6 Riveting NYC Bookstores and My Vacation Book Haul
Alas, my adventures in NYC have (temporarily) come to an end. Like any good book nerd, I made a point to visit six of the city's finest book stores. While there are many more I plan to visit on my next journey to the city, I thoroughly enjoyed these six stores (as evidenced by my book haul).
When you think of the perfect bookstore full of nostalgia and things both old and new, you're probably thinking of a place like Westsider Books. With floor to ceiling books stacked two and three rows deep and sliding book ladders, it's hard not to fall in love. I got some fabulous photos there, so definitely check them out in my NYC literary adventures post (and see a couple of awesome reading spots, too!). You can find Westsider Books on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.
For such a small space, bookbook sure knows how to pack a literary punch. I found no less than 50 books I wanted. Naturally, I could only buy a few, so I picked two books of short stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you probably know that one of my lifetime reading goals is to read everything Gabriel Garcia Marquez is ever written. So when I go to book stores, I have a habit of checking out his section, though I usually only find the popular titles I already own. Imagine my surprise when I happened upon not one, but TWO books of his that I didn't know existed! bookbook won this book nerd's heart in the best possible way. You can find bookbook in the heart of Greenwich Village.
Oh, the glory that is Strand! I know I already raved about Strand in my NYC literary adventures post, but it really is that good. What I love about Strand is that in addition to their 18 miles of books over 4 floors, there are TONS of book goodies. I'm talking book-themed t-shirts, tote bags, mugs, socks, school/office supplies, magnets, journals, stationary, and home decor. If you're looking for a way to bring more book nerdiness into your life, you definitely want to stock up on their wide selection of book-themed stuff. Let's just say I've got my Christmas and birthday wish lists set for life. And you don't even have to be jealous of the book nerdy things I bought because they have a sweet online store, so you can shop from home. You can find Strand in the East Village.
I got super lucky when I just so happened across a super cheap bookstore in the heart of one of Manhattan's most tourist-traveled areas. Just down from Radio City Music Hall and 30 Rock, Book Off is a gem in and of itself. They have a wide selection of books for only $1 (I got some really good ones!) and most of their used books, including hardbacks, are just $5. I knew I wasn't going to leave there empty handed! If you're familiar with 2nd & Charles, Book Off is much the same concept, though they do have a variety of books written in Japanese, so if that's a thing you're into, Book Off is the place to go.
I have to say, Book Culture is (to me) the perfect example of a modern indie bookstore (that doesn't sell used books). The inside is warm and inviting with large tables, open walkways, brightly painted walls, posh decor, a variety of reading nooks and a person sitting at a computer in the back of the store who jumped at the chance to help customers find the perfect book for themselves or for a gift. Not only did I want all the books in the well-curated store, I left feeling motivated to redecorate my room so my books will look even better in their space. I visited their Columbus Ave. location, though there are two other locations around the city as well.
After taking the Staten Island Ferry to glimpse the Statue of Liberty, I decided to explore the island for a bit and behold--the very first thing I find is a comic book store! I've just in the past year started reading comics and one of my favorites is Sex Criminals. And it was my lucky day because I just so happened to find a copy of the very first issue of Sex Criminals! Let me take a moment to explain how rare and special this is: There are only a limited number of single issues of any one comic printed and comic book stores have to let the publishers know how many copies they want to have in store. Once those copies are gone, that's it--you have to buy them elsewhere or wait for the trade paperback edition (this is why comic books can appreciate in value). Sex Criminals has been out for 2 years. That means someone--anyone--has had TWO YEARS in which to buy that first issue and yet it was there waiting for me.
NYC Vacation Book Haul:
- Leaf Storm and Other Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel
- The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
- The Wives of Los Alamos by Tarashea Nesbit
- Sweetland by Michael Crummey
- 1984 t-shirt
- 2 book-themed magnets
- library checkout card-printed socks
- 2 bookmarks with designs of classic paintings hanging in the Frick Museum