On Sunday, I journeyed with the lovely Danielle downtown to the shop, Books of Wonder. I had no idea that such a phenomenal place existed! It’s only YA and children’s books, and Danielle and I spent much time wandering their aisles, gazing at covers, and cooing over their rare books collection.
Then we were lucky enough to attend the First Time Authors for Teens panel, where five authors premiered their books. Only maybe twenty people were in the audience, so it was very intimate and friendly. Like any masterful storyteller, the authors regaled us with great anecdotes. There was Adi Alasaid, who told us of meeting a homeless man named Ohio, while on a road trip. Ohio proclaimed himself to be the thumb push-up Guinness World Book of Records champion. To this day, Adi has not been able to replicate a single thumb push-up, though not for lack of trying.
There was Isabel Gillies, who has acted on “Law and Order”, and now after writing memoirs has turned to penning fiction. Katharine Howe, who grew up on Bloom County (which I did too, though it flew over my head as a child of the 90s) and writes about witches (still after my heart, there). Amanda Maciel, who managed to write a book while also being a senior editor at Scholastic. And Amy Zhang, who is publishing her first book at age 19!
After we had books signed and managed to drag ourselves out of the panel, Danielle and I went to the Strand, because we were only a few blocks away, and well, why not turn the afternoon into a total BiblioSmiles field trip? Visiting the Strand has been a longtime bucket list item for me, and until now it’s been a taunting failure to myself as a literary New Yorker.
We needed coffee after that, so we stopped at this cafe called the Bean, where they have a communal bookshelf next to the register. Then we wandered around Union Square. I have a feeling it was one of our last beautiful days of the season, so I enjoyed the chance to soak up sunshine while watching kids play, old men play chess, and Hare Krishnas chanting right across from a man holding up a doomsday poster.
New York City, darlings, anything goes.
It was a very successful, very book nerd outing! I loved it. I think finding a niche post-college has been so important. I’m glad that after a year, I’ve managed it. You have to take care of yourself – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. It’s so less exhausting to just be yourself.
There are places and people for every niche. If your thing is sports and drinking, well, then you’re probably going to have an easier go of finding your people. But if your thing is Dungeons and Dragons, or historical reenactment, or tai-chi, or political discourse, well there exists places for you too. Just poke around. Find them.
I have, and am so happy for it.