Uff – It’s good to be back home! I’ve spent some days in New York for work and the day after I got back I had to fly to Munich for a big trade fair. In NY I had time to walk around and do some book shopping, visit the Public Library (thanks for the tip Wallace!), but unfortunately I only got a few glimpses of Munich through the window of several taxis.
I’d also like to announce that during this trip I’ve discovery another benefit of being a bookworm! I’m not an easy air traveller and turbulence always makes me anxious. Usually I get distracted with music, movies and games, but this particular plane had no individual screens and my iPod quickly ran out of battery after an hour of playing Patience. So what did I decide to do at a time of turbulence? I opened my computer and tried to list by memory my entire TBR list, all 172 books. You’ll be happy to know that I managed 152 and it did relax me. I remember at one point trying to write “White Oleander” and not really managing for all the shaking. :S
So here’s my New York loot. I tried to get books set in the city as much as possible.
Washington Square by Henry James. I ate an ice-cream there on the first day of my trip, so when I spotted it at the 5th Av’s Barnes & Noble, I knew it had to be mine.
“The plot of Washington Square has the simplicity of old-fashioned melodrama: a plain-looking, good-hearted young woman, the only child of a rich widower, is pursued by a charming but unscrupulous man who seeks the wealth she will presumably inherit. On this premise, Henry James constructed one of his most memorable novels, a story in which love is answered with betrayal and loyalty leads inexorably to despair.” (GR)
The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt. The first time I was in NY I stayed at the Hotel New Yorker, so I also couldn’t resist this one when it looked at me from the shelves of The Strand.
“From the moment Louisa first catches sight of the strange man who occupies a forbidden room on the thirty-third floor, she is determined to befriend him.Unbeknownst to Louisa, he is Nikola Tesla—inventor of AC electricity and wireless communication—and he is living out his last days at the Hotel New Yorker.” (GR)
Away by Amy Bloom. I bought Away for a bit of the gritty Lower East Side.
“Panoramic in scope, Away is the epic and intimate story of young Lillian Leyb, a dangerous innocent, an accidental heroine. When her family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian comes to America alone, determined to make her way in a new land. When word comes that her daughter, Sophie, might still be alive, Lillian embarks on an odyssey that takes her from the world of the Yiddish theater on New York’s Lower East Side, to Seattle’s Jazz District, and up to Alaska, along the fabled Telegraph Trail toward Siberia.” (GR)
Cordelia Underwood: Or, The Marvelous Beginning of the Moosepath League by Van Reid. Why hadn’t I heard of this one before? It sounds right up my alley.
“In the summer of 1896 in Portland, Maine, several people are embarking on adventures of a most audacious and entertaining nature. Cordelia Underwood finds, in the newly discovered sea chest of her late uncle, the deed to a large parcel of land. Cordelia and her family soon suspect that a mystery surrounds her land, that something on it might hold the key to a secret two centuries old.” (GR)
Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. This was the only book in the loot that I actively looked for. I first saw it on GoodReads’ list of best books set in New York. Really looking forward to it.
“New York City is subsumed in arctic winds, dark nights, and white lights, its life unfolds, for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination, the greatest house ever built, and nothing exists that can check its vitality. One night in winter, Peter Lake—orphan and master-mechanic, attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. Though he thinks the house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the love between Peter Lake, a middle-aged Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young girl who is dying of consumption. Peter Lake, a simple, uneducated man who, because of a love which at first he does not fully understand, is driven to stop time and bring back the dead.” (Wikipedia)
Forever by Pete Hamill. I’ve heard of Pete Hamill before, always associated to NY, so it seemed like an good choice. This city is a good place for a bit of magic realism.
“Epic tale of an extraordinary man who arrives in New York in 1740 and remains … forever. Through the eyes of Cormac O’Connor – granted immortality as long as he never leaves the island of Manhattan – we watch New York grow from a tiny settlement on the tip of an untamed wilderness to the thriving metropolis of today.” (GR)
Have you read any of these?