Monday, December 31, 2012

Wishing You a Happy New Year






"The New Year, like an Infant Heir to the whole world, was waited for, with welcomes, presents, and rejoicings."

-- from "The Chimes"
    Charles Dickens 

And So This Was Christmas



London 2012





The Drawing Room

Michael Slater, Emeritus Professor of Victorian
Literature at Birbeck College, University of London,
reading from A Christmas Carol

The Dining Room
Charles and Catherine Dickens



Monday, December 17, 2012

Why is my nose on your face?*


 Nestled between the bright fluorescently lit branch of Staples on one side and a small, inviting wine shop on the other, Westsider Books (westsiderbooks.com) would be easy for a casual passerby to overlook. As a neighborhood resident, I’ve come to appreciate its stalwart presence. With hundreds of books crammed into a shoebox-sized space—the realtor two doors down might praise it’s creative use of built-ins—Westsider Books has outlasted the demise of Shakespeare and Company across the street, the arrival of the Barnes & Noble at 82nd Street and Broadway, and the rise and fall of the Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Center.

Now thanks to director/writer/actor Woody Allen, the store will be immortalized in film as M. Schwartz and Sons, a dealer in rare and used books.

Here’s what the store usually looks like.

Westsider Books on Broadway.


To see how it was transformed for the movie, take a look at this picture that originally appeared in Westside Rag, a neighborhood blog where Ms. Stacked-NYC is an occasional contributor. The Westside Rag article also offers details about the film, which stars Mr. Allen, John Tuturro, Sofia Vergara, and Sharon Stone.

I’ve enjoyed most of Mr. Allen’s films the first time around—and am looking at some of his earlier work through the fresh eyes of Miss Stacked-NYC.com.  But his writing is equally interesting to me, and, I think in some cases, more consistently funny. My introduction to his written work was Without Feathers. My favorite piece was The Whore of Mensa, in which an unhappily married man pays for what he can’t get at home: conversation about literature and philosophy. Of course, this being Mr. Allen, the arrangement has a down side, our protagonist ends up being blackmailed by the “madam”.

Incidentally, if you’d like to know what Woody Allen’s favorite five books are, they’re listed in a 2011 article that appeared in the British newspaper, The Guardian. 

* Long ago and far away—in high school, to be exact, my good friend G (who had a sharp sense of humor of her own) and I used to laugh hysterically at lines like these culled from Woody Allen's work. With observations from the absurd to the self-indulgent to the poignant, Mr. Allen still makes me laugh.