The Strand: A Necessary Experience

The Strand: A Necessary Experience

18 miles of books -- what could be better?
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New York City is a bustling place filled with thousands of delicious eateries, trendy shops, unique boutiques, and beautiful parks. All these places are nothing short of wonderful, but sometimes after spending hours in the crazy crowds you need somewhere to escape and the best place to do this is between the shelves of The Strand Bookstore.

Located at 828 Broadway and 12th Street, this marvelous bookstore’s four floors hold over 18 miles of books, millions of adventures for you to embark on. While the number of books displayed in The Strand is breathtaking, the diversity of these books is even more exceptional. The bookstore has new, used, and rare books available for sale, and many of these are very unique. For just one title, you could find three or more different versions of the novel on the shelf. Some of the books are even signed by the author! As The Strand buys many of their books from everyday people like you and me, these books essentially contain two stories. Each book primarily holds the story written within the pages, the story the author intended us, readers, to enjoy. Yet, each and every book holds its own story of its travels near and far, across the country and across the sea, which somehow brought the book to The Strand.

Whether you love young adult novels or prefer the timeless stories of classic novels, there is a book here for everybody. There are books printed in dozens of languages, travel guides to countries across the world, and poetry anthologies filled with verses of excitement, love, and lust. The bottom floor of the store even has a whole array of nonfiction titles ranging from wildlife encyclopedias all the way to psychology case studies. If you love seeing your favorite novels turned into movies, you will be delighted to learn the Amsterdam bench from the film adaptation of John Green’s "The Fault In Our Stars" has found its new home on the fourth floor of The Strand, so you can take a seat in the same place where Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort brought the beloved characters of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters to life. Before you leave, make sure to check out the assortment of clothing, stationary, kitchenware and totes for sale so you can show the world your love for reading and your newfound love for The Strand.

As if the books in the store were not mysterious enough, the people you encounter in this bookstore are nothing short of wondrous. Take a walk from the entrance to the classics section, and in those few steps, you will hear conversations in various languages from across the world. You will see people of all different styles and personalities, hair colors you never knew existed, and, of course, fashion trends just waiting to boom. All these different individuals brought together by the magic of reading and the spectacular feeling of belonging you can only find in The Strand.

The Strand is an adventure every New Yorker and every visitor should try his or her best to experience. Whether you read 12 books a month or barely get through a book each year, you will discover a new appreciation for the wonder of books and a new view of the world around you.

Cover Image Credit: Olivia Crowley

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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How Art Can Help You Take Care Of Yourself

It's time to go on a date with yourself.

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Art is a quintessential part of the human experience: it has something that has been present in human culture beginning from prehistoric times, from when human consciousness first entered the world. It is also something that transcends definition and intertwines with our play of life and the meaning of humanity. Art is an expression of feeling in its most ethereal meaning and "for fun" at its most basic.

Personally, as an Art History minor, art has been a dimension of life for me that I have explored deeply and holds a lot of meaning. Painting is a huge outlet and way to deal with stress for me, and appreciating fine art teaches me about the aspect of history and how all of history is tied together throughout paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It helps me center myself and remind me of the place I hold in this world and the curious aspect personal experience of history. However, art doesn't need to be the stereotypical idea of art: it can be expressed through dance, the learning of a new language, or the coloring of mandalas to ease stress.

The exploration of art and the artistic side of human nature is something that everyone has in them: it's written in our psychology. We have an entire side of our brain that is inclined toward feeling and abstract interpretation, so it's natural to assume that emotion and expression of art are intrinsically intertwined. Thus, experiencing art is a way to personally develop yourself, and can be an unfound way of finding out things about yourself.

Different ways to explore your artistic side can be very easy: as easy as 3rd-grade coloring books, coloring mandalas, or finger-painting. Recently, I participated in a lantern festival and being able to paint a small lantern was an amazing outlet from a stress-filled week and allowed me to express myself through something besides just communication. Writing is also another good way to express emotion and create art: many books are just art pieces, and can be another way to further develop yourself. Additionally, other small fun things like carving pumpkins (spooky season!) or even curating the perfect Instagram profile can be another way to express yourself.

Appreciating the small things in your life as art and self-expression help put you more in touch with yourself, which is easy to lose throughout the mundane cycles of college, work, and life in general. Keeping yourself in harmony and balance might seem like an earthy-crunchy concept, but self-care and self-love are vital in keeping the rest of your life ordered. Being mindful of yourself and your goals is something that I have always have had difficulty with, but working toward learning more about yourself is taking the first step.

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