ArchivedLogs:Searching for History
|Searching for History|
Two history buffs, searching and talking
<NYC> Strand Books - East Village
The Strand manages to pack a whole lot of character into one bookstore, but they have a lot of space to fit it in. They advertise themselves as having eighteen miles of books, and whether or not that is true, it certainly is true that they have an enormous number of shelves packed into their rows and rows and rows of books. A book-lover's haven, this East Village landmark boasts an enormous collection of volumes of all types among their stacks, crammed into the narrow aisles. Well-known for their rare and out-of-print collection, they have many hard to find volumes tucked away in their labyrinth of shelves as well.
Being that the temperatures were dipping outside, there was something to be said for a warm shop and an hour or two getting lost perusing their wares. Lillian Walsh still has her jacket on as she rummages through the youth literature section. She has a few already squirreled away books in a basket that sits on the ground by her feet and she reaches up to pull out a dusty copy of Piers Anthony novel with an ogre on the cover. Lillian flips the book over, reading the back, pausing to laugh to herself, and setting it down into her basket before returning her attention back to the shelves.
Stepping carefully through the shelves is, apparently, not quite carefully enough for one of the patrons of the Strand. Eyes scanning the bookshelves instead of watching where he is going, Iolaus nearly walks straight into Lillian, basket and all. His eyes flash apologetically at her as he quickly catches himself, hand outstretched to let his basket carefully rock without hitting her - or the shelves - so as not to damage any of the books cradled inside. "I'm quite sorry," he says, flashing her a small smile. He pulls his other hand out of his black peacoat and tugs at one of the edges, in a clearly embarrassed expression. "I've been trying to find this book for a while now, but I haven't had any luck. I'm afraid my eyes were on the books, not the hallways."
Lillian is reaching for another book but glances over a split second before Iolaus stops himself, drawing in a quick gasp and stepping back before relaxing. "Oh! Oh, no. It's all right. The aisles are rather small, after all." She blinks and quickly adds "Which I really just think adds to the character of the place." Her gaze traces back to the shelf to locate another book she was about to select, though a frown tugs at the corners of her mouth as she fails to find it again. "No use asking the employees. I don't think they have this place catalogued in the least bit. Which... another charm of it all. What were you looking for? I could maybe help. I'm twice over my budget as it is and need to be torn away before I go crazy." Lillian's eyes drop to the basket full of books at her feet.
Iolaus looks down as well and smiles. "That does definitely seem to happen, here." He says, glance shifting to his own basket. "The most frustrating part is that it /shouldn't/ have left the rare books section, yet somehow it seems to have. It was a first edition copy of the translation of the Symposium by Benjamin Jowett. They seem to have misplaced it somewhere..." he looks around at the shelves, a wry smile spreading on his lips. "They insist that they have not sold it, but I have been searching for what feels like hours."
Lillian knits her brow at the shelves as if the book might be sandwiched between the copy of the fourth Harry Potter and The Giver. "Well, I don't know if you'll have much luck here. Unless someone has decided that Plato belongs in the children's section." Her nose wrinkles in a laugh and she picks up her basket, slinging to to the crook of her elbow. "Perhaps it's in history. Right... oh, over there. I think." She turns and slides down the aisle a little, eyes scanning around. "So what's the interest with the book? Are you a collector?"
"At this point, I'm looking everywhere." Iolaus says, amusement clear in his voice. He pauses to glance at the shelf opposite, studying a book closer before shaking his head once and moving on. "Ancient Greece is a passion of mine," Iolaus continues, hand rising to run along the bottom of a shelf as he looks. "Has been since high school. The Symposium is a particularly beautiful work, and when I heard that they had one of the definitive translations of it, I had to compare it to what my understanding is." His smile quirks, slightly. "Meaning can be a little bit difficult to tease from the words even when you understand them, since our cultures have changed so much."
There is an amused look given to the other before Lillian returns to browsing. "Has it?" she asks, pulling out a book before pushing it right back in. No dice. "I wish I had even one kid who was passionate about it. The ancient Greece section last month was pretty much me dragging my class kicking and screaming." She draws in a deep breath and continues to trace her fingers along the spines of the books before her. "That's part of what I like about history. It's not just about the important events or art and literature pieces. It's about really trying to immerse yourself with that culture of the time. The whole picture kind of thing."
"You teach?" Iolaus says, sounding impressed. "Kicking and screaming - I'm guessing... middle-school?" he hazards, giving her a sympathetic look. "History was always an escape for me. That was why I liked it. A different time, with different values." he says, a slanting smile on his lips and a somewhat sad look in his eyes. "And since my family - half of it, anyway, was Greek - I already could read the language and hear stories about the old days." A beat. "The old, old days, I mean. I guess I got a little caught up in it," he says, sheepishly, "Since when I changed my name, I took an old one. Iolaus." He extends a hand in greeting, even as they walk.
"High school, actually. By kicking and screaming I really mean grumbling and sneaking tweets on their phones." Lillian snorts gently and looks his way as he speaks, stopping her hunt for his book for a moment. "Lily," she says for herself, reaching for his hand to shake it firmly. "I'm going to guess that your name change wasn't because you had an unhealthy obsession with the Hercules show. Not that I did. In the nineties. In middle school." She clears her throat and looks pointedly away. "History is great..." she breathes out and rocks her weight on her heels as she stares up at the ceiling.
"More like an ugly obsession with Hercules." Iolaus says, grinning slightly as he gives her an equally firm shake. "And Iolaus." A pause. "I was never one for the show. Too... fake for me. The reality was more interesting." he says, eyes lighting up and winking playfully at her. "Despite what most of the books told you. As I said, our culture has changed quite a bit, and when most of the so-called modern translations were done in the 1800s and early 1900s..." he trails off, letting his hands spread apart in a half-shrug. Then he sets off searching, once more, eyes turned back to the shelves. "One reads what one wants to read, I suppose."
"Oh yes. I so totally watched it for the plot." Lillian can't help but bark a laugh at the idea before chewing on the inside of her cheek and dropping her eyes back to books. "Well I'm awfully sorry that they misplaced the book. I'm afraid that one could spend days in here without luck. Oh, wait...!" She plucks a book from the shelf but sighs. "Oh, nevermind. Sorry." Lily pushes the incorrect book back with a slump of her shoulders. "Any luck on your end?"
Iolaus' face lights up, but it quickly dims as Lillian reconsiders. "No, I'm afraid not." he says, sighing once. "Well, they promised me that they would hold it for me at the counter if someone brought it up and attempted to buy it." He runs a hand through his hair, glancing around at the shelves. "My only fear is that they accidentally shelved it with the non-rare books and sold it to someone, thinking it was one of the newer reproductions. But, we will see. C'est la vie." he says, smile once more returning to his lips.
Lillian adjusts her basket on her arm. "Well, I hope they didn't. Sounds like you have your heart set on it." With a frustrated rumble in her throat, Lily raps on a book spine with a knuckle and does one more once over of the section. "Ah, but I should get home. Still, it was nice meeting you, Iolaus, friend of Hercules." She tosses him a silly grin and a tip of her head. "Good luck on your hunting, yeah?" The teacher steps around him and moves towards the cashier.
Iolaus nods politely and gives her a mischievous smile. "Friend. Yes. Thank you, I will. I think I will surrender, soon enough, to return another day. While I am saddened, I'm sure my wallet is all the happier for my loss." he winks at her and nods, once. "Good luck with corralling your texting children." he says, raising one hand to his forehead in an easy salute.