Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NYC, Indie Bookstores & A New Civility

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' NextInspired 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. 


The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

"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"

Hey, we got cultural activities in Los Angeles. There's Road Rage, Parking Hunts and Brush Fires.

Uncultured Clod

Kenda Turner said...

Thanks for the link to IndieBound--I'll be checking it out. I discovered a beautiful little independent bookstore for children this summer--The Blue Marble in Ft. Thomas KY. The store's not new, I just had never visited it before. They've decorated a room upstairs to look like the one in Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon--great fun. Glad to know your trip home from NYC on Sept. 11 went so smoothly...

Lee Rae said...

Megan, I'm reading your brothers new book right now. Wonderful as always!

Megan Frances Abrahams said...

Hi Lee Rae! Great to hear from you again! That's great. My copy of The Dog Who Knew Too Much is on my nightstand. I can't wait to read it.

Lee Rae said...

Megan, I always keep up with your blog and that Pen and Ink guy. I don’t always have time to stop and post a comment. Glad to hear you went to your brothers book signing. I’m hoping one day he will show up in my neck of the woods so I can meet him and get my zillions of books signed. Can you say, “Hand Cramp?”

Megan Frances Abrahams said...

Very funny, Lee Rae! I'm sure Peter would be delighted to sign your books! Thank you so much for checking in on my blog. I'm very flattered!