I had a lovely weekend, beginning with dinner on Friday night with two of my favorite bloggers, Emily and Becky, and various spouses, sisters, and friends at a place called Bloodroot, a self-described feminist vegetarian restaurant and bookstore (the website explains their philosophy, particularly in this essay). Every single one of us got lost on the way there, but it was well worth the trouble of finding our way. It’s basically one large room with books at one end, right next to the kitchen, and tables at the other. Hobgoblin and I arrived first and so had plenty of time to look at the books, which was dangerous, because I came across something I couldn’t resist: Amelia Opie’s Adeline Mowbray, an 18C novel that isn’t widely available. In spite of my best intentions, how could I resist?
The restaurant is a cozy, casual place, the kind of place where you can get to know the owner a bit (which we did) and can easily strike up conversations with strangers (which one person in my group did), and where you’ll find a notice that asks you not to inquire about or comment on the number of calories in the food because it feeds into our culture’s dangerous obsession with body image.
The conversation was lively, which was no surprise, but I was a bit surprised to find fellow athletes and outdoors enthusiasts in the company, and we had fun talking about the local parks and cycling culture. It turns out I’ve been riding my bike past Becky’s house for a long time without knowing it.
Then yesterday Hobgoblin and I headed down to New York City to celebrate my birthday (which is tomorrow — unfortunately no good for celebrations, as it’s my first day of class). We headed for the Morgan Library and Museum, an institution I had never visited, and now I’m wondering why not. Many thanks to Emily, who’s recent post gave me the idea to go. It was fabulous, and I recommend you see it if you get the chance. You can look around Pierpont Morgan’s library, which is stunning — actually you can see his study and his librarian’s office as well as the library, and all three rooms take your breath away. It seemed like he had every book published in the 19C or earlier, every one of them beautifully bound.
The rest of the museum had some wonderful items as well; my favorite part was the medieval and renaissance manuscript collection (all those illuminated manuscripts) and the collection of more modern literary artifacts, including a handwritten page of Joyce’s Ulysses and poems by Auden and Eliot in their handwriting.
Then Hobgoblin and I spent some time in bookstores, this time without buying anything (amazingly enough), had a nice dinner, and headed home. Not a bad way to spend a weekend!