Dear Dad,

Today I went to my favorite used book shop in Soho.  I was feeling blue after our conversation, and figured looking at books might take my mind off of things for a bit.  I found a great young adult novel from 1941, “Junior Miss” subtitled as, ‘The heart-warming and hilarious adventures of America’s favorite teen-ager’.  The copy I bought is a small paper-back version of the book, which sold at the steep price of a full quarter in 1941.

While looking over the fiction section I spotted a book I thought you might enjoy as well and which I’ve included with this letter, “Pontoon”, by Garrison Keillor.  I can still remember you playing A Prairie Home Companion in the car as you picked me and my friends up from dance practice or the mall.  Mortified by the choice of radio stations you’d chosen to put on, I recall asking you turn the radio off, fearful of my friend’s judgement.  My opinion towards Keillor has since changed, however my earliest memories embarrassment at the sound of his voice remain strong as ever.

In any case, the book store certainly cheered me up.  Hopefully this letter and book can offer the same comfort to you.

Love always,

Yours Truly

My Dear Miss S

It has been entirely too long since we last spoke.  I’m sorry for not calling sooner, in fact, I imagine I’ll phone before this letter reaches you…which will make any personal update redundant.  Rather than run that risk, I will instead tell you about my day.

At this moment I am in Soho, sitting in a little Swiss Cafe that I sometimes like to frequent.  I had intended to go to my favorite haunt, an Italian bar/cafe just a few blocks from here, but I didn’t realize they don’t open until noon.  Since it was 11:30 I decided to come here instead.  I sat down, ordered a bottle of sparkling water, and very carefully poured over the menu.  More than anything I was thirsty.  When the waitress came back with the water I asked what kind of juices they had, then ordered a grapefruit juice–such a treat in the morning (afternoon).

The last time I came here I ordered an arugula salad that I thought sounded nice.  It arrived nothing more than a small portion of greens with olive oil.  A bit steep at $9, even for New York, I thought.  Remembering this, I hesitated, then simply ordered a croissant.  The croissant was as flakey and crumbly as they come, and I ended up covering the table, my book, my jeans, and the floor in a thin layer of croissant leaves, which continued to multiply and break into smaller pieces each time I tried to clean them up.

Did I mention how neat the water bottles are?  Their form sort of reminds me of a hot water bottle that you fill and put in a bed to heat it in winter.  It has one of those metal-top rubber stoppers, which of course makes it look very vintage, but smart.

The menu here is very meat heavy, which is a bit problematic.  I usually only come in for something small or for a warm drink and a place to sit while I read a book or write a letter.  The crowd is always a bit fashiony, sometimes trendy, and often foreign.  It’s hard to pin down, I don’t love it.  But there are small touches–softly sanded wooden chairs, oversized European posters, ceiling tiles that remind me of saltine crackers, thoughtfully designed water bottles–that make it feel homey.

I was hoping to read my New Yorker and finish up my Murakami book.  However, after my meeting at work my boss gave me a book he’s just finished and thought I might enjoy reading, “How to Live, or the Life of Montaigne.”  I’m not usually one for books on philosophy, however it’s a nice change from the books I’ve been reading lately.  Montaigne is a French essayist from the 16th century who wrote exploratory personal essays on things like Friendship, Cruelty, Coaches, and also on the Custom of Wearing Clothes, How We Laugh and Cry For the Same Thing, and How Our Mind Hinders Itself.  The author sets up the book in 20 chapters, each devoted around parts or anecdotes of Montaigne that explain his philosophy (more of his gained experience) on How to Live.   I’ll let you know if I learn any  tips on how to live a more articulate life.

Are you reading any good books lately?  One of my worst habits is reading too many books at a time.  I switch from book to book (have had an upwards of 10 books reading at a time).  This often causes me to forget characters, lose the plot, or miss over arching themes.  It’s a hard habit to break since I’m such an enthusiastic buyer of books and I like to read them immediately after purchase.

Enough about me, how have you been?  How is life in L.A?  I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I visited you out there.  I look back on that vacation as one of the best I’ve ever had.  Biking on Venice Beach was amazing, even if you fell off your bike 3 times, ha.  Will you be able to visit New York sometime?  I would love to hang out again soon, I will miss you until I see you again.

Sincerely,

Your Best Friend Since Seventh Grade