Sunday, April 4, 2010

Glorious New York update, gallery hopping, book hopping, book shopping, collapsing in a heap...

What a glorious New York day I had yesterday! Had brunch with a friend in from L.A. Then met The Ragazzo and we walked the Highline (left), an innovative urban landscape made from a disused elevated structure used for unloading freight train cars in the 1930s, with native plantings, viewing areas of New York streets, places to sit and enjoy a picnic or a read. On your next trip to NYC, be sure to walk it.

Departing the Highline in the West 20s, we went gallery hopping - there are a couple of hundred galleries in the Chelsea neighborhood. Highlights were a Patrick Pietropoli show at Axelle Galerie, he paints wonderful Canaletto influenced contemporary cityscapes, as well as a group show at Gallery Henoch. I particularly enjoyed the work of Richard Combes (left) and Steve Smulka (below).

It was but a short walk to Three Lives Bookstore - my favorite. And then we dropped exhaustedly into two seats at Cafe Loup, for a cozy dinner and home to read and rest my weary feet.

I'm working on a pile of books right now and spent time last night with three of them. Antony Beevor is known for bringing World War II history to vivid life through his writing. The Fall of Berlin 1945 is a fascinating subject, but I find I just cannot get my head around history when it involves endlessly moving battalions around. I don't know if I'm going to make it through this one, although I don't think its any fault of Mr. Beevor's. I suppose some people probably feel the same way reading about the brain.

Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain continues to amuse. Hans Castorp is thoroughly ensconced in the Davos sanitorium, having been upgraded from visitor to patient. In the days before antibiotics, tuberculosis treatment consisted of rest, food, and fresh air (and usually eventually dying of the disease). Think lying about in blankets, a few x-rays, frustrated romance, and much philosophizing.

I received an ARC of Howard Norman's new novel What is Left the Daughter, due out this summer. I am making slow progress through what amounts to a literary legacy written as a long letter from father to daughter that is intended to lay bare long kept secrets. The form of address is personal yet the writing of the events is distant. I'm finding the disconnect is leaving me feeling uninvested, but I will read on.

I'm looking forward to a few new treasures. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay is a novel set in Nazi occupied Paris and, judging from the rapt reading of the woman across from me on the subway the other day, is an enveloping read. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist sees Western culture as having evolved the way it has due to the assymetrically divided human brain. When in doubt, just chalk everything up to the "split brain." This looks to either be a fascinating and original take on history or the kind of book that will make me want to scream. Obviously I am hoping it will be the latter. I'm also looking forward to Richard Bausch's new collection of stories: Something is Out There. I read bits of them one day in a bookstore and was hooked instantaneously.

And how was your weekend?


Marie Cloutier said...

How fun! sounds like you're having a great time. NYC is the best. I read Sarah's Key a while back; I'll be interested to see what you think. Most people like it a lot :-)

Kathleen said...

Sounds like a wonderful day in New York!

Anne Camille said...

What a great day. I've been wanting to walk on the High Line. Maybe next time I'm in NYC the weather will cooperate with such plans.