If there’s one thing I can thank New York for, it’s for helping me fall in love with books and reading all over again. I always loved reading for as long as I could remember, but as the story normally goes, once you’re up to your eyes in college work it’s difficult to keep up reading that isn’t directly relevant to your coursework. I have always gone back to my books during the summer between semesters, but this time around was able to read at a volume I just hadn’t met during previous summers. Part of it was probably because I had finished college, and for the first time I wasn’t going to be facing another semester of assigned readings and it felt like I had total freedom over what I was going to read. But being in New York felt like the perfect setting for falling back into a world of books.
I’ve written before that the Strand Bookstore was one of my favourite places in New York because being surrounded by books is one of my favourite situations to be in. I ended up back in the Strand every few weeks to buy another book, or a pile of books, to keep me going.
I spent a lot of my time on the subway since I was living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan. Sometimes it can get a little frustrating if you have a 40 minute subway ride, no 3G signal and only so many songs you can listen to offline on Spotify. I noticed every time I got the subway there would be at least one person reading and always wished I had something to read too, so I got in the habit of bringing my book out in the morning, and then I never went anywhere without it. More than once, people sitting close to me would look at me, look at my book, then say to their friend “look at that! You never see anyone reading a real book anymore!” (seriously, this happened a lot). I started to look forward to getting the subway so that I could get back into my book, and if I went to get a coffee or to sit in a park, I had something to read while I did.
Looking back on my summer in New York I have a lot of mixed feelings about my time there. But if anything, I am glad New York City gave me the opportunity to discover what it was that I loved about reading so much.
On a related note, the Dublin Book Festival is coming up in a few weeks, from the 10th – 13th November with a whole load of different events happening over the four days. Take a look at what’s happening at dublinbookfestival.com