While I was in New York, I had the opportunity to visit the Strand Bookstore near Union Square. The Strand carries the title of largest independent bookstore in the city, justified by its slogan: “18 miles of books.”
I only had time to explore a small portion of the ground floor, but I did meet Sam, a graduate from Indiana University who moved to New York for a change in pace and environment (learn more about Sam here). We chatted for a while about–what else?–books.
Sam’s favorite authors are David Foster Wallace and Kurt Vonnegut. He recommended A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again and Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace and Slaughterhouse Five, Cat’s Cradle, and Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut.
When he showed me where each of the books were kept in the store, I asked him if he’d ever read If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino, which was sitting near Consider the Lobster. He shook his head. “I have some friends here who swear by Calvino, but I haven’t read him yet. Working in a bookstore makes you realize how book-ignorant you are.”
As a writing major, I’ve learned that this is entirely true. As soon as you begin to meet like-minded people, you immediately realize your own deficiencies. The thing to remember is that you also inspire this feeling in people.
Stay tuned for more book recommendations as I continue to travel the country with Anderson Coach and Travel.