A Review of Shaker Mill Books

A Review of Shaker Mill Books

3 Depot Street, West Stockbridge, MA

On my way through the Berkshire Mountains to check out a bookshop in Lenox, Massachusetts, I stumbled across Shaker Mill Books in West Stockbridge. It looks rather unassuming from the outside, a one-floor building behind a lovely old red barn/mill right at the main crossroads in town. But when I walked inside, I was pleasantly surprised to find not just a massive array of books, but there were excellent deals all over the place. My eyes got really, big really quick, and I did not go home empty-handed.

Read More

A Review of Beacon Reads

A Review of Beacon Reads

309 Main Street Beacon, NY

Beacon Reads is a small two-room shop next door to the Howland Public Library on Beacon’s Main Street, and they sell a lot of overflow titles, mass market paperbacks, and some older classics. Though it feels like a balance between a tag sale book table and a tiny bookshop, they do sell their own shirts and bags, and all the proceeds go to support the library itself, so you can feel good about dropping a few dollars on that David Baldacci book or the Michael Connelly novel you’ve been meaning to read. And to its credit, it has some other unique finds that make it worth exploring if you’re walking by.

Read More

A Review of Binnacle Books

A Review of Binnacle Books

321 Main Street, Beacon, NY

When I lived in Beacon circa 2009, there really wasn’t any bookshop outside of the small library annex that sold overflow titles and well-worn mass paperbacks. This bookshop, however, puts Beacon back in the literary race. It’s a small shop, just a few cozy, compact rooms, but it packs a punch, has plenty to browse through, and gives Beacon’s Main Street some much needed literary representation.

Read More

A Review of Logos Book Store

A Review of Logos Book Store

1575 York Ave., New York, NY

I came upon Logos as I was wandering around waiting to check into my Airbnb up in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan. It was just before lunch on a Saturday and York Ave was quiet, matching the calm inside the store. I had the shelves all to myself, aside from the clerk up front, who was polite and let me browse at my own pace. There was a nice array of oil paintings hung up above the bookshelves, and the store had that old book smell with softly creaking wooden floors—I felt very much in my element.

Read More

Bookshop Interview with Bud Smith

in-a-boat-e1515088140394.jpg

Bud Smith is the author of Double Bird, Work, F-250, Calm Face, and other books of fiction and poetry, and I caught his ear for a quick moment to ask him some questions about his favorite bookshop. 

BookBook (266 Bleecker Street, NYC) 

1. How did you discover the shop?

Michael Bible told me to go there because we were drinking beer and talking about all those NYRB releases. He said that they had books in like new condition for $6 or so. It's not quite a used bookstore. It's like a major discount for like-new books. 

2. What part of the shop is your favorite? Give us a walkthrough of what it's like to browse at BookBook.

That big stack of NYRB releases is the best. It's right in the front of the store. I went there the other day and bought five of them. Past that are popular fiction titles and beyond that in the back of the shop there is literature. So you can nab Nabokov or whoever for $6.  

3. What other books have you bought there in the past?

A few Eve Babitz. A few by Tove Jansson. Fat City. Lucky Jim. 

4. What is it about BookBook that makes you love it? What really sets it apart?

I just like how good quality the books are and how cheap they are. I like that it's right outside the Christopher Street path stop so I can get there quick from Jersey City. There is a WORD bookstore in my neighborhood in Jersey City but I do not like it very much. BookBook is the shit. Codex is another really great bookstore at the far Far east end of Bleecker.

Bud Smith is the author of Teenager (Tyrant Books, 2018), Double Bird (Maudlin House, 2018), WORK (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2017), Dust Bunny City (Disorder Press, 2017), Calm Face (House of Vlad, 2016), among others. He lives in Jersey City, NJ, and works heavy construction. He blogs in the secret underground blogging ring known as tinyletter, follow him there, oh gawd. Also, he’s on Twitter at @bud_smithFor more about Bud and his books, check out his website, www.budsmithwrites.com.  

A Review of Shakespeare & Co. Books

A Review of Shakespeare & Co. Books

939 Lexington Ave., New York, NY

A weekday morning for a neighborhood bookshop could very well be a quiet affair, but Shakespeare & Co. on the upper east side of Manhattan was humming with guests on a Friday morning in March, though at that early hour, just after ten, most of the patrons were there for the coffee and pastries from their café tucked into the front of the shop. A few people took up chairs in the back to read over their steaming mugs. But I was there for the books, and there were plenty to browse through.

Read More

A Review of the Chatham Bookstore

A Review of the Chatham Bookstore

27 Main Street, Chatham, NY

Columbia County in upstate New York is a gorgeous area of the country, with rolling hills, small farms, and quaint towns like Chatham, which has a pretty, revitalized main street that is home to a combination of chic artisan shops and longtime local favorites that have held on through the years, including a one-screen movie theater and a bookshop. The Chatham Bookstore is a gem that has survived through four decades as a literary outpost with a great selection of books and events.  

Read More

A Review of McNally Jackson

A Review of McNally Jackson

52 Prince Street, New York, NY

In the heart of Soho’s cobbled streets and chic high-end clothiers, there’s an equally glossy and glass-encased bookshop that has a surprising number of works by indie authors and poets waiting within. First impressions, though, make the shop seem very au courant, with swaths of art books and large sections dedicated to photography, design, architecture, art, fashion, and other stylish topics. But until you start digging into the fiction, literature, and poetry, you don’t see the whole story.

Read More

A Review of Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

A Review of Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

126 Crosby St., New York, NY

Wherever you combine a used book store and a café with food and coffee, I will find you. I will find you, and I will spend time with you. I came across this shop by accident while looking for Jackson McNally in SoHo, and damn, what a cool spot! Beyond just having a huge array of used books (all donated) and a relaxed, comfortable environment, this place is extra special because proceeds from the shop support a ton of local initiatives, like those working to end AIDS and homelessness. (You can find out more at their website.) So all of us buying cool books helps fund essential causes for those in need. It's a win-win-win.

Read More

A Review of Rizzoli Bookstore

A Review of Rizzoli Bookstore

1133 Broadway, New York, NY

Even after relocating from their 57th Street home to this new store in the NoMad neighborhood, just a short walk from Madison Square Park, Rizzoli’s claim to be the “most beautiful bookstore in New York” may not be far off the mark. With large floor tiles, towering columns, and expansive shelf space, Rizzoli Bookstore certainly caters to the more chic and stylish readers on Manhattan Island. Still, I found there’s plenty there for the more humble reader, like yours truly.

Read More

A Review of I Love Books

A Review of I Love Books

380 Delaware Ave., Delmar, NY

My first impression of I Love Books was one of hesitation, as it looked so much more like a chaotic trinket shop in some tourist town than an actual bookshop. But after looking around I discovered I was not only wrong, but I found I was really enjoying myself jumping from books to literary toys and gifts and right back into books again. Not only is there plenty here for the writers and readers in your life, but there’s something for almost anyone in I Love Books.

Read More

A Review of The Mysterious Bookshop

A Review of The Mysterious Bookshop

58 Warren Street, New York, NY

If you love mysteries, hardboiled detectives, noir, Sherlock Holmes, pulp novels, or police procedurals, this is your ideal shop. It’s just one room, but it’s a big room, with books shelved floor to ceiling and piled on tables and turning racks in between. With leather sofas for reading and helpful staff willing to climb ladders to get those out-of-reach gems, this specialized shop is a great place to browse and a lot of fun to visit.

Read More

A Review of Alabaster Bookshop

A Review of Alabaster Bookshop

112 4th Avenue, New York, NY

Just around the corner from the famous Strand bookshop is another store of near equal quality—although not equal quantity, not by a long shot. Even a lot of Manhattanites I’ve spoken to have never visited this “little shop that could,” and I always tell them that the Alabaster Bookstore should be on everyone’s hit list.

Read More

A Review of Strand Bookstore

A Review of Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY

The idea of writing a review of Strand feels almost silly, as its reputation precedes itself quite well. And telling New York City bookworms about Strand is like telling Michael Jordan about basketball, but it’s an absolute pleasure to bring out-of-town book lovers into Strand and watch their eyes pop as they stare agog at the multi-floor beauty waiting for them within, or at the racks and racks of dollar books lining the sidewalk outside. This is my favorite place to browse for books. You can kill half a day here if you wanted to and never get bored, and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t leave the shop without a purchase.

Read More

A Review of The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza

A Review of The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza

1475 Western Ave., Albany, NY

The Book House will always have a special place in my heart because I bought my first book of poetry there, back in the spring of 2005, and it changed my life, giving me a creative outlet I never had before. For a long time I wasn’t able to return because I had moved away, but when I came back to the Albany area in 2015, I headed here and still stop by a few times a year. To say it’s located in the center of a strip mall is a bit deceiving unless you know Stuyvesant Plaza, which is home to a series of specialized and upscale clothing and gift shops, cafes and fine dining, plus a Chipotle, a TGI Fridays, that kind of stuff, basically the kind of strip mall an upper-middle class suburbanite would frequent. The only reason why I go there is The Book House, and this shop is worth the trip, especially if you're a local.

Read More

A Review of Argosy Book Store

A Review of Argosy Book Store

116 E 59th Street, New York, NY

If your ideal bookstore is a quiet shop with green carpeting and dark wood, rife with that old book smell, then Argosy book store is perfect for you. Just blocks from the southeast corner of Central Park, it claims to be New York’s oldest independent bookstore, standing strong since 1925, and it certainly feels like it. With all the ancient prints and maps available throughout all six floors of the shop (I only explored the first), the winding staircases, the green desk lamps, and the floor-to-ceiling rows of gorgeously-bound antique volumes of poetry, fiction, and historical texts, you know you’re in a serious shop from the first moment you enter.

Read More

A Review of Dove & Hudson

A Review of Dove & Hudson

296 Hudson Ave., Albany, NY

The word that kept coming to mind as I moved slowly through this bookshop was thorough. From the expansive history and fiction shelves to the impressive literary memoir, biography, criticism section, this shop contained some of the most comprehensive subsections I’ve seen for something its size. And while it’s not large, it will easily draw you in for hours.

Read More

A Review of Down In Denver Books

A Review of Down In Denver Books

874 Route 43, Stephentown, NY

Tucked away in the rolling hills of eastern New York, just minutes from the Massachusetts border, you’ll find a little bastion of books with a healthy nod to Beat writers and peaceniks, not to mention plenty of piles to sort through. In between photos of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady, a wandering shop cat, and various quotes lining the walls, you’ll find books stuck into every nook and cranny of this small but surprising bookshop.

Read More

A Review of The Open Door Bookstore

A Review of The Open Door Bookstore

128 Jay Street, Schenectady, NY

I’ll say this about The Open Door Bookstore—it sets the bar very high. From the first moment I walked inside, I realized that this is the kind of bookshop I’d call a “standard bearer,” especially for independent bookshops that specialize in new books. You walk in see all those displays of bestsellers, hardcovers, pristine paperbacks, and you smell that smell, of ink, paper, and binding, walk the clean orderly aisles. This is where you can spend an afternoon and lose yourself looking for that lucky book or two (or six?) that you plan to take home.

Read More