Bookstore of the Month: Kinokinuya

On the edge of Bryant Park, smack dab in Midtown, is a giant Japanese bookstore called Kinokinuya. Apparently an international chain, it features everything from current bestsellers (in English) to manga to books on Japanese travel and history and architecture. On the second floor is a cafe with a blend of Western and Japanese treats, including some pastries filled with bean paste, if that’s your thing.



Respecting the Reader

There’s a stack of unread books that moved to New York with me that I’m determined to get through, one way or another. Some are titles I bought for myself; some I picked up because they were free or cheap at library sales; a few were gifted to me, or handed to me because the owner didn’t know what to do with them. Not all of them look interesting to me, but because my parents and I went to the trouble of boxing them up, driving them across the country, and lugging them into my new life, I have resolved to try each and every one of those books (sooner, rather than later). Continue reading

Bookstore of the Month: Mysterious Bookshop

One of my favorite bookstore experiences so far in New York has been at the Mysterious Bookshop on 58 Warren Street. The occasion was a book launch, an intimate party celebrating the publication of my former writing teacher Justin Kramon’s second book, The Preservationist (a dark psychological thriller well worth the read).

Even if you don’t have a book party to attend, however, the Mysterious Bookshop is a one-of-a-kind store. Specializing in (you guessed it) mysteries, the inventory is specific, expansive, and excellent. You can get the latest suspense novel, first editions of classics, and whatever it is that falls into my new favorite word, “Sherlockiana.” Even their decor will put you in the mood for a mystery: staff-only sections are marked with crime scene tape.

The Mysterious Bookshop

In other mystery news, the latest in my favorite Molly Murphy Mysteries series is out today! Guess where you’ll find me picking up my copy…

Alicia Catherine Mant, the Cottage in the Chalk-Pit, and Jane Austen

This Christmas, my grandmother gave me a very cool present: a copy of The Cottage in the Chalk-Pit by Alicia Catherine Mant.

The Cottage in the Chalk-Pit was first published in London in 1822 (under the name Catherine Alicia Mant) by Harvey and Darton on Gracechurch Street. Basically a morality tale for Regency children, it is the story of a rich middle-class family that loses its fortune and how each of the four children conquers their vices to become industrious, responsible mini-adults before their father’s wealth is restored. While a little heavy-handed in morals, Alicia Catherine Mant does a good job of portraying engaging, lovable characters and contriving interesting circumstances in which they can learn their lessons.

The book isn’t just cool because it’s old, though. It turns out that Alicia Catherine Mant is the sister to my great-something-grandfather, Bishop Richard Mant. As if being the descendant of a novelist (a female novelist in pre-Victorian England!) isn’t awesome enough, there’s more: Alicia and Richard grew up in Southampton as the children of Reverend Richard Mant, rector of All Saints. When Jane Austen moved to Southampton to live with her brother Frank, she attended the All Saints church with Mant as her reverend, as mentioned in some of her letters.

Though Jane Austen died several years before The Cottage in the Chalk-Pit was published, I like to think that she and Alicia sat around tea discussing characters, plot-lines, and the woes of getting one’s stories printed just as my friends and I do now (only we substitute the tea with chocolate). In any case, I hope that talent is an inheritable trait.