My mom, who lives in Manhattan, has the best life. She’s out and about five nights out of seven (conservative estimate), partaking of all the city has to offer. Lucky for me, she’s generous with her time and recommendations. She’ll phone me up and say, “There’s a fascinating [insert event] about [insert (obscure) topic] at [insert institution]. Would you like to join me?”
This familiar scenario took a turn for the thrilling on Sunday, when she phoned me up to say, “Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is on display at The Morgan Library. Would you like to go see it with me?” After I spluttered unintelligibly from sheer euphoria and confusion (how did I not know this?!), we made our plans. And yes, as a matter of fact, she will use this event to remind me that I should always, always listen to my mother. She’s not wrong.
The Manuscript (capital M!) is on display through January 10 in Pierpont Morgan’s library, a room of wall-to-wall books. Gorgeous, beautiful, old books. It’s basically heaven, for readers. Continue reading “Literary Places: The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City”
This month, I read three thoroughly enjoyable novels set in Edinburgh, all by Alexander McCall Smith – Sunshine on Scotland Street, Bertie’s Guide to Life and Mothers, and The Sunday Philosophy Club. One name repeatedly invoked by characters is Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet and the creative mind behind a refrain familiar to New Year’s eve revelers the world over: “for auld lang syne.”
In contemporary language, “auld lang syne” translates to “the good old days” or “back in the day,” and the poem indeed exudes warm nostalgia for the days we leave behind us. Instances of the song in popular culture abound. Continue reading “A Poem for New Year’s Eve: “Auld Lang Syne” by Robert Burns”
Sometimes, I think that not reading would actually take more effort for me than reading. Words are my Pied Piper. I see them – on billboards, boxes, or between the covers of a book – and I must follow them to see where they’ll take me. I am that person who reads signage out loud without realizing it, who gets distracted by the text on cereal boxes, and who is compelled to stop and inspect bookshelves and book displays wherever I find them (hotel lobbies, hair salons, craft grocery stores – just you name it).
Except … poetry. For me to read poetry takes a concerted effort. Meaning I have to remind myself, oh go read a poem, why dontcha? I’m always happy I did, but I have to remind myself to do it. Continue reading “Literary Excursions: The Wallace Stevens Walk in Hartford, Conn.”