I've wanted to visit the Strand ever since the first time I read Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, in which the Strand is a major character in its own right. If I'd had 24 hours to spend in New York, as was my original plan, I'd probably have spent four of them at Les Mis, five at the Strand, and the rest just wandering around the city in awe.
Anyway! We visited the Museum of Modern Art on the Saturday in New York and I spent about 30 minutes in the room with the wall-length display of one of Monet's ginormous lily paintings (I love Monet, but haven't learned the names of basically anything he painted. Not even the one in my living room), and when we left, I thought about how I should just get a coffee table book of his works and maybe learn something.
... is what I brought home from the Strand. (In addition to the magnet in the photo above.) It's gorgeous, it's huge, and it looks so pretty on my bookshelf. And yes, I've kept the price tag on it for no good reason, except that the price tag reads "Strand Book Store" and I'm not tired of looking at that yet.
It was a toss-up between three books that finally came down to this one because I had already been thinking about it anyway. The other two I was torn between were a beautiful, annotated, hardcover Much Ado About Nothing that had gorgeous illustrations inside (and which I may still buy online, because it was that amazing) and a likewise illustrated, annotated, and all-around gorgeous The Hobbit.
(Edit: here's the Much Ado I'm talking about. Hard to see in the preview how beautiful it is, but trust me. It's fantastic.)
So it's a good thing I ran into Claude here when I did, because otherwise I would have been in the Strand a lot longer than I was.
Incidentally, while I was browsing the 18 miles of books, I overheard a conversation between two other patrons in which one of them denounced the practise of putting a photo from a movie on the cover of a book. Y'all, I found my people. They're at the Strand.
With apologies to our own glorious and beloved Book People here in Austin, of course. They get way more of my money than the Strand ever could.
What's your favourite bookstore?