IMG_9691It hit 82 degrees in New York City this Monday, and while we’ll get blasé about such things eventually, memories of the long, cold winter still haunt us, and we welcomed the sun like starved things grateful for a crumb.

So out we went, to one of Central Park’s most scenic and private nooks, to enjoy our afternoon.

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Did the lawn around us really need the amount of care the two city employees tasked with mowing it seemed determined to give it? We don’t know. But my goodness, that grass got a thorough mowing, lasting from 1pm to somewhere near 4. At one point, they were reduced to mowing the rocks.

The lawnmower men aside, we spent a joyful afternoon unmolested by any human (an adorable troupe of tiny dogs descended upon us at one point, but we welcomed their company — and took the opportunity to educate their walker, a woman who seemed surprised to learn that it’s legal in New York for her to go topless anywhere a man can).

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For reading material we had new offerings from our friends at Hard Case Crime (including a new Lawrence Block book — he was the author we read at our very first event back in 2011!), Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, and (for those with less sophisticated tastes, clearly) Tender Is the Night.

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And when the afternoon waned, did we pack up and go home? No! We walked a dozen blocks downtown and moved the festivities indoors, at a neighborhood cafe that kindly let us take over their wood-paneled, fireplace-featuring downstairs cocktail lounge.

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Not the best lighting conditions for photography, but perfect for other pleasures, and pleasures were there many. Including beverages courtesy of a good-humored mixologist who took our presence in stride.

God bless New York bartenders. Nothing fazes ’em.

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IMG_9581The last time we set out for Sheep Meadow it was filled with snow. This time it was fenced off, presumably so the grass could return in peace. But as today was the first time this year that the temperature broke 60 degrees, we were not to be put off. We climbed to the top of a nearby boulder and celebrated the coming of Spring, the advent of Easter, Erev Erev Pesach, the day after April Fool’s, and all other things celebratory in our own special way.

The park was crowded with would-be sun worshipers, and the occasional biting wind notwithstanding, the sun on our skin felt lovely. Books in our stacks included a forthcoming Hard Case Crime novel irresistibly called SO NUDE, SO DEAD, Ernest Hemingway’s THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO, and Book 5 in the GAME OF THRONES series. And the food we had on hand included brioches shaped like Easter bunnies with raisins for eyes…

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…and cupcakes decorated with butterflies and ladybugs. Just because.

Is this the start of our new season? Well, it’s a far cry from the heat of summer, but by god, we’re out of hibernation at last. So, yes: in the spirit of the season, it’s a resurrection of sorts. And we say hallelujah.

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IMG_9454Most of us, faced with word of an impending blizzard (“Biggest storm of the last 30 years!”), would make plans to stay indoors. Not us. We marshaled our forces and set out for the frozen heart of NYC. You know how it goes. The cold never bothered us, anyway.

Of course, the “biggest storm of the last 30 years” turned out to be a tempest in a teapot. Not even a tempest really. A flurry in a thimble, maybe. But there was enough snow on the ground for snowmen to sprout like toadstools all over our beloved Sheep Meadow. We even saw one igloo.

And, arctic explorers that we are, we braved the elements in the semi-altogether, books in hand (except when cups of steaming hot chocolate took precedence). Bracing doesn’t begin to describe it.

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Snowman construction was a group exercise. We gave it a little head (what? what?), then added some other appendages…

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Do we prefer summer temperatures? You bet your ass we do. But it was lovely to be out and about in brazen defiance of nature’s dictates for a change, not just society’s.

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Onward. Spring can’t be far off now…

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IMG_5086So our last post highlighted the photos we took over the past year that you all clicked on the most. But there are others that are particular favorites of ours, either for purely aesthetic reasons or because of the event they recorded or for mysterious reasons all our own. Call it “Editor’s Choice.”

Herewith, then, our Editor’s Choice photos, two dozen hand-picked images, presented with love.

It’ll be warm again soon. But not soon enough.

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IMG_5605Happy holidays, all. We’re between events currently, all in sugar comas (or ham comas, or champagne comas, or what-have-you), girding ourselves for the polar vortices to come. At least, we tell ourselves, the days are getting longer.

In the meantime, we thought we’d do our annual round-up of the images from the year just past that you lot seemed to like the most, based on how many times you clicked on them. Now, this could be misleading: sometimes a given post got an abnormal number of clicks because it happened to coincide with a spurt of attention we got, due to coverage in a newspaper or magazine, for instance, or on Reddit. But overall we think clicks are at least a halfway decent proxy for interest.

So without further ado, the most popular images of  2014, divided into Public (i.e., out in the park, or the rooftop pool of a popular hotel, or a wine bar with huge plate glass windows exposing us to the world) and Private (i.e., a private roof, a private room in a restaurant, a private spa).

PUBLIC:

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PRIVATE:

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IMG_9397For most of the year, each person at one of our events reads whatever she wants, and though we share recommendations, we don’t generally swap books with one another. But once a year we do, at our annual Secret Santa book exchange. Last year, we held it at a science-fiction bookstore in Brooklyn (an excuse to get naked amid row upon row of wonderful, lurid covers); this year, we chose a spa in Koreatown called Juvenex. Which meant that in addition to a wildly eclectic and intriguing selection of books (see photo, below) we also got to enjoy soaking tubs filled with floating lemons, a sauna shaped like an igloo, a steam room so powerful none of us could take it for more than 5 minutes (but what minutes they were while they lasted!), and a variety of scrubs, massages, and facials. Oh, and tea and melon and pineapple. Yum.

We were joined by a journalist from Styleite.com who steadfastly remained clothed even in the steamy spa environs, despite being surrounded by 17 naked women (and one equally naked man). We felt bad for her! But who knows? Maybe next time she’ll feel confident enough to join in.

And now: on to the real Santa! Just a week away. We’ve been good, sir, we promise! In any event, we’re confident we won’t get lumps of coal in our stockings. Because, well, no stockings.

Merry and Happy, to all our fans and followers, and may 2015 be a glorious one, with nudity and justice for all. :)

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IMG_9306Thanksgiving is about family, not just genetic but spiritual. Kurt Vonnegut called the people who don’t happen to be related to you but who belong together with you in some more meaningful and fundamental sense your “karass.”

Well, we spent the day before Thanksgiving celebrating the holiday with our karass, the group of smart, confident, body-positive women (and two or three supportive men) who populate New York’s most unusual book club. There were books on hand, ranging from The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin to Stop This Man! by Peter Rabe, but we didn’t get much reading done, not when there was wine to drink and truffle-laced pizza to nibble and chocolate fondue to finish things off; not when there were old friends and new to catch up with, some having come from as far away as Texas and California to be with us; not when there was the joy of lounging about in the warm environment provided by Ayza down on Carmine Street, while outside the giant plate-glass windows freezing sleet was coming down hard. (Ah, the looks we got from some of the startled passers-by! What must they have thought? An oasis in the desert couldn’t look more mirage-like than we must have on this cold, cold, wet day.)

It is a wonderful feeling to share the holiday with people you care about. Getting to share it naked in the heart of Manhattan makes it even better. We wish all of you could have the same opportunity, wherever you might be — if not this time around, then sometime in the not-too-distant future.

And to all the members of our karass, in diaspora around the world, we wish a very happy holiday season. Remember, if you ever find yourself in NYC, you’ve got friends who’d love to meet you.

(How? Simple. Just drop a note to toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com.)

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