Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

All I Need Is My Book and a Park ; MYSTERY OR POETRY, FICTION OR BIOGRAPHY - ON A SUMMER DAY, ANYTHING GOES

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

All I Need Is My Book and a Park ; MYSTERY OR POETRY, FICTION OR BIOGRAPHY - ON A SUMMER DAY, ANYTHING GOES

Article excerpt

Some come from around the corner, and others from around the world. Some are seeking knowledge and truth, while others are looking for nothing more than a pleasant means of whiling away a summer's day.

But whatever their origin or motive, be they tourists or students or workers on a lunch break, a broad cross-section of humanity is bound together on a recent summer afternoon by a book in hand and the inviting nooks and crannies of New York City's Central Park.

For book lovers, of course, reading is a pleasure that knows no season. But summer's sunny skies and warm temperatures - those particularly alluring conditions for getting lost in a book - make only a brief appearance each year in the Northeast. And to many readers, that makes a trip to Frederick Law Olmsted's urban preserve all but inevitable.

Scott Provan, a student of literature from London, just arrived in New York for his first visit yesterday. He has already managed to find, first, a good bookstore, and second, Central Park. He sits with his back to the park's boat pond while enjoying poetry - in the original German - by Rainer Maria Rilke.

"The poems are about evening and quiet," he explains. "It helps keep your mind cool." As for the park, he says he's already fallen in love. "I like to compare parks around the world," he explains. "And this one, it's lovely."

Just a few yards away from Scott sits Emma Haworth, another British tourist. But Ms. Haworth is from Lancashire, and favors a different kind of reading. It's a story of loss but with a happy ending, she says holding up "Charity," by Lesley Pearse. "It's my kind of book."

Haworth has been visiting friends in town for a week now, and has seen the Bronx Zoo and Times Square, but finds that on weekdays, while her friends are at their offices, the park - near the water and with a book - is the nicest place to be.

For some readers, the sound of children at play is the best backdrop to time spent with a book. That is certainly the case for Kathy Golden, who, in a small gated playground hugging Fifth Avenue, is keeping one eye on her eight-year-old son even as she's focusing on "Reading a Middle School Curriculum."

Ms. Golden and her family are in New York for a few days for her husband's job. Son Steven has discovered that - along with FAO Schwartz and the Disney Store - the park is one of his favorite spots. His mother, meanwhile, who teaches third grade in Cambridge, Mass., needs to push forward on reading related to her effort to become a literary coordinator.

"This spot is ideal for us," says Golden. "It's fenced in, it's in the shade. I just have to look up every other paragraph or so."

But not every reader is enjoying the park amid the luxury of a summer vacation. For some, an hour spent with a book outdoors is a valued respite from work.

A little ways up from the Goldens sits Monique Crous, a Ralph Lauren sales associate. She is perusing "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden, oblivious to the miniature sail boats drifting gently past on a small pond. …

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