It may seem like a string of non-sequiturs, but this post is about society after 9/11, culture -- and a wonderful indie source I stumbled on for news on kid's books.
I just returned from a week in New York City. I flew home on Sunday -- the ten-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. It was a little disconcerting to fly out of the city on that day. I woke up early and hailed a cab on Riverside Boulevard, overlooking the Hudson. The streets were calm. Police cars stood by at intervals, on the alert, their presence a welcome source of comfort. Now, in the post 9/11 era, our citizens are seasoned, prepared. We've shed our foolish naivete like an outgrown skin.
At the airport, a curious air of order prevailed. Everyone was especially considerate and polite, as if the occasion mandated a new unwritten standard for civility and respect. The kindness and consideration were contagious. I wished for a utopia where this could be the norm. When we boarded the plane, the man in the seat next to me took out his Sunday New York Times, and I took out mine. We both read throughout the five-hour flight, enjoying the quiet, exchanging nothing but smiles. It was a relief to arrive home without incident.
During my visit, I was able to take advantage of the kinds of cultural activities that for some reason, seem more accessible in New York than Los Angeles - a play, a dance performance, a couple of art exhibits, as well as a book signing.
In an era when bookstores are becoming obsolete, it's reassuring to discover a new independent bookseller. The week I was in New York, my brother had a signing for his latest book, The Dog Who Knew Too Much, (Spencer Quinn - Atria Books/Simon & Schuster) at Word, a delightful Brooklyn bookstore.
While I explored Word's great kid's book section, I came across a newsletter about children's literature I'd never seen before. This excellent resource from independent booksellers, Kids' Next: Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers, provides capsule synopses of a selection of titles from picture books to YA. To view the Kids' Next list online -- as well as more independent bookseller recommendations -- visit Indiebound.org, a movement of the American Booksellers Association.
What were the highlights of your summer?
Coming up soon -- fall reading, guest interviews, banned book week and much more.