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

Thousands protest in New York over Eric Garner…

The Reverend Al Sharpton led thousands of chanting but peaceful activists in a march across Staten Island on Saturday to protest the death of Eric Garner.

International

Egypt calls for Gaza ceasefire as fighting rages

Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to halt fire and resume peace talks, but violence continued unabated.

National

SpaceX rocket terminated in Texas test flight

A Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 9 rocket suffered an anomaly shortly after launch on a test flight, triggering its automatic termination system.

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

Music

Arcade Fire concert review, Massachusetts, Aug. 19

Arcade Fire take the opposite approach of "Shut up and play the hits," and it works in their favor on the "Reflektor" tour.

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…