Apr 24, 2011

I Love Book Stores

Summary: On my regular spring trip to the Big Apple, I did something novel that I've never done before .... I went book-shopping! Here are the highlights.

Who among us isn't familiar with the popular slogan "I Love New York" (sometimes read by sight as "I Heart New York")? The slogan was designed in the late 1970s as part of an NYC tourism campaign—much to the chagrin of most native New Yorkers, I'm sure. In fact, I even heard one of them state matter-of-factly that the whole concept was supposed to be ironic, but we out-of-towners just didn't get it—possibly underscoring the irony.

Well, my blog-reading friends, I heart BOOKS. This I've always known with an air of pure literalness, figuratively speaking. But recently, when my little berg closed down both of its two major bookstore chains, I realized with panic how much I love BOOK STORES ... and just how much I've taken them for granted.

So, on a recent trip to the Big Apple, I spent one entire wet, rainy day sloshing from book store to bookstore. (Can you believe that it's appropriate to write that as both two words and one?) And with each excursion, I added more bags full of books to my arms. Thank God for the dollar bin!

I started almost accidentally at the Barnes & Noble at Union Square while waiting for a friend. My friend then recommended a small store of solely spiritually-based books called East West Books. Sadly, however, my trek (luckily in the same neighborhood) ended at an empty storefront and a similarly 'dead' website from my phone. Refusing to be disheartened, I plugged on to The (famous) Strand, which boasts 18 miles of books in a maze of tall shelves and long tables in the heart of The Village. I visited all three stories (so to speak), saving—and savoring—the precious Rare Book Room for last.
This photo (above, center) was snapped on my phone. It's my much relished view of the book binder's work station and tools.

I ended my journey in West Village on a little neighborhood side street at a perfectly quaint and very novel showcase store for art books called Oh-WOW Book Club. As you can guess, it appealed to me for many reasons. In the small, trendy space, as the only browser, I was treated to a bonus conversation with the store host who answered my questions and spoke pointedly to me about her own communications challenges after innocently asking me, "What do you do for a living?"

I've spent days shopping at sample sales, tasting at restaurants, perusing in museums and in my youth, even spent nights out clubbing in NYC. But this was my first tour of book stores. I highly recommend it as a potentially dying art.

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2011

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