Literary Travel

Bluestockings — A Radical Bookstore Treasure in NYC’s Lower East Side

Do you remember feminist bookstores (for those of you old enough to remember, that is)? Oh, and do you remember independent bookstores in Manhattan? For a while, there were less than a dozen, but that seems to be on the upswing, and amazingly, there are lots and lots of indie bookstores in Brooklyn and Queens.

One of Manhattan’s few independent bookstores (and only feminist bookstore) is Bluestockings, located in the lively Lower East Side.

It’s more than than a repository for feminist thought; their shelves are filled with a beautifully curated selection of more than 6,000 titles on queer and gender studies, resistance/liberation, capitalism, climate, race, and a selection of rad children’s books. Also on the shelves are zines, journals, and poetry collections. Read More→


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A Book Lover’s Reykjavik — Bookstores, Libraries, and Book Culture

Before my first visit to Iceland in the summer of 2018, when I spent the entire month of August at a writer/artist residency, I knew very little about the country generally and even less about its capital — especially that I’d find so many lovely bookstores and libraries in Reykjavik.

And prior to that trip, I’d been so busy that I had no time to do much research. I relied on word of mouth from friends who had visited and took a leap of faith that it would be a good experience.

Of course, I had seen photos of the otherworldly landscapes, but I would have only the shortest time in which to explore them; my stay was mainly within the confines of Reykjavik. And that turned out to be absolutely beyond fine. In fact, for a nerd and bookworm like myself, it was blissful. Read More→


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A Pilgrimage to Harper Lee’s Monroeville, Alabama, “Maycomb” of To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee continues to be one of the most frequently taught novels in American high schools and is beloved by readers of all persuasions. The Pulitzer Prize-winning book has sold more than forty million copies and has been translated into some forty languages.

After a gap of fifty-six years, the 2016 publication of Go Set a Watchman set off a fervor of renewed interest in the famously private (though not, as myth would have it, reclusive) author.

No wonder, then, that Harper Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, draws thousands of visitors each year who arrive to pay homage to her literary legacy. Read More→


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3 Book Towns in North America

Whether you call it a Boekenstad, Village du Livres, Bokby, or Bókabæirnir, from Canada to Korea, and from Iceland to Australia, a movement to create book towns is growing. By visiting these towns you’re not only helping to save the printed book; you’re helping to keep communities alive. 

In hamlets, villages and towns around the world, like-minded booksellers, calligraphers, bookbinders, curators, publishers, and architects are coming together to ensure a future for the printed book, defying the e-book onslaught, and providing a new future for fading communities. 

Excerpted and adapted from Book Towns: Forty-Five Paradises of the Printed Word by Alex Johnson. It’s the first book to bring all of these towns together, offering a unique history of each one, and encouraging readers to seek them out. Frances Lincoln Books/Quarto Publishing, plc, ©2018, reprinted by permission. Read More→


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The Morgan Library and Museum Presents: It’s Alive! Frankenstein at 200

For fans of the hugely influential 1818 novel Frankenstein and admirers of its author, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, late fall 2018 – early winter 2019 was an exciting time at The Morgan Library and Museum. This lovely museum celebrated the 200th anniversary of the publication of this classic with a fascinating exhibit.

For more on the curation and development of this exhibit, see our related post, It’s Alive! Frankenstein at 200. Learn more about the exhibit here. The show was introduced as follows: Read More→


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