Sunday, June 13, 2010

Opening Sentence of the Day: Up in the Old Hotel

"McSoreley's occupies the ground floor of a red-brick tenement at 15 Seventh Street, just off Cooper Square, where the Bowery ends."

Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell.

This book has been on my TBR shelf for years, ever since I read about it in a couple of other books (which ones, I can't remember now), wanted to read it, and found a very nice hardback copy at Green Apple. And it has sat on my shelf for six years. That is such a typical example and explains why there are over 900 books on my TBR shelves.

But I am excited to read this now. It is an omnibus collection of Mitchell's best pieces -- non-fiction and fiction -- originally published in the New Yorker from the 1930s to the early 1960s.


  1. I can understand finding buried treasures in the TBR stack. My active TBR has about 700 books. The older TBR fills 12 beer boxes (great size for books) in a closet. I don't think I'll ever catch up. Happy reading!

  2. AR -- It doesn't surprise me that you have read this book. Every time I dive into an obscure "classic," I find that you have already read it. Do you not sleep?

    Kathy -- I often calculate how many years, approximately, it would take me to read all the books currently on my TBR shelf. I like to keep it under ten years, but I am right on the brink.

  3. OVER 900 BOOKS!!!! Wow, you made me feel so much better with my measly 350. This book has been on my TBR shelf for 10 years too - maybe you'll inspire me to get around to it!

  4. Carin -- I'm glad to hear that other people let books sit around for years before they get to them.

    Now that I have read more of this one, I heartily recommend it.

  5. I am greatly relieved to hear that I am not alone in my book collecting. I have more TBR books on my shelves than I have books I have read. There are just so many great new novels coming out all the time!

  6. I too have lots of books still unread - and yet I still acquire more!

    I haven't heard of this book but I have been to McSorely's!

  7. This book is just great, great personal journalism, and it brings back the flavor of a New York that will never be again. Mitchell was a staff writer for The New Yorker who spent the last 20 years or so of his life going to the office faithfully every day -- the routine became a legend at the magazine -- but, after an extraordinarily prolific career, never wrote another word. He'd simply written himself out.


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