deal with an asshole? In today’s world, this books looks like a really practical guide.

3. Three Lives & Co., West Village

I think West Village was one of my favourite parts of New York. And there I found Three Lives & Co. about which Michael Cunningham said: “One of the greatest book stores on the face of the Earth. I go there when I’m feeling depressed and discouraged, and I always feel rejuvenated.” Enough said, right?

Address: 154 West 10 St, New York, NY 10014

I loved just to stare in their windows. Two titles got my attention here: The Girls, a debut novel by Emma Cline, which tells a story set in 70’s resembling the Manson Family cult.

The second book is Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett. The book tells a story from 60’s London and explores a question, “how far will we go for those we love the most?” I’m looking forward to finding out.