Friday, July 31, 2015

My Favorite Beach Books

Well, it's almost August and we're definitely hitting the beach, the lakes and the pools. But what to put in the beach bag? Here are some suggestions- some recent, some older titles but all good juicy reads for when you want to relax.

Viper Wine, by Hermione Eyre. This one is still out in hardcover, and it's an unusual and lively story about the quest for beauty and youth, set in the era of British king Charles 1.

Unbecoming, by Rebecca Scherm. Also from this year, Scherm's novel follows the escapades of a thief and forger from her home in the American South, to New York City, Paris and beyond.

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, is the Pulitzer-winning blockbuster also about the world of art and theft, but with a more morally redeeming hero. I think I like Scherm's character better but if you haven't read The Goldfinch you pretty much have to.

Climates, by Andre Maurois. Changing tacks to a frothy romance, Climates is an older book recently translated into English, about husbands and wives and lovers in early 20th century Paris, a gilded-age soap opera.

Skios, by Michael Frayn. The man who brought you "Noises Off" returns with a silly farce set in the Greek isles. You'll feel the sunshine through the page.

Round Ireland with a Fridge, by Tony Hawks. The British comedian takes a bet and sets off on a comic journey through the Emerald Isle. It's the next best thing to going to Ireland yourself.

Summertime All the Cats are Bored, by Philippe Georget. The first in a series of noirs follows a coffee-loving detective as he tries to solve a gruesome kidnapping and murder.

Happy Ending, by Francesca Duranti. A bittersweet love story set in the Italian hills, Duranti's novel will have you tearing up by the end and feeling the sun on your shoulders.

Random Violence, by Jassy Mackenzie. One of my favorite new-to-me crime writers startles with the first book in her dark series starring Detective Jade de Jong. If you read crime you've got to be reading her South African thrillers.

Agent Zigzag, by Ben Macintyre. Some nonfiction now, a fascinating tale of World War 2 espionage, love and loyalty.

Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese. A required-reading contemporary classic about two brothers and the paths they cut from India to Ethiopia to New York to Boston. Amazing book.

Beautiful Maria of My Soul, by Oscar Hijuelos. Before his posthumous novel comes out this fall, read this racy, fun novel about the travails and life of beautiful Maria.

So there you go. Hope you are having a great summer and reading lots of fun books! The fall is going to bring us some heavy things- new Atwood, new Mitchell, new Franzen, new Irving and more. But let's have some fun reading while the sun's still hot and save those serious books for the indoor time of year.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review: THE PATRON SAINT OF UGLY, by Marie Manilla

The Patron Saint of Ugly, by Marie Manilla. Published 2014 by Mariner Books. Literary Fiction.

I came across The Patron Saint of Ugly during one of my forays into the bookstore after dinner; it appealed to me because it's about a redhead with a physical disfigurement, which is one description of myself. It also appealed to me because it's about Catholic mysticism and saints, a subject I find endlessly fascinating. The story focuses on Garnet Ferrari, born in Sweetwater, West Virginia, to an Italian father and Wasp mother. She's born covered in constantly-changing portwine stains that cover her entire body, and a head of flaming red hair, harkening back to an ancestor who died a Catholic martyr.

The book interleaves her growing-up story with the various myths, legends and secrets surrounding her family, especially her Italian grandmother's difficult relationship with Garnet's grandfather. Along the way we meet both sides of Garnet's family and some of her neighbors. Garnet's appearance makes her either an object of pity or condescension; her father adores Garnet's golden-blond brother Nicky, as do most of Garnet's community, and Garnet grows up feeling unwanted and unloved. Her grandmother believes that Garnet has healing powers and over the course of her young life many other people come to believe it too, until she becomes an unwitting celebrity and center of controversy.

This is a bittersweet light read that reminded me of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County and other books about misfits. Garnet is appealing and richly developed and the mythology around her was fun and intriguing. Mostly though her story is kind of sad, about a lonely girl who becomes even more isolated as she becomes more famous. Eventually she gathers a small group of misfit women around her, forming a sweet kind of family-by-choice. It's not a perfect life, but it's not so bad, and it's a quick, enjoyable and colorful read.

Rating: BEACH

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.

Monday, July 27, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

As you know if you saw my last post, I finished and really enjoyed Alfa 1300 and Other Miracles, a comic novel by Fabio Bartolomei.
This weekend I started reading A Pigeon and a Boy, by Meir Shalev. It's about pigeon handlers on kibbutz and in the Israeli arm have had this in my TBR pile for a long time and it was next on the pile. I love just pulling something off that shelf and delving into it. When I went on Twitter on Friday morning for #FridayReads and said I was reading this book, someone immediately tweeted back "that's such a beautiful book." I took that as a good sign and so far I have to agree.

What are you reading? See more at

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: ALFA ROMEO 1300 AND OTHER MIRACLES, by Fabio Bartolomei

Alfa Romeo 1300 and Other Miracles, by Fabio Bartolomei. Published 2012 by Europa Editions. Literary Fiction. Translated from the Italian by Antony Shugaar.

Alfa Romeo 1300 and Other Miracles is as about as delightful a novel about serious issues as you are likely to find. Four middle aged guys- a grocery store operator, a car salesman, and a TV pitchman- meet when they independently pick the same day to view a property in the Italian countryside ideal for transforming into a bed and breakfast. Individually it's out of their price range but together they can swing it. They open their dream B&B, and then they take on the mob.

The fun begins when an elderly representative from the local organized crime ring comes calling regarding the mens' new business. What happens next, and next, is not what I expected. I don't even want to tell you too much about the basic premise because I enjoyed watching it unfold and wouldn't want to ruin that for you. What I will say is that as the men build their dream, they get to know each other and assemble a band of friends and helpers including Elisa the cook and an African immigrant named Abu, whose help proves essential as events swirl around them and their new "family." The guys get up to some pretty crazy stuff, and they almost get away with it.

Almost but not quite also describes the fate of the bed and breakfast. At the end of they day they do all succeed in changing their lives, but not the way they think they will. The book is part black comedy, part social commentary, and completely enjoyable. I definitely recommend this one for the beach bag.

This is my 13th book for the 2015 Europa Challenge. You can participate at

Rating: BEACH

FTC Disclosure: I received this book from Europa Editions for review.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Europa Challenge Catch-Up Part 2

Well now I've officially surpassed my goal of 12 Europa books, having just read my 13th, Fabio Bartolomei's delightful Alfa Romeo 1300 and Other Miracles. I will admit I haven't loved them all unreservedly but there have definitely been some gems.

Billie, by Anna Gavalda. I liked this okay but didn't love it. The narration was somewhat manic and confusing at times; a girl is waiting with her best friend who's been injured on a hike. Little by little we get the story of their friendship, and how they ended up in this situation. She's worried her friend will die, and she recounts their story as much for herself as for him. It would be a good YA crossover title. Translated from the French. Backlist.

The Frost on His Shoulders, by Lorenzo Mediano. I feel like I want to re-read this. It's a beautiful and moving story of forbidden love and the price one man pays to prove himself worthy of the woman of his dreams. The story takes place amid a deeply traditional rural Spanish community and reads a bit like a fairy tale. I rated it 4 stars on LibraryThing and I remember liking it a lot. Translated from the Spanish. Buy.

The Distant Marvels, by Chantel Acevedo. A group of women are trapped together during the hurricane that took place in Cuba in 1963, which heavily damaged the island. One woman reminisces about her life during the revolution and the role her family played. She also reveals the terrible secret of her son's fate, a sad tangle of good intentions and misunderstanding. Buy.

The Proof of the Honey, by Salwa Al Neimi. An Arab Muslim woman talks about sex and its role in the Arab world, or lack thereof. It's an interesting and provocative read. Translated from the Arabic. Buy.

Of this batch my favorite is definitely The Distant Marvels, an old-school historical tearjerker, but The Frost on His Shoulders is a sleeper that I think a lot of people would really enjoy.

I'm not done with Europa this year! I still have a couple of unread titles on my bookshelves (you know, one or two), including the new Massimo Carlotto, Elena Ferrante and much more. And there's great stuff still coming out! I'm particularly excited about The Pope's Daughter, a take on Lucrezia Borgia from Dario Fò. Having read Sarah Dunant's Blood and Beauty not too long ago, I'll be interested to read Fò's version.

Participate in Europa Challenge at

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Go Set A Watchman?

As most of you have no doubt heard, last Tuesday was the publication day of Go Set A Watchman, the much-anticipated lost manuscript by Harper Lee, author To Kill A Mockingbird. Go Set A Watchman was written before Mockingbird but set after, when the lead character is an adult revisiting her Alabama hometown and her father, Atticus Finch.

The controversy around the book is twofold. First, there were the highly suspicious and opaque conditions under which the book was discovered and published. Then, there's the different character of Atticus, who is not the noble liberal lion of Mockingbird but an overt racist.

Stories about Harper Lee's deteriorating health and overall condition started to circulate with respect to the manuscript as soon as the decision to publish was announced. Her attorney has offered weird and unconvincing accounts of the book's discovery; the state of Alabama launched its own probe, which found that Lee was of sound mind and fit to make decisions. I'm kind of the mind that where's there's smoke there's fire, and the fact that there's even a question about her competency makes me uncomfortable. The whole business has always smacked of exploitation to me, of a cash-grab and a desire for headlines.

I agree with those who say you should read a book before passing judgement on it, and I'm not passing judgement on it or reviewing it.  My feelings about this situation are still evolving and maybe it's too soon to write about it. People have been staking out their position early and often; some saying no way, not going to reward exploitation, others saying it's an important book for what it shows about Harper Lee's growth as a writer and conflicting perspectives on race during a volatile time (but what time isn't?).

My first instinct was to pass on it.  At first glance I just wasn't interested; it's not something that would leap off the shelves at me for any other reason but the controversy, and that's not usually enough to hang my hat on. The nearly-universal mediocre reviews haven't helped, either.

About those reviews, and the second half of the controversy. Everyone says Lee portrays Atticus Finch, beloved Atticus, a character people name their kids after, a character who has inspired legal careers and all manner of idolization, as a racist. People whose feelings are hurt by this need to remember the difference between fact and fiction. Atticus isn't really a racist, he isn't really a saint- he's a fictional character, and Watchman isn't libel or slander- it's a rough draft or alternate telling, and one that wasn't edited, and wasn't accepted for publication at the time it was written. It really shouldn't crush any one's dreams or ruin any one's day.

Not only that, but I kind of agree with Al-Jazeera's take on the whole thing, that Mockingbird was an example of white-savior literature that liberals love, an idealization of the times in which it took place and a revision of civil rights history, a sort of comfort-read for white liberals, and that Watchman might actually be a more realistic treatment of complex times and complex individuals. Now I'm selling myself on it. Kind of. Whatever else it is, Mockingbird is a masterpiece, and time will tell about Watchman.

But see, now I'm kind of curious. I don't know if I'm curious enough to shell out for a hardcover, but I can let the whole thing sit while the literary pundits hash it out amongst themselves. Then when the paperback arrives I'll check back in.

Monday, July 20, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I finished Elders, and I'm DNF'ing In the Time of the Butterflies for now. It's good, I just never seem to be in the mood to pick it up, so I'll set it aside for now.

I started reading Alfa Romeo 1300 and Other Miracles, by Fabio Bartolomei. This is a comic-ish novel about three middle aged guys who start a bed and breakfast together in rural Italy, only to run into trouble right away with the local Mafia. It's written as a black comedy and satire, and I'm 3/4 of the way through and can't wait to see what the climax eventually is.

What are you reading this week? See more at

Friday, July 17, 2015

Summer Day in New York: Neue Gallerie and Central Park

Yesterday we had what must have been a perfect summer day; hot but not too hot and barely humid, with just a touch of breeze. I had my eye on the weather for the week, trying to pick a nice day to head into Manhattan for lunch and a museum. Thursday was it!

Near the Metropolitan Museum
This week I visited the Neue Gallerie, a German/Austrian museum on the Upper East Side and sitting in the former home of William Starr Miller, a wealthy industrialist. The museum opened in 2001 and houses 20th century art, two cafes and a bookshop.

It's famous for its Gustav Klimt collection, including Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, that famous woman in a shower of gold. The line outside is always long; on its once-a-month free Fridays, it goes around two city blocks. When I visited I waited about ten minutes to get in but I still think they should institute some single-rider-line-style system so people on their own don't have wait behind big groups. But that's just me.

Anyway I got the audio tour and enjoyed seeing the Klimts, other paintings and the exhibit of Russian Modernism currently on display. Actually the Russian stuff was pretty fascinating even though aesthetically I can't say that it's really my thing. Sometimes art is about the ideas and not about being pretty.

After spending enough time in the museum I took a little walk uptown to visit the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park, where I snapped some pictures and had a soft serve ice cream. Then I walked down to the Metropolitan Museum and sat outside for a few minutes people-watching and after that I was ready to head back home. I caught the bus and spent the last few minutes in the city gliding down Fifth Avenue.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: THE HOUSE ON MOON LAKE, by Francesca Duranti

The House on Moon Lake, by Francesca Duranti. Published 2000 by Delphinium Books. Literary Fiction. Translated from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli.

Fabrizio Garrone is a translator from a wealthy family whose fortunes have faded. His best friend Mario, who grew up idolizing Fabrizio and his refined family, is now Fabrizio's boss at an Italian publishing house, and Fabrizio is struggling to keep afloat both his career and his foundering relationship with Fulvia, his on-and-off-again girlfriend of many years.

One day Fabrizio stumbles on what he believes will be a literary firecracker- an unknown book, a masterpiece really, just waiting to be brought to light. The discovery shatters Fabrizio's life; the book's explosive success, and Fabrizio's newfound role, take him places he never dreamed he would go.

And this book was nothing like what I expected. What starts as a literary detective story becomes a tale of obsession and annihilation, narrated in luminous prose by a woman who is becoming one of my favorite writers. The title is that of the book Fabrizio discovers, a love story so beautiful that Fabrizio becomes set on finding out the truth of it. Duranti maintains the suspense the whole way even as the story takes some very strange twists. At the end I didn't quite know what to think; the mysteries are irresistible and hard to forget.

I don't know if this book is published in the United States; I tracked down a used copy published the UK after having Duranti recommended to me as an excellent literary Italian writer. She is, and her books are worth your while to track down.

Rating: BUY

FTC Disclosure:  I did not receive this book for review.

Monday, July 13, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I've been through a few books in the past couple of weeks; lots of time to read on the New York subway! Right now I'm reading two great books.

First up is Elders, by Ryan McIlvain, a very solid and serious treatment of its subject, Mormon missionaries in Brazil. The book follows two young men- one privileged American who grew up in the elite of the church, and one convert raised in poverty in Brazil- as they navigate their mission and their relationship with each other. I'm about 3/4 of the way through and it's beautifully written and very engrossing. So far highly recommended!

I've finally gotten to In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, which has been in my TBR piles for ever. It's the story of a family of sisters who stood up to the Dominican Republic despot Trujillo and paid the ultimate price. I only just started but it's wonderful so far.

And you? See more at

Friday, July 10, 2015

Review: WHAT ENDS, by Andrew Ladd

What Ends, by Andrew Ladd. Published 2014 by New Issues, Western Michigan University. Literary Fiction.

It took me a few weeks to get through What Ends, not because it's particularly long or a particular slog, but just because it was the kind of book to enjoy in sips, like sipping wine. It's immersing and mellow, with smooth, beautiful writing and characters to savor as they grow and change.

Set in the 1980s on a fictional Hebrides island called Eilean Fior, What Ends tells of the McCloud family- parents George and Maureen, and children Barry, Flora and Trevor. The book opens with Trevor's birth, Trevor who will be the last child born on this tiny rock off of Scotland. George and Maureen run a guest house; Barry is the oldest child, and he goes away to school and never really comes back; Flora sticks around a little longer but her dreams take her away eventually too. So it falls to Trevor to watch the end of this way of life.

Different sections of the book tell the family's story from different points of view and the book ends with George, in a small chapter that is as terrifying as it is transcendent. I don't remember where I heard about What Ends- I probably just picked it up off a shelf somewhere- but I'm so glad I found it and it will almost certainly show up in my favorites this year. I've recommended to a few people already and just wish I could staff-pick it and handsell it like crazy as a bookseller, because it's one of those books that will really reward the right readers who take a chance on it. It reminds me of Jetta Carleton's luminous Moonflower Vine, another book I had some success selling to my old customers. If you like books that combine a character-driven narrative with lovely writing, I urge you to seek it out at your local independent bookstore.

Rating: BUY

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

An Afternoon at the Frick

I finally got around to visiting the Frick Collection, on the upper east side of Manhattan, this week. It's one of those museums-to-visit-before-you-die places, and it's one that people keep asking me if I've visited, so I figured it was time.

And it was just great.

The museum was the home of Henry Clay Frick, steel magnate and Gilded Age rich guy, and housed his extensive and impressive personal collection. He collected from many eras but nothing violent or dark, and only a portion of his collection is actually on display at any time. The docent said about 30% is on loan and other things are in conservation. I still got to see plenty.

I happened to arrive just before a free gallery talk in the dining room in which the docent discussed not only the Gainsborough portraits that wallpapered the room but the personal habits of the Frick family including lavish dinners and modest family meals at a table that could seat anywhere from 4 to 40. Very "Downton Abbey," and the docent referenced that show more than once to help us understand the lifestyle of the Frick family which included a live-in organist and 26 servants. The library included a section devoted to books on wealth, from the Egyptians to Adam Smith, and the docent told us that Frick believed in the power of books and reading to make a difference in peoples' lives.

The biggest treat for me in terms of art was seeing Renoir's "La Promenade," a painting of two little girls out with their mother or nanny, in which one girl holds a doll resembling the adult woman. I think I've seen that painting before, in Boston at a Renoir exhibit in the 80s, and it was really fun to see it again. I also loved Ingres' "Comtesse d'Haussonville" and the story behind it, about a young independent-minded woman who wrote a biography of an Irish revolutionary as well as candid memoirs of her own, and "Lady Hamilton as 'Nature'" of the then-teenaged girl who would go on to become the lover of Horatio Nelson. It was also fun to see the so-called "Fragonard Room," covered with paintings commissioned, then rejected by, Madame du Barry. Sir Frederic Leighton's "Flaming June" is on special exhibit through September and it was just stunning.

Since I was in the neighborhood I popped into my two favorite upper east side bookstores, Albertine and Crawford and Doyle, and picked up Apocalypse Baby, by Virginie Despentes, which has been nagging at me for a while, from Albertine.

I hope I can come back to the Frick soon!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

New On The Shelf

As I talked about in my last post, my book-buying has slowed down in the past few months, but never let it be said that it's stopped completely. Here are a few things I've added to my collection recently.

The Brethren, by Robert Merle, is French historical fiction that starts under the reign of Catherine de Medicis. I say starts because it's the first in a series called Fortunes of France. It appealed to me as an epic I might get lost in for a while.
Gang of Lovers is the latest from Italian crime writer Massimo Carlotto, my hands-down favorite crime writer, and it's crossover of two of his series- the Alligator series of detective novels and the Giorgio Pellegrini series. Giorgio Pellegrini is a bad, bad guy and I can't wait to see what happens when he crosses paths with the Alligator.

And some nonfiction, A Man of Good Hope, by Jonny Steinberg. This is the story of a man whose life's story spans much of the late-20th and early 21st century African crises, from South Africa to Ethiopia and Somalia and more. I'm definitely intrigued.

Finally my bookstore pals from home were kind enough to save me a copy of the galley of Margaret Atwood's latest, The Heart Goes Last. It's another in her canon of bleak-future books. I started this yesterday and so far it's pretty bleak. We'll see what happens next.

What's new on your shelf?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Galley Game

The other day Melville House posted this on their blog, about the question about whether getting access to freebie ARCs means people buy fewer books because they have sense of entitlement to free books as a job/career perk, or just because they're so used to getting free stuff they don't buy anymore.

Whether or not I have access to galleys has little effect on what I buy. When I got them, I didn't buy full-price hardcovers unless I desperately wanted the book, and I still don't. Most of the books I received in galley were not books I'd rush out to buy in hardcover. If anything, I might buy the paperback eventually, but what galleys did do for me was make it easier for me to read things I might not think to pick up otherwise. Since I stopped working at a bookstore and moved to New York, my own access to galleys has more or less dried up (save for one or two sources) and I spend less time reading current fiction and more working through my to-be-read shelves. Fine. And I'm buying fewer books these days mostly because I don't have an income of my own.

In the past, sometimes I would sometimes ask for a review copy of something I really wanted to read, sometimes not, depending. Sometimes it felt like I asked for a lot and once in a while ought to buy something. And sometimes I just didn't want the obligation to review it right away, or review it positively, or at all. Plus, I just like to shop.

When I spent my days shelving, handling purchases and making recommendations in a bookstore, I bought more because I was exposed to more. All of a sudden the whole store felt like my to-be-read pile and it was just a matter of how much I would bring home every week. I could use my store discount to buy whatever I wanted, and I rarely asked for review copies that weren't available through the store.

Now I'm back to being a blogger, and I like getting review copies but I don't feel entitled to them. Which is a good thing considering I rarely receive them. (I think I fell off a lot of mailing lists when I moved.) As a bookseller it was more important to have access to advance copies because it was my job to sell the books and reading a hot book ahead of time made a real difference to the enthusiasm I could muster on the sales floor.  Same for when I worked as a librarian. Now, it feels more like a luxury and less like a necessary tool. And I'm just as happy not to have the obligation to post things by a certain date and all that.

I do wonder why people who don't actually sell books (or review them or encourage borrowing at the library) need advance copies of books they're not promoting.  I get that it's a job perk, and one that folks are used to, and expect, because it's fun and makes them feel special. It makes people in the industry feel like part of a community, which they are, and helps them share their enthusiasm about books with each other. They foster conversations and friendships and build relationships which help build careers. And it would be a brave publishing worker who would start denying freebies to their friends!

But still. When I hear people talking about bloggers and return-on-investment, I wonder about all the freebies given to people just because they're part of the club, and then I feel less badly about the perks I've been lucky enough to receive. (What drives me crazy? Listening to someone who works in a back-office administrative role, with no exposure to the public or role in promoting books to readers, opining on what bloggers "deserve." Really? One such person once gave me a hard time about getting a galley signed, something folks do all the time.) Sometimes I hear someone bemoan the number of galleys sent to bloggers, and then I'll hear a sales rep or someone else say they have so many galleys to give away they don't know what to do with them all. Something about the galley game is a little out of whack.

Not having access to galleys definitely means I don't read as much current fiction, which I miss, but I do read more from my TBR pile, which is probably a good thing. Lately I've read some older books I've always been meaning to get to, some less-old books I bought with the intention of reading them soon and it also means I'm actually acquiring fewer books than I read- and opening up space on the shelves for the first time in a while. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss access to free recent stuff.  Galleys are a great perk and it's hard to blame anyone who doesn't want to give them up.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Kinokuniya Bookstore

This weekend I visited a new-to-me bookshop in midtown Manhattan, Kinokuniya. It's the US flagship of a Japanese chain, and it was fun.

Kinokuniya is three floors of books and gifts and food. The ground floor is a conventional, if stylish and somewhat specialized, English-language bookstore filled with an assortment of fiction and nonfiction. But the selection leans sophisticated, with highbrow fiction and offerings I haven't seen elsewhere. For example, they have a beautiful illustrated book of Liberty fabrics through the years, a big selection of Asian cookbooks, and even a book on doing your own Hello Kitty nail art. The fiction selection includes a lot of small press stuff too.

The basement is filled with stationery, toys, craft books, magazines, childrens' books and more, lots of it in Japanese. There's also a selection of language-learning books if you want to learn. They sell beautiful papers, maneki neko, greeting cards and other little items, including more Hello Kitty plush and accessories.
The third floor contains a huge selection of manga in English and Japanese, an impressive superhero comic book selection and anime videos and toys. There are also some more upscale gifts like handmade leather wallets, beautiful chopsticks and tableware, and a cafe serving Japanese bentos, sandwiches and snacks. Unfortunately I ate lunch before coming to Kinokuniya or I would have tucked into a breaded-chicken bento that looked fantastic.

Located in Bryant Park, Kinokuniya is easy to get to and well worth the trip. I'll be back!