Brooklyn Bookstore Crawl.

On April 30th, Brooklyn became the place for bibliophiles and literature buffs to be. It was a way for us to appreciate and show some love to the independent bookstores in our city.

Mackenzie and I signed up for the newsletter and we were prepped to go.
We printed out the map distributed by Brooklyn Bookstore Crawl.

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Our Map. You could Meet the Bookstores here.

We started at the Unnameable Bookstore.
Our first task was to take a photo of the Wall of Stuff.
In this tiny used bookstore, wall to wall, ceiling to ceiling of books – we found this wall. The wall is all the things employees of the bookstore has found inside used books.

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The Wall of Stuff @ Unnameable Bookstore

From there, we headed to Stories Bookshop and Storytelling Lab.
This bookstore was a brand spankin’ new bookstore nestled in between two stores with a blank awning. The Doughnut Plant was situated on the corner: a perfect place to grab a good ol’ cuppa and a heavenly doughnut. It was the very first day of opening and I was so glad to have been there on a special day in their independent bookstore life!
Our task for this bookstore was to find our favorite childhood book and post a photo of it with a quote.

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Nikki || Favorite Childhood Book & Quote || “…he was a beautiful butterfly!” 

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Mackenzie || Favorite Childhood Book & Quote || “As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”

After diving back into our childhood and letting the nostalgia eats us alive, we walked to Greenlight Bookstore. On our way, we went through the most beautiful, greenest street of Brooklyn I’ve ever seen. The street ended with a mural dedicated to Biggie (aka: Notorious BIG) and some exuberantly painted cafes.
Our task was to take a selfie in the author photo booth.

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Selfie in the Author Photo Booth!

Now, this next bookstore I was most excited about because I heard there is a resident pug that chills here. As an animal lover and an owner of a pug, I couldn’t control my excitement. I entered the bookstore and started squealing because Remy the Pug was there and kissing me like never before! Oh, and that was our task: a picture with (or of) Remy!
Remy the Pug resides at Grumpy Bert, a really cool bookstore of comics and odds & ends. The owners were incredibly kind, too.

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Remy the Pug!

Our fifth bookstore was Book Court, a bookstore I’ve been longing to visit. They had a whole section for young ones, and just books upon books in wide open spaces for you to chill. Our task here was to take a selfie with our favorite book. I scoffed at that simply because there is no possible way I can choose just ONE book. Instead, I went around the store, collecting my faves, piling ’em on top of one another. I’m surprised I didn’t topple over. Mackenzie did the same with a much lighter stack.

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Nikki || Well, I couldn’t just pick one, could I? || Bottom to top: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell ; One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García-Márquez ; The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath ; The (entire) Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

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Mackenzie || Some of her favorite books || A Ken Follet Novel ; A Prayer for Owen Meany ; Pride & Prejudice ; Sherlock Holes ; Devil in the White City ; To Kill A Mockingbird.

Our next bookstore was number six on the list. To be qualified for any prizes, we only needed five. But we were on a roll! We headed to Freebird Books, a tiny bookstore in the middle of nowhere. Our task was to take a picture with a book from the Bad Title Shelf. Well…

Our seventh and last bookstore of a very long walking day was WORD Bookstore in Williamsburg. It’s a tiny bookstore where Gotham does a lot of their free events in the basement. It was also really close to our coworker’s vintage pop-up shop. So, while we were out supporting independent bookstores, we wanted to show a bit of support to independent shops, as well. Our last task of the evening was to choose a book and say who you think would do the audiobook.

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Mackenzie chose Bill Murray.

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Nikki chose Anna Kendrick.

Our bibliographic day came to a close with some Dunkin Donuts and a pit-stop at Mackenzie’s. Followed by a long bus ride home for me.

But all in all, it was totally worth it. It was a fantastic day filled with books and great company.

I hope this isn’t a one-time deal. I would love for a Brooklyn Bookstore Crawl next year… and the following… and the following… because it was just that fun. Any bookstores I didn’t make it to this year, I want to hit next year.

This bookstore crawl even gave me an idea to continue it into the summer with Mackenzie. Something to do. New places to see. And more books to sniff (yes, I am a book-sniffer).

The Klementinum Library | Prague, Czech Republic

Have you seen this place?! My biblophile heart exploded.
Before I get into the most magnificent pictures of this library, here’s a bit of history on it:

This amazing place was founded in 1232 and is part of a complex building series, the oldest and most historic in Prague’s Old Town. There are three major buildings within the Klementinum —

  • Mirror Chapel: a truly beautiful and unique chapel built in 1724, with extensive frescos and carvings. Houses two 18th century organs, one played by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on his visits to the Klementinum.
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  • Baroque Library Hall: stunning home of the Czech National Library, housing 20,000 books from the early 17th century onwards. The hall is decorated with magnificent ceiling frescoes, and remains unaltered since the 18th century.

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  • Astronomical Tower: 172 steps lead to the top of the tower for 360° views over Prague. A lift operates only part of the way, so not for visitors with walking difficulties. On the 2nd floor of the tower is the Meridian Hall, which was designed to determine noon.
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And some more info, thanks to Wiki:

  • At one time the Clementinum was known as the third largest Jesuit college in the world.
  • The oldest weather recording in the area of the Czech lands started in Clementinum in the year 1775. The recording continues through the present day.[2]
  • The Clementinum is mentioned in “The Secret Miracle” by Jorge Luis Borges. The main character has a dream of the library of Clementinum where the librarians look for God in the books of the library. One of the librarians says:God is in one of the letters of one of the pages of one of the four hundred thousand books of Clementinum. My fathers and the fathers of my fathers have looked for this letter; I myself have gone blind looking for it. So, a reader enters and delivers an atlas for the main character, saying that this atlas is useless. The main character opens the book at random, and find a map of India, touching one of its minimum letters and, then, finds God.
  • The Baroque library hall inside Clementinum is known for its beautiful interior, including ceiling artwork by Jan Hiebl.

I could just stare at the library images all day.
And since I’ll be studying in London for two years, a flight (one-way) is roughly $50. How could I pass up a weekend trip to this beauty?!

Coming to you in May!

Every month, Goodreads sends me an e-mail of soon-to-be published books. This month, they included a few books that I’d really like to get my hands on. And if I do, that’ll add more books to my 300+ to-be-read shelf. But hey, if literature makes me happy, so be it! I’ll get around to those books soon. I have another 90+ years of life, right? ;D

Here are the books that stole my attention:

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If I WasYour Girl by Meredith Russo
Release date: May 3rd

TL;DR: A new kind of big-hearted novel about being seen for who you really are.

Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda’s terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love?

Meredith Russo’s If I Was Your Girl is a universal story about feeling different—and a love story that everyone will root for.

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The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release date: May 17th

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

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Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand
Release date: May 17th

THINGS FINLEY HART DOESN’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT
• Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
• Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
• Never having met said grandparents.
• Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)

Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real–and holds more mysteries than she’d ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.

With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.

Reality and fantasy collide in this powerful, heartfelt novel about family, depression, and the power of imagination.

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Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
Release date: May 31st

TL;DR: From the New York Times‒bestselling author of The Vacationers, a smart, highly entertaining novel about a tight-knit group of friends from college—their own kids now going to college—and what it means to finally grow up well after adulthood has set in.

Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring.

Back in the band’s heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adults’ lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose—about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them—can never be reclaimed.

Straub packs wisdom and insight and humor together in a satisfying book about neighbors and nosiness, ambition and pleasure, the excitement of youth, the shock of middle age, and the fact that our passions—be they food, or friendship, or music—never go away, they just evolve and grow along with us

The second to last book, Some Kind of Happiness, is considered to be a children’s book. But I added it because I have yet to read a book about a child facing depression. It is this exact kind of book I wish I would have read growing up. I am beyond happy that a book, such as Some Kind of Happiness, is being published and marketed towards the younger generation. I am sure it’ll bring about a good, positive conversation about mental illness amongst youngsters and how to cope.

If you’re looking for more books that are soon-to-be published, take a look at The Millions’ Most Anticipated: The Great 2016 Book Preview I – Spring and Summer and Flavorwire’s The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2016. Oh, and I would like to apologize for causing you to completely deflate your bank account due to the crazy amount of books you’ll soon be purchasing 😛

☆ Nikki