koralleen (koralleen) wrote,

NYC, SF, and SRP: The Mansion of Happiness by Jill Lepore

We did all the Manhattan things one family can do in a week. Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Museum of Natural History, Guggenheim, NBC tour, MoMA, MMA, two shows (Mary Poppins and Wicked), multiple traverses of Central Park including a morning TV concert, a fashion exhibit at FIT, and the Museum of the Moving Image, which is in Queens but close enough to count. With time out for tantrums and melt-downs, of course, being a family vacation and all. Then B, V, and I jetted off for San Francisco, which was almost as noisy, a bit grimier, and very fun.

The Giants were playing a day game when we arrived, so two of us went to that while the other went to the library. We all had a very enjoyable afternoon. The next day V and I took a paddle boat around a pond (she was in charge of steering, I was in charge of panicking) and then we went to the Academy of Sciences. The next day I found, with some difficulty, a book arts exhibit at the SF Center for the Book--this place is as good a reason as any to move to San Francisco. It was an exciting and inspiring collection and the center is a bookbinding and letterpress studio offering a whole bunch of workshops. So I was thinking about how cool that was while taking V on cable car rides and letting her poke quarters into the machines at the Musée Mécanique. Then on our last day in town we all spent some time at the library and I suggested we meet at the 6th floor calligraphy exhibit when we were done, having seen a poster for it when we entered.

Wow! This was one heck of an exhibit, displaying way more than standard calligraphy. It was just as impressive as the other show, which was titled "Exploding the Codex" and explored innovative book forms. I suggest anyone nearby take in both. Anyone who likes the stuff I like, that is. My companions found it less compelling than I did and had to drag me away so that we could catch a train to the A's game. They beat the Yankees: it was a fun game and the crowd was fascinating, so I'm glad I went.

While we traveled, I was reading The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death. This is a perfectly charming social history presented within the framework of a moralistic board game, with plenty of mice running about for good measure. I was sorry to reach the last page. Doubly so because my Kindle seized shortly thereafter. I tried everything I could do to fix it, but ended up calling Amazon to mournfully report its condition.

And they replaced it! I am still shocked by this amazing customer service. The guy on the phone said they would sell me an upgrade (my Kindle is a few years old, a version 2) at half-price, which would have been fine with me; however, it turns out they charged me $0 for it. The holes aren't aligned correctly for my cover, so I have to get a new cover. Big whoop. It was waiting for me when I got home and I've restored everything back to where it was. Whew. And thank you, Amazon.

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