I spent the day surrounded by books and it was great.
Early in the afternoon I went to the Mid-Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library and browsed around there looking for a novel. I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction this year and my roommate, noticing this, recently gave me a novel that she had just finished. I read it in a few days and loved every word. Sometimes it’s nice to get caught up in someone’s fictional life. Knowing that there will be resolution in 200 pages or so is comforting. At the library, I picked up a novel to get me through the week and put in a hold request for a political science book that I’ve been eyeing for a while. (Because understanding the world is, after all, a lot more important than understanding the convoluted family relationships of fictional characters.)
The Stephen A. Schwartzman Building, the NYPL’s research library, is across the street from the Mid-Manhattan Library and I headed over there exclusively to take pictures. As an NYPL member, I actually can take out books from the Schwartzman Building, sit and read in the gorgeous reading rooms, and conduct research. However, most of what I’ve been wanting to read lately is available through regular library circulation so I haven’t taken the opportunity to do that. (Note the word most.)
Once inside, though, I couldn’t stop smiling.
If everything the world’s religions say about life after death is true, I want to end up in a library at the end of my time in this world. Or a bookstore. Maybe I can go the Harry Potter route and come back as a ghost! (Thinking of that, is there a Hogwarts Library ghost? Hermione would know.)
I had planned on checking out an art exhibitions today and it made sense to attend the one at the Morgan Library & Museum, which used to be JP Morgan’s personal library. There are currently exhibits on Martin Luther and Charlotte Brontë, as well as several others. My favorite part by far, however, was exploring the rooms that contained Morgan’s floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. I kept trying to touch the spines of his thousands of volumes of various shapes and sizes, and was continuously disappointed that the museum staff had done such a good job installing glass panes to protect the books from eager fingers like mine. Illuminated manuscripts were on display everywhere, which I so love.
Being around books makes me feel warm and happy, which was perfect considering the dreary day outside. I just love the endless opportunities to learn, imagine, and step into someone else’s world for a while. There’s real magic in that.
I’ve been adding to the reading list that I linked at the beginning of this post and I’ll hit publish on that one before 2016 is over. Keep an eye out and let me know what you’ve been reading!
A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. . . . The man who never reads lives only one. – George RR Martin