Friday, August 24, 2007


Bookman Beattie pays flying visit to one of his favourite cities for a surprise birthday party for his daughter.

We arrived at our hotel in Manhattan at 6.00pm Wednesday evening and after a quick shower and change of clothes walked two hundred metres to the Bubble Lounge where we walked in on my daughter and her husband (he was in the know) and four of their friends who were all enjoying a glass of champagne. Huge surprise for my daughter who let out a scream that briefly silenced the bar! Then on to Landmarc restaurant for the birthday dinner.

I spent this morning at one of the New York's finest, and oldest (established 1927) bookstores - Strand Books - - they have two branches, one at 828 Broadway and the other, Stand Annex at 85 Fulton St which is the branch I was at - it is between the Fiancial District and South St Seaport. Their byline is "18 miles of books". I love this place and could happily spend several days browsing and buying. Today I had to be satisfied with three hours, one book and one baseball cap!

The book is McSWEENEY'S 23, a quarterly publication in hardcover.

Issue 23 includes ten stories from ten excellent writers, including Wells Tower, Chris Bachelder, Ann Beattie, and other agile talents bringing visions of the Dallas/Fort Worth fake-watch trade and Papua New Guinea in the 1960s. Every story gets its own front and back cover, drawn, collaged, or embroidered by the polymathic Andrea Dezsö. The whole thing is wrapped in a jacket that unfolds into five square feet of double-sided glory--spread it out one way for dozens of very short stories by Dave Eggers, arranged in what we're pretty sure is a volvelle; flip it over and witness all those Dezsö illustrations stitched into one unbroken expanse.

A most impressive piece of literarypublishing. I will do some research on McSweeney's and write about them in a later posting.

Now it is time to get out on the streets. Greetings to you all from the city that never sleeps! We leave to return home Sunday so only the briefest of visits.

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