Reading the latest issue of Saveur, I found a review of an anthology called Man with a Pan, subtitled "Culinary Adventures of Fathers Who Cook for Their Families." I wanted to read this book so badly, so I did what I always do: abebooks.com and the cheapest price I could find among the booksellers there.
I must not have been paying attention at the time. I only wanted the book, and I clicked on the cheapest price, $12.45, including shipping, never noticing the seller.
UPS dropped off a package just now, and on the box, in a red oval is "NEW YORK CITY", and below that in bigger letters, "STRAND", and below that, "18 MILES OF BOOKS".
Oh my god! THE Strand! I've heard about this magical place! I've dreamed of going there one day, maybe making a stop in New York City after visiting the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, as part of my life's goal to visit every presidential library in the nation.
18 miles of books. Well, if there was ever a combination of words to turn me on, those are it. And this is a fresh copy of Man with a Pan, too. No corners bent, no pages smudged, no spine separation. I imagined that the Strand cares greatly for books, and it's evident here.
I know that the Strand will keep on living, and it had better so I can see it for myself. There's no way it could die anyway, not with all it has to offer, not with appearing to love books as much as I love them.
And I just opened the book and found between the cover and the title page something I will treasure and make sure it never gets bent: A Strand bookmark. I will never lose it.