Julia Pierpont’s debut novel Among The Ten Thousand Things, set in New York City, tells of a family coming to grips with a newly-revealed secret that fractures and frays their bonds and changes them all in the process. Pierpont, a New York City native herself, tells Read It Forward her favorite places in the city to get lost in a book. If you happen to visit Manhattan, we highly suggest bringing a copy of Among The Ten Thousand Things to any of these locales and letting the book’s setting be your backdrop as you read Pierpont’s sharply observed and articulated work of fiction.
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This absurdly stunning bookstore and reading room is tucked away in the French Embassy, and its doors opened to the public just last fall. You can spend the afternoon in this historic mansion on Fifth Avenue reading Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time,” from which the store takes its name and make like it’s your own private library.
The New York Public Library’s Main Branch
When I worked in crazy Times Square, this was an especially good place to get away. Sit outside among the lions or find a spot in the soothing Rose Main Reading Room. (Bring your own books, as this branch is solely for research!)
Washington Square Park
My old stomping ground when I was a graduate student at NYU. This spot is especially nifty if you can score lending privileges at the university’s Bobst Library just south of the park. A traveling piano man and balloon artists add to the ambiance.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
You can while away the hours in a quiet nook here and take breaks between chapters to explore their world-class collection of art.
Theodore Roosevelt Park
If you’re on the Upper West Side, visit this lesser-known collection of benches and pretty trees to sit under. The nearby Bull Moose dog run is an added bonus and the American Museum of Natural History and Hayden Planetarium are great alternatives if the weather turns foul.
This is a landmark that one of my characters, Deb, finds herself returning to in times of emotional crises, and there’s something very healing about the space, with its white-water fountain and Chagalls. It’s a great place to sit with a book in the early evening and watch the opera- and ballet-going crowds gather in their finery.