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I was spoiled by my cousin Francoise and my friends Claudine and Marc with the gift of these two books; Surrender, New York by Caleb Carr and The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto. Claudine and Marc lured me to Barnes and Nobles at first with some excuse, but they confessed very quickly that they intended to gift me with books of my choosing, I was very touched and very excited, there aren’t many things that make better presents than books. I have to say that I was beyond shocked when, on a whim I walked to customer service to ask for the latest book written by one of my favorite authors, Caleb Carr, a New York City historian, and he had just published his sequel to The Alienist, which was sitting on the shelf right behind the person helping me, he put the copy in my hand and I was so happy!

My next task was to pick another awesome book and I think I did just that, The Island at the Center of the World is an epic study of New Amsterdam and its lost sister colony of New Netherlands, according to the book’s jacket, this is a new insight into our New York City historic origins. I look forward to learning more about the city that I grew up in, you can never know enough.

I was definitely happily spoiled by my dear cousin and my dear friends, how lucky am I?