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This morning’s mission was to trot westward on Houston, into Soho to the Housing Works Bookshop Cafe. The store is a fundraiser for Housing Works, a charity committed to fighting both homelessness and AIDS – all profits are donated to the cause, all the staff are volunteers, and all the stock is donated. So there are great bargains to be had and for a good cause; and you can sit and while away a rainy morning with a hot coffee and a 50 cent copy of Alice in Wonderland, for example.

How amazing is Lewis Carroll?! Or, to be correct, C.L. Dodgson. The playfulness and linguistic dexterity of Alice had me utterly captivated, and brought back many a dreamlike Disney memory like so many acid flashbacks. I just adore the croquet scene, a menagerie of hedgehog balls and flamingo mallets:

The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo: she succeeded in getting its body tucked away, comfortably enough, under her arm, with its legs hanging down, but generally, just as she had got its neck nicely straightened out, and was going to give the hedgehog a blow with its head, it would twist itself round and look up in her face with such a puzzled expression that she could not help bursting out laughing; and, when she had got its head down , and was going to begin again, it was very provoking to find that the hedgehog had unrolled itself, and was in the act of crawling away…

The store also hosts events (I must admit I first saw it on Gossip Girl in one of Lonely Boy’s scenes with real-life author Jay McInerney) – and there’s a great one coming up. On October 12 Nick Hornby and Ben Folds will appear in conversation about when music and writing collide, and the release of their collaborative album Lonely Avenue.

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