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
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Movies

Review: 'Fading Gigolo' finds few jokes in women…

John Turturro writes, directs and stars in "Fading Gigolo," in which he plays a prostitute whose pimp is Woody Allen. And there's still very few jokes.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.