NYC Adventures: Books of Wonder

It’s my first full day off in 14 days (FOURTEEN DAYS) and I’m starting it off by writing a blog for you people. Because I love you and truly want you to come along with me on this whirlwind adventure in NYC.

And also I wake up insanely early and there’s nothing else to do because 1) Everyone is at work or 2) People who don’t work day jobs aren’t up yet (it’s 7am EST, btw).

I went to a really cool place, one in which I had a hard time extricating myself due to the massive amounts of awesome sucking me into the building.

First, a little background:

Due to the fact that I am a second child (outpaced by my older sister by a span of 16 months) I spent a significant amount of my childhood playing “catch-up”. I needed to prove to the world that I could do anything she could do and that included teaching myself to read by the age of 4.

From then on, if I had a choice in where my family spent a leisurely Saturday or Sunday, it was always one of two places: the public library or Barnes and Noble. I dragged my mom and my sister to both places, though I can bet my mom was less pleased with the effect of B&N on her purse. “HURRY UP” was often yelled by both as I sat strewn across the floor with a number of volumes in my lap.

The cool thing about being an adult (one of the only cool things since, largely, adulthood stinks) is being able to spend as much time as I want, anywhere that I want.

I remembered seeing a crowd-funding effort by an independent children’s bookstore in NYC a few years ago and knew I wanted to check it out.

I was not disappointed–Books of Wonder offers a massive amount of board books, picture books, middle grade and YA selections, workbooks–anything and everything geared toward the literary desires of young humans. Most of the picture books were also signed by the authors and illustrators, to boot!

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Off to the far left corner of the shop stood the rare and antique selection of books, these costing an insane amount of money. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks movie “You’ve Got Mail” while perusing this section. Meg’s character owns an independent children’s book store called “Shop Around the Corner” which houses a selection of antique and rare finds. Tom Hank’s character Joe Fox (Eff-Oh-Ex), the owner of a bargain books chain store, talks to one of the indie shop assistants, George, about the enormous expense of the rare book:

George: The, uh, illustrations are hand tipped.

Joe: And that’s why it costs so much?

George: No, that’s why it’s Worth so much.

**Obviously, value is in the eye of the beholder.**

Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of books behind those few panes of glass.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of books behind those few panes of glass.

It was thrilling to see such monetary value assigned to simple ink and paper–the thought of one day penning a novel that could accrue what amounts to a yearly income for someone was mind blowing.

I knew I’d be seeing one of my all-time favorites counted among the stacks:

1st Edition Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone signed by J.K. Rowling and with the signature of the illustrator, Mary GrandPré laid in-- $8,500

1st Edition Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone signed by J.K. Rowling and with the signature of the illustrator, Mary GrandPré, laid in– $8,500

Such simple stories by A.A. Milne have become classics over time and the price of these editions confirm it:

Complete set of "Pooh" books-- $8,500

Complete set of “Pooh” books– $8,500

Many of the volumes sheltered from sticky fingers and the elements were worth more than what I am paying for my college education:

"A New Wonderland" by L. Frank Baum from a private collection of an Oz historian in a dust jacket-- $45,000

“A New Wonderland” by L. Frank Baum from a private collection of an Oz historian in a dust jacket– $45,000

One of my nanny kid’s birthdays is quickly approaching and so, after an hour…or maybe 2…I wrenched myself from the stacks, paid for my selection (signed by the author and illustrator), and stepped out into the harsh light of the city sun.

Even now I tick through the amount of free time I may have and wonder when I can go back and spend my life’s savings in such an inspirational place.

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