Christmas Reading – Suggestion 1

Are your looking for some Christmassy reading these holiday?  Why not give “Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop” edited by Otto Penzler, a go.


I’m a big fan of Otto Penzler’s mystery story compendiums and am particularly fond of his Christmas collections. I picked this one up on my trip to New York. This collection of short stories is inspired by the Christmas holiday and all stories (be they funny, creepy, clever et al) are set (at least in part) in the Mysterious Bookshop. It features stories by Mary Higgins Clark, Lawrence Block, Ed McBain, Donald Westlake, Thomas Cook, and more. Really worth a look and a great addition to your holiday reading list.

My Impressions of New York

I must admit that I haven’t been to New York for 16 years (pre 9/11) so the place has changed significantly since my last visit. I personally love New York – I love the history, the ambience, the business, the music scene, the shopping and of course Central Park.  I was fortunate enough to spend two evenings at the Blue Note and one at the Village Vanguard, and discovered a great music store (specialising in Jazz) in the lower East Side, called the Downtown Music Gallery.

Downtown Music GalleryThe shop is located in the basement of a building and I did have to wonder how they open during winter. They would have to dig out the shop if there was heavy snow.  Anyway the shop has a great range of CDs and records, and they really know their stuff. (Downtown Music Gallery Web Site)


MysteriousBookstoreIn terms of book shopping I paid a visit to two of my favourite bookshops in the world.  The first being Otto Penciler’s Mysterious Bookshop in Tribeca. (Mysterious Bookshop Website). This fabulous little shop has floor to ceiling books, both new and used, and all detective and mystery titles.


StrandThe other book shop of note I visited was “The Strand”, a multi-storey emporium of pretty much every genre of book (and music) available. It stocks  new and second hand books, and specialises in hard-to find and out-of-print books.  A great place to find those missing titles from your collection. (


On the people watching front, I couldn’t but notice the fashion for women (mostly middle aged) to wear sunglasses at night. Now I am not sure if there is a spate of light-sensitivity, plastic surgery, fist fighting, or general hysteria, but they certainly drew attention to themselves (and not in a positive way). Perhaps they were “celebrities” I didn’t recognise?

Overall impressions – I still love new York and I will not wait another 16 years before visiting again!