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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Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

"April Kepner... you're not average"
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I'll admit from the first time we were introduced to April in Season 6, I didn't like her so much. I mean we hated the "Mercy Westers" in the first place, so how could we see the potential in the annoying, know-it-all resident that was trying to compete with our beloved Lexie Grey.

But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.


We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Life Is Short, So Buy The Concert Tickets

It could be the last time you ever see that band.
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"Life is short, buy the concert tickets."

A motto I have lived by for as long as I have been able to go to shows on my own. I have bought concert tickets in a tattoo shop for a show two days away, and I have bought tickets for a show months away. I have bought tickets instead of groceries and other bills. Perhaps that is what makes the shows so worth it.

Over the years, I have gone to countless concerts, crowd-surfed and moshed at the majority. Primarily, I’ve attended punk shows like Social Distortion and Flogging Molly. Spending every last dime on a concert creates a feeling of last chance euphoria. I always enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment that came with that my bank account being drained buying the tickets, gas, merch and snacks for the ride. It’s the story of my life.

In my experience, the shows become even better. The last show I went to was an Irish Punk show. I gave a man 10 bucks to get me a beer. He gave me his credit card, locked arms with me and sang the lyrics at the top of our lungs. One of my best friends and I spent that whole show moshing and crowd surfing, knowing very well we were broke and had to work in the morning.

As the summer season comes around the corner, bands are beginning to announce their summer tour dates. Many of the bands I follow have announced their tours, and sure enough, I dropped 300 dollars in a matter of an hour on shows, only to find out there are many more coming that I want to see. Student loans will always be there. Rent, bills, insurance, will always be there. Buy the concert tickets, spend time at a punk show (or any show). It could be the last time you ever see that band.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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