The books we read are as much a part of our identity as the clothes we wear and the music we listen to. They inform our worldview, build our vocabulary and shape our sense of humor. My father tried to cultivate a love of reading in all his children at a young age. Book stores and literary festivals were common stops. We were initially nudged towards popular kids’ titles, reading lots of Enid Blyton then favorites like Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. But once we recognized the wealth of material out there, we started to gravitate towards books that interested us personally. I went through an embarrassing teen romance phase (Sweet Valley High, anyone?) then thankfully moved on to a wide variety of literature.
As a family we didn’t always have shared tastes in reading material, but one author that we seemed to agree on was Neil Gaiman. I can vividly recall my brother’s obsession with the Sandman series, and my cousin’s excitement when she read Good Omens. Gaiman’s books and graphic novels made you feel like you’d discovered something special and were now part of a cool members-only club. Except it’s a REALLY LARGE club.
We recently attended a Neil Gaiman event at Town Hall. Town Hall is Gaiman’s preferred New York City venue; he revealed that it was his fourth or fifth visit to that location. We can certainly share his enthusiasm, Town Hall is a wonderfully intimate venue. Neil Gaiman read from his latest book, Norse Mythology, then sat down to tackle audience questions. In between, fans were also treated to advance previews of two additional projects based on his writings: How to Talk to Girls at Parties on the big screen and American Gods on the small screen.
Neil Gaiman’s fans are enthusiastic, to say the least. As he read a particularly timely excerpt from his book, the audience hung on every word, breaking out in laughter heartily at every turn. Credit is due to Gaiman, who brought his prose to life with the affectations and pauses of someone who knows his material and his audience well. Not all authors manage it with such ease.
The evening would have been a success with just the reading and the sneak previews, but I found the Q&A session to be the most enjoyable part of the evening. Prompted by audience questions which were read aloud by Ophira Eisenberg (of NPR’s Ask Me Another), Neil Gaiman spoke from the heart about his work and his personal life, and was surprisingly candid about his successes and his failures.
This is Neil Gaiman’s first undertaking involving mythology, but Norse Mythology feels very much in his wheelhouse. His talent lies in making the line between fantasy and reality feel particularly fluid. I’m sure it’ll make a wonderful companion on a cold day, along with a large cup of coffee and a box of chocolates. What are you reading next?
Pair it with:
Poke at Maui Onion
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the poke (pronounced poh-kay) bowl trend. Originating in Hawaii then sweeping the West Coast, it finally made its way east and hit New York City by storm. It’s a trend we welcomed heartily, since we love seafood. We covered one of our favorite outlets in our food pairing here.
Although Midtown dining options continue to evolve, the restaurants still largely cater to the weekday business crowd. There’s a draw to places that can provide semi-healthy, cost-effective meals in an efficient manner. But it can be difficult to find something that isn’t Pret-A-Manger or Chipotle. Or eat something that isn’t a salad or a sandwich. Enter Maui Onion, a new poke bar ready to capitalize on the demand for interesting fast-casual eateries.
Here you can choose from a number of combinations as a bowl, salad, temaki or burrito. You can then personalize it with a variety of toppings. The space is open and inviting, but those in a hurry can also grab the order to go. Service is quick but friendly, and the food is fresh and delicious. Add it to your Midtown roster, you won’t regret it.
35 W 26th St
Mon – Sun 11:00 am – 9:00 pm