The Strand is very cool. It's much like my favorite local used book store just all kinds of bigger. Everything is beautifully labeled and organized. Having never been there before, and considering its size, I was taken aback at how easy it was to shop unassisted. I walked all over just for the sake of being able to say I did, but I really only paid attention to the fiction section.
I gave myself a budget of fifty dollars and was pleased to only go over by five. I picked up The History of Love by Nicole Krauss and Eight White Nights by Andre Aciman; two of this year's favorite new-to-me authors. I doubled up on Michael Chabon; The Final Solution was a good read on the plane back to Atlanta (review forthcoming) and A Model World and Other Stories will be my introduction to his short stories. I got a copy of BADASS: The Birth of a Legend by Ben Thompson for Christmas and it made me think of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks by Ethan Gilsdorf which I read last year. I found a copy of the latter as a belated Christmas gift. Paul Auster's New York Trilogy--of which I know nothing about except high praise from people smarter than me--rounded things out.
The Strand and the mega-giant Barnes and Noble on Union Square both didn't have a single copy of Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan which I found odd for a book that was only shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won Giller Prize. I'm curious about this book but I was also to be a gift, so I wasn't heartbroken at not being able to find it. Oh well, I'm telling myself that the book is selling extremely well and demand has exhausted supply.
Good thing I don't live in the east village... because I can't afford to. But if I could The Strand and the PDT bar would seriously challenge the integrity of my wallet.