Libraries for every traveler’s itinerary

Visit Morgan Library in New York City.  Credit: Facebook
Visit Morgan Library in New York City.
Credit: Facebook

Not every day of every vacation can guarantee blue skies and 75 degree temperatures. So what to do, oh book lover, when it’s 110 degrees in the shade or raining cats and dogs? When the line for the museum is too long, why not head to a library — our fine nation boasts a plethora of wonderful repositories, both architecturally stunning and filled with that thing you love above all else: a good book.

Morgan Library

Though many associate New York with its extraordinary public library on Fifth Avenue, watched over as it is by the two enormous stone lions, Patience and Fortitude, it is not the last word in homes for books in the Big Apple. Though its reading room is one of the most extraordinary public spaces in the entire city, we prefer the filigree beauty of the Morgan Library. Once you’re done with E.L. Doctorow’s “Ragtime” — some of which is set in the library — Ron Chernow’s biography of the Morgan family, “The House of Morgan,” will nicely set the scene for your visit. Originally Pierpont Morgan’s personal library, the Morgan was gifted to New York by his son in 1924, and since then has gained a reputation for its serenity, its collections and regular exhibitions such as Charlotte Bronte manuscripts and the original jottings that became Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

More From Bookish: Must-Read Road Novels

Seattle Central

The Seattle Central Library opened to much fanfare in 2004 and since then has become a favorite of locals and visitors alike — more than 2 million people visited the first year, with nearly a third of them out-of-towners. This monolith of glass and steel has had its detractors, but at least one person has a positive view of it: In “Where’d You Go Bernadette,” the title character’s mental breakdown is momentarily arrested by Rem Koolhaus’ cool “house.”

More From Bookish: The Best Audiobooks for Summer Travel Situations

George Peabody

Baltimore architect Edmund G. Lind’s breathtaking interior for the George Peabody Library in Baltimore, Md., truly helps the place earn its nickname, “the cathedral of books.” This 19th-century wonder opened in 1878 and has since helped to educate many millions of Baltimore inhabitants, during its heyday as one of the world’s busiest ports until now, as the city pulls itself out of economic turmoil and urban blight. David Simon and Ed Burns’ account of the latter, “The Corner,” recounts the drug trade of the late 1990s, centered as it was around the intersection of West Fayette and Monroe Streets, a mere two miles west of the famed library.

More From Bookish: The Ultimate Summer 2013 Reading Guide

LA Central

Bertram Goodhue’s Beaux Arts creation in downtown Los Angeles opened in 1926, and since that time has become a beacon of calm in the city’s urban whirlwind. The building is rightly famed for its friezes, including one in the International Languages Department that sets out the story of Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. His 1820 novel turned readers on to the medieval world, an obsession that continues unabated to this day (this means you, George R.R. Martin).

More From Bookish: Summer Travel Reads:  A Guide to the Best Vacation Books

Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library Vassar College

One of the most beautiful college libraries in the United States lies in otherwise-dingy Poughkeepsie, at Vassar College. This Francis Allen and Charles Cohen-designed Gothic masterpiece is replete with castle-like ornaments and a famed stained-glass window featuring Elena Cornaro Piscopia, said to be the first woman to receive a D. Phil in Europe (in 1678, no less). This theme of the importance of women’s education continues at Vassar to this day, and it was always thus: Mary McCarthy’s (Vassar class of 1933) satirical novel “The Group,” published in 1963 to much critical commentary (it was banned in Australia, of all places) and which enjoyed two years on the bestseller lists, follows one such set of eight Vassar graduates as they head out into the world. (Fun facts: Candace Bushnell was said to have used “The Group” as inspiration for her “Sex and the City” saga; Betty Draper reads the book in Series 3 of “Mad Men.”)

More From Bookish: Author Polly Morland on What It Takes to Be Brave

More From Bookish: Top Travel Memoirs for Foodies


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

Wellbeing

Exercising leads to more drinking — and we…

  We’re rewarding ourselves with more than dessert on days we exercise, according to a new study. On days when people exercise more, typically Thursday…

Wellbeing

5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…

Wellbeing

Narcissism and the ugly side of vanity

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…