Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Strand is my crackhouse

I just got back from a great weekend in NY/NJ with some very dear friends. It was both exhausting and restorative, I have to say. It's always a bit draining for me to be out of my element--I'm sleeping differently, I'm eating differently, I'm generally moving about differently. But being around those you love, those who care about you, especially after a long absence, can be good for the soul. I kinda needed that.

I arrived at Casa Decker ( le Maison sur Concord?) in Jersey City on Friday afternoon, and after a brief pause (in which I unpacked my car, brushed my teeth and got a parking ticket), Tim and I headed into NYC--first to an Italian market (Eataly--you should go, it was pretty awesome. I got a chocolate bar covered in pine nuts) then to my own personal crack dealer, the Strand.

"Is there anything in particular you're looking for?" Tim asked on our way there.

I shrugged. "No. Not really. I'm sure I'll find something."

That "something" turned out to be five books in about 10 minutes. Maybe less. I'll have to check with Tim, but I think this is a record for me.

I don't know how it happened. I saw a sign indicating books under $10 and it just happened. I mean, how can you turn down Gogol's Dead Souls for $7.25, or Rivka Galachen's Atmospheric Disturbances for five bucks? I also managed to snag a copy of James Baldwin's Go Tell it on the Mountain for about the same price and Orhan Pamuk's White Castle (it's about teeny tiny hamburgers, I've heard), too. Found WG Sebald's first novel, Vertigo, and I'm halfway through it. I had to stop there, though. That's the problem with spending time in CrackBooktown--you've got to haul your books all over the city for the next few hours. Of course in my case, it was Tim who schlepped them around. He came prepared too, Brought a backpack and everything.

I left New Jersey with six books, however. When we back to the apartment Friday night, my friend Simon gave me William H. Gass's In the Heart of the Heart of the Country. 

A weekend filled with music, friends, and books. I wish every day could be like that.

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