7 Quick Takes Friday: Strand books, Vatican bowling, and musicals

Linking up with Jen.


I love browsing the $1 and $2 book racks at the Strand. There’s usually some amazing stuff hidden in there, along with some of the oddest books I’ve ever seen, including this blast from the past:

[published in 1996.]

[The best part is the description of the modem sound.]

I did not actually purchase this thing (even though it only cost a dollar), but I couldn’t resist taking pictures of it. It even warns of the distractions of the Internet…for instance, you could be doing a report on Texas but find yourself so fascinated by armadillos that you become sidetracked and don’t even have time to look at the Texas Board of Tourism! Oh 1996, if you only knew the distractions of the Internet to come…


[So official…all this page needs is some MIDI background music playing Hail to the Chief]


My favorite $2 Strand find is a prayer book from the NAC (Pontifical North American College in Rome). It’s from 1996, and the preface is written by the rector of the NAC at the time: Father Timothy Dolan.



During my time in Rome, my friends and I loved hanging out with the seminarians at the NAC. They took us bowling at the papal bowling alley (built by the recently canonized Pope St. John XXIII!) and we may or may not have accidentally broken the ball return. Whoops.



DSC01386[the view from the NAC isn’t half bad]


Also worth purchasing: a collection of E.B. White essays and a jacketless Zadie Smith novel, neither of which I’ve actually read yet…I might have a problem with buying too many books. I have piles in my room, many of which I got for free over the summer, and while I have been reading a lot, somehow the piles keep expanding. Who can resist $2 used books? Okay, I definitely have a problem.



Elizabeth Esther has a great post about the Catholic understanding on Mary, from the perspective of a convert from fundamentalism. Her blog is worth reading, and so is her book—it was a quick read for me because her story was so gripping!


I’ve been enjoying Literary Starbucks, a tumblr page that describes what beverages all your favorite characters and authors might order. Two of my favorites:

Jean Valjean goes up to the counter and orders a tall black coffee without cream or sugar. On his way out, he surreptitiously slips a scone into his jacket pocket. The barista spends the rest of his life trying to find him.

Jay Gatsby goes up to the counter and orders a vanilla iced coffee, but only after being repeatedly reassured by his companion that it is a sufficiently aristocratic choice. While waiting, Gatsby daydreams about his choice: the delicate balance of bitter and sweet; the refreshing chill on this humid summer day; the way sunlight will refract in the swirling liquid. It is, he decides, a flawless and thoroughly American choice of beverage. Gatsby does not know that Starbucks’ vanilla iced coffee is pre-made and served in a bottle. He is hurt and confused.


I’m planning on seeing Once on Broadway this weekend, and I’m really excited—I’ve wanted to see it for a long time! I used to go to the theater all the time in California, but ironically I’ve only been once since returning to NYC. I guess it was easier and less expensive when I could get tickets to South Coast Repertory as opposed to standing in line at TKTS, but this weekend I am finally going, and I can’t wait.

My favorite musical I’ve seen this year is The Light in the Piazza. I saw it at South Coast Rep and became instantly obsessed with the soundtrack—it’s poignant, delicate, and funny all at once. How could I not love a musical about Americans in Italy? I would be thrilled if it ever came back to Broadway.


My score prediction for this weekend (as per band tradition):

Notre Dame—average temperature in Tempe, Arizona in July
Arizona State—average temperature in South Bend, Indiana in January

Go Irish, beat Sun Devils!

3 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes Friday: Strand books, Vatican bowling, and musicals

  1. See if you or a friend qualify for a Tdf.org membership. Then you can go online and buy tickets. They have a $9 off broadway section that is interesting.


  2. Oh, what is the Strand? I love browsing the books at the thrift store – I’ve found some good finds there! I have that same Manual of Prayers (from Amazon, alas) – isn’t it great?


    1. The Strand is my favorite bookstore in NYC – they have both new and used books, but the best deals (and coolest finds) are usually the used books. That’s awesome that you have the same Manual of Prayers!


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