Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Yale University: A Pilgrimage to see rare books

No matter what type of literature you like to read you a reader’s vacation you will want to take is one to Yale University in New Haven Connecticut. There are several treasures the reader can find at Yale University that are free of charge and open to the public. At the top of that list… the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

What to See:  
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Even if you never step foot inside the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library you have to see this amazing building from the outside. It is a cube shaped building that is made of entirely of translucent marble.

Amanda at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library  
Above: Me in front of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University

Although it is a pleasure just to walk around the building and marvel at the architecture let us venture inside the library… this is after all a reader’s vacation! Inside the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is one of the largest collections of manuscripts and rare books you will see in the United States. And although you as just a reader on vacation will not be able to have any of the books pulled for you, you will be able to see one of their jewels and several more pieces of the collection. First if the reader heads up the stairs the will discover the Gutenberg Bible the first book created with a printing press (only Harvard holds another in the United States).

1 Gutenburg Bible Press 1  
Above: The Gutenberg Bible found in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University

As if seeing this beautiful and wonderfully preserved piece of literary history is not enough, just turn around and marvel at the floors and floors of rare books and manuscripts behind the glass located right in the middle of the building.

1Amanda inside Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (2)
Above: Me inside the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

You can spend hours walking around and around the center of the building and seeing what titles you can see from eye level. It is a real treat for anyone who enjoys books, history or architecture. It is located on Old Campus at Yale University (maps can be found at the Yale University Visitor’s Center).

Yale Center for British Art
Another place that is on the must see reader’s vacation list at Yale University is the Yale Center for British Art. The Yale Center for British Art was given to the university by Paul Mellon and it is the home to the largest and most comprehensive collection of British art outside of the United Kingdom. It is a multi-floor building with an impressive collection of art and literature. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, rare books and manuscripts all of which revolve around the development of British art and life. The time periods you will find in represented in the Yale Center for British Art are the Elizabethan period to more modern pieces. The center is open year round and offers different events and educational programs.

Unlike some of the other collections, the British Center for Art and Literature will allow any user to access any of the materials that are available for viewing. Yes, that means you want to see a Henry Fielding manuscript that they have in their collection just ask and pull up a chair and enjoy the manuscript in their reading room.

When to See It:
Since both the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Yale Center for British Art are open all year round, a reader can visit anytime of the year but the best time for the crowd factor would most likely be when classes are not in session. Summer is a great time to experience both locations and the campus without the normal throngs of students that roam the grounds (we took this Reader’s Vacation in Summer 2010). Plus there are several events and festivals in New Haven in the summer that might interest the reader as well.

How Much Time Do You Need?:
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Yale Center for British Art are just two of the must see things that the reader must see when on a reader’s vacation at Yale University. Those two things alone can easily fill a week. This reader spent a week exploring Yale’s campus and did not feel that was enough time to really enjoy the collections that Yale possesses. I highly recommend this reader’s vacation and will more than likely do it again myself.

What is the Cost? :
There is no charge to get into either the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library or the Yale Center for British Art. There is of course the cost of getting there, staying there and eating in New Haven but once you take care of all that you can enjoy the free admission to two of the finest collections of books and art in the United States.

More Information:
For more information and directions to the Yale Visitor’s Center check out their website.

For more information about the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library check out their website.

For more information about the Yale Center for British Art check out their website.

If you have taken this “Reader’s Vacation” and would like to share your experience or add more to it please email Amanda at amanda@amandasweeklyzen.com. I would also love to hear about any “Reader Vacation” you have taken or ideas you have for “Reader’s Vacation.”

Friday, September 03, 2010

Yosemite National Park

Hello from beautiful Yosemite National Park! Earlier this week we arrived at Yosemite for our first visit ever. Neither my husband nor I knew of any trails that we wanted to do, having never been to Yosemite so the first place we stopped was the information station just outside the gate. The helpful staff gave us the rundown of the highlights of the park, then gave us trail maps and sent us on our way.  So far we have walked in the midst of Giant Sequoias, awed at the vast beauty of Yosemite Valley, and looked for what little water in the Yosemite falls we could see this time of year. READ MORE

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Shiver- (The Wolves of Mercy Falls Book 1) by Maggie Stiefvater

4 star Stiefvater writes an elegant story of young love that borders on desperate obsession. The characters are constructed with care and gradually as you get to know each one better you begin to see depth in most of them.
Grace, a seventeen year old high school student, has always admired the wolves that lived in the woods outside her house. One wolf, the wolf with the yellow eyes, captured not only her attention when he saved her from a certain death as a child, but also her heart. Throughout the years they watched each other, both yearning to know more about the other. Then when the wolves of Mercy Falls were threatened by hunters Grace raced to wolf only to find a human boy wounded on her porch who strangely reminded her of her wolf. Once they found it each it was hard for either of them to let the other one go, both knew that they had to find a cure for the strange condition that turns the yellow eyed boy into a wolf when the temperature drops. And as if that were not a tall enough order they also must stop the newest wolf Jack from revealing their secret. Friends and family will be lost in the process but both Grace and Sam will do everything they can to keep each other.

In the chapters, divided by degrees the reader will discover the truth behind the wolves and the lives of the people that are connected to the wolves. It is a tale that will leave the reader in awe of the fresh take on the werewolf. No longer is the werewolf just a dog that exists to quarrel with vampires… not the case in Shiver in which the werewolf is a sensitive, poetry reading youth who longs for humanity because it is the only way to hold on to the girl he loves.

Readers who enjoy romance that is not sickly sappy will enjoy this book. Readers who enjoyed the Twilight series and find themselves an avid fan of Team Jacob will love this book because finally the warm hearted werewolf finds his love.

A Novel Moment:
“I held on to those eyes for as long as I could. Yellow. And, up close, flecked brilliantly with every shade of gold and hazel. I didn’t want him to look away, and he didn’t.” (from Grace 15 degrees)

“I was next to her, and she was looking up at the endless sky with distant eyes. Maybe dead. I pushed my nose into her hand; the scent of her palm, all sugar and butter and salt, reminded me of another life. Then I saw her eyes. Awake. Alive.” (from Sam 15 degrees)

Book Citation: Stiefvater, Maggie. Shiver. Scholastic Press. Nook edition.


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