Agent Monday: Summer Edition

Edinburgh - Writer's museum

Writer’s Museum, Edinburgh

Happy Agent Monday, everyone!  It’s STILL summer, so I thought today I’d share some of my favorite writerly destinations. Since I’m a literary agent AND a writer, there’s nothing I love to do more than visit places that truly inspire me. So here, in no particular order, are a few…


Rosenbach Museum, Philadelphia, PA – Want to see James Joyce’s ULYSSES manuscript? It’s here along with hoards of other rare books. Tours, exhibits, and original Maurice Sendak art. Fee.

Free Library of Philadelphia, Main Branch, Philadelphia, PA – Rare books tour. See Poe’s raven – stuffed!  Dickens’ writing desk with his name carved into it. Plus so much more. Free tour, 11 a.m. daily.

Morgan Museum and Library, NY, NY – rare manuscripts, lots of great exhibits (past ones have included Poe and Lewis Carroll), a gorgeous library, and bookish gift shop. Museum fee.

Bath - Pump Rome tea

Pump Room, Bath, England

New York Public Library adjacent to Bryant Park, NY, NY – I always keep an eye peeled for book-related exhibits and enjoy their bookish gift shop. Past exhibits have included Shelley, and an extensive show about children’s classic books. Exhibits free.

Treasures of the British Library, British Library, London, England – mind-blowing original manuscripts from illuminated ones through to Canterbury Tales, Lewis Carol, Dickens, Austen …even hand-written Beatles lyrics. Free.

The Pump Room, Bath, England – Love Jane Austen? Then tea at the Pump Room, featured in her novels, is a must. You’ll be “most astonished.”

Louisa May Alcott’s House, Concord, MA –  The author wrote LITTLE WOMEN there, and even set it there.  It’s like walking into the story – amazing!  Fee

Edinburgh - Gray Friar'sEdinburgh, Scotland – There’s a ton of writerly stuff here to enjoy including the Writer’s Museum, and serious Harry Potter nerd moments at: The Elephant House (where J.K. Rowling wrote), Grayfriar’s Kirkyard Cemetery (where she gathered character names), and an area that was the inspiration for Diagon Alley.

OOOOO!  All my idea of a good time.

So what writerly spots do you feel are absolutely worth a visit?  Add ’em here in the comments… I’m always looking for the next great read AND the next great place to visit for some serious nerding out.



*Marie is a Literary Agent at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York City. To keep up with all her Agent Monday posts, subscribe to her site.

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Books of Wonder – A Fab Indie Bookstore

Over the weekend, I headed to NYC to see a matinée Broadway show, but before I did that, I had a more important mission: visit one of the best children’s bookstores ever,  BOOKS OF WONDER.

It’s a wonderful independent bookstore. If you love kid-lit or teen-lit, this is the place to be.  The shelves are loaded with gorgeous premiere books that you definitely won’t find on these shelves of cookie-cutter stores.  And since NYC has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to resident authors, you’ll also find many of those books are actually signed by the authors and/or illustrators.

An additional benefit: the staff.  Each one wears a sparkly tiara. You gotta love that. And each employee is passionate about these books and eager to help.  So there I am, standing in front of the YA section, wondering what to read next, when staffer Jennifer steps up and asks if we need any help.  When I explain I’m looking for something new, something meaningful yet light, she quickly starts pulling books off the shelf and making wonderful suggestions.  Just try to get that kind of help from an online site or a big-box-store.

And as for those suggestions?  Well, I’ve already read one of the titles, and it was amazing.  The second one my older daughter finished and loved.  Can’t wait to tackle the third title, and read more books by these authors.  Hey, for me, that’s what it’s all about. Oh, and BOOKS OF WONDER even gave me a discount on purchases because I’m an author!!!!  So, needless to say, I LOVE this store.

Other cool things you should know…BOOKS OF WONDER served as the model for the bookstore in the movie “You’ve Got Mail.”  Apparently Meg Ryan spent some time studying for her role by working the register there…They do incredible author events, so be sure to check their site often.  Plus, the back wall of the store is a museum of sorts of collectible children’s books and original illustrations, all for sale!  For a price, of course.  My younger daughter was drooling over two first edition signed Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.  One went for $1500, the other for $5000.  I told her to start saving her money.  There was a lovely framed illustration by Maurice Sendak, and a complete set of first edition Winnie-the-Pooh’s that made our book-loving hearts melt.  Even if you’re not in the investing-in-a-collectible-book frame of mind, just take a peek and drink it all in.

Speaking of drinks, coffee specifically, the bookstore is attached to the wonderful and quirky Cupcake Cafe, where a chorus line of high-kicking cupcakes lords it over glass cases teeming with artistically crafted cupcakes and cakes.  Grab one of these and a coffee, and take a sit at one of the animal themed tables (we selected the duck one), and savor the sweets while skimming through your latest purchases.  This, of course, is a very kid-friendly spot too, so please bring your little ones, buy them a lovely cupcake, and cozy up with them on the ladybug printed seats and read to them from some just bought picture books.  Truly a wonderful time at BOOKS OF WONDER.

BOOKS OF WONDER is located at 18 West 18th Street in Manhattan.  Just visiting the city for the day? Jump on the subway, taking the #1 downtown and get off at 18th.  A few short blocks after that, you are there.  The whole trip should only take you about 15 minutes tops from Times Square.