Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I'm hiding from the cold so here's a post about bookish stuff I've done.

So Canada is cold. Really, really cold. It's about -10 at the moment (a google search says that's 14 F, does that sound right?) and I'm hiding out in my hotel room because I made the mistake in going walking earlier without 15,000 layers on. SILLY KAYLEIGH.

So since I'm sitting here covered in the super warm doona I figured I might as well stop being lazy and write a post. I'll save the full run down for when I get home and grab all my photos off the camera and the holiday is behind me but for now let's talk books. Sounds good right, and so weird for this book blog *nudges you all sharply in the ribs giggling maniacally*

I'm really glad that I decided to only bring the one physical book and rely on my kindle for everything else. Mostly because I have bought TOO MANY books. My bag is about 50kg heavier already and I'm only halfway through my trip. Whoops. But I don't even care, because STRAND! We went back for a second visit after feeling really proud for only buying a single teeny tiny David Sedaris book (Holidays on Ice) and a souvenir magnet. I wasn't so restrained visit 2.

I snatched up a copy of Great Showdowns the Return which is full of adorable illustrations of famous meetups in films, which also happened to be signed by the author. I also found a gorgeous (faux?) leather bound copy of The Woman in White since I loved reading The Moonstone so much. It was also $3, so I can hardly feel guilty about that purchase right? I bought The Night Gwen Stacy Died by Sarah Bruni. I actually haven't ever heard about this book before, but I really liked the blurb and the cover and at this point I already had an armload of books and figured another one wouldn't hurt. And finally I bought a teeny little book called Contradictory, the blurb says it is;
A compendium of conundrums, aphorisms and apercus. 
A glossery of capitalist cant and anarchist argot. 
A lexicon for the lawless. 
 It's full of quotes and alternative dictionary definitions and it's equal parts snarky and fun. I actually think I'll save this one to give as a gift to someone, but I couldn't pass it up. And since I spent so much I got a free tote bag, which is maybe partly why I was OK with constantly piling books into my arms.

There was also a bookstore between our hostel and the train station which was awful and awesome. McJ's (which was short for something but I forgot to note it down) was pretty amazing, they had an actual printing press running in the front window which local writers and poets use to make little books and zines of their work. Coolest or what? I also spotted my first celebrity there, Jared Leto was in there one night when we were walking around the shelves.

And of course I couldn't *not* buy a book there, what with my lifelong crusade to keep independent bookstores alive with my wallet. So I bought Jenni Fagen's Panopticon. It comes with a recommendation from Irvine Welsh so I have certain expectations which I hope it'll meet. Watch this space.

6 books, that's not too bad is it? I mean, it's going to be hell to lug home but on the grand scale of bookish purchases made on holiday they aren't any where near extravagant right*? Amazingly I have managed to go into bookstores without buying books though. I went into Ravens bookstore in Harvard Square and listened to an extremely private and ridiculously loud conversation between two girls about the boy one of the girls was seeing and kissing regularly and a best friend who was no longer a best friend. I checked out a Barnes and Noble to see how America does it's Big Box Bookstores. I've also been into about half a dozen comic book stores across the North East hoping that the final issue of Locke and Key had been released (late again, you're killing me Hill, KILLING ME). By far my favourite were the two in New York but then I've only been in Canada for one day (show me what you've got Canada!) so it's probably not fair to lock in anything definite so far.

I've also managed to get to see a bunch of bookish, non-bookstore things too. In San Francisco we went to the Beat Museum which was less museum and more loving collection of all things Beat writers in a single location. They also have a bookstore section separate from the museum, so if you don't want to spend the $8 (which was probably a little pricey) you could still see some first editions and the full range of work by Beat writers and academics. In New York we visited the literary walk and giggled at the statues (you can totally see up Shakespeare's tunic and Robert Burns looks like he's farting - it's not my fault!) but also sighed over the prettiness of it all. We stopped by the Dakota, not because it was the site of John Lennon's murder (which is such a weirdly morbid stop to make on a holiday), but because it was used in the film Rosemary's Baby. It's a really gorgeous building, perfect for a horror film.

We also went to the NY Jewish Museum where they had an Art Spiegelman exhibit. Sadly they had a no photo policy (I tried to get a sneaky shot but they caught me) but it was phenomenal to see his amazing process. Obviously there was a lot of space dedicated to Maus, there was a recording of the interview he had with his dad to get the story and a bunch of early drafts and concept pictures, but there was also a lot of stuff from before and after that. I only really know Spiegelman for Maus, so I was surprised to see what a subversive comic creator he was. I'll have to track down a bunch more of his work when I get back to Australia. We also saw two shows on broadway, The Book of Morman which was fantastic, and Waiting for Godot, which was so flipping amazing I could barely handle it. Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart were phenomenal in their roles and obviously having the best time. Where do I go to apply to be their best friends? Oh and most important bookish thing I did in New York? I met up with Alley! Stupidly we forgot to get a photo but I swear it happened!

And I think that's about enough for one post - I don't want to melt you faces with holiday overload. I've been reading a fair bit since we've been catching buses between the cities we're visiting, so I think I'll do a big post of mini-reviews for them some time in the next week. But just so you know (because I know this is important to you all),  NOS4R2 (Joe Hill) is amazing, The Circle (Dave Eggers) is terrifying and Bossypants (Tina Fey) is hilarious.

Btw, Christmas soon! Is everyone excited?

*You guys need to answer yes here otherwise I'll keep buying more and more.


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