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A Review of Book Culture on Columbus

A Review of Book Culture on Columbus

450 Columbus Ave., New York, NY

Book Culture has a few locations throughout New York City, and the one I visited was a short walk from the American Museum of Natural History, or as I always called it, “the museum with the dinosaur bones.” A very technical and precise term. But anyway, this bookshop felt like the kind of store you’d go to in order to get a book for yourself and a gift for someone else, or vice versa. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, because if you don’t find a book you want, there are almost as many gifts as books, about a 50/50 split, making it much harder to walk out the door without something someone in your life would enjoy.

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10 Best New Bookshops in the Capital Region

10 Best New Bookshops in the Capital Region

Independent Bookstore Day 2019 is upon us, and to celebrate I thought I’d share some of my favorite bookstores in the Albany/Capital Region. Now I should note that my idea of the Capital Region might differ from yours. If I can drive there within an hour or so from downtown Albany, you’re in. There are plenty of great shops right on that line that didn’t make it, and some well within that range who didn’t make it either, but I had the draw the line and decide on my own personal favorites. Here’s what I came up with. The most important thing is this: support your local indie bookshops, whoever they are!  

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A Review of The Twig Book Shop

A Review of The Twig Book Shop

306 Pearl Parkway #106, San Antonio, TX

Since I moved away from San Antonio in 2009, the Pearl Brewery area has absolutely exploded with development, and in a beautiful way. My friend Christina gave me a tour of the new digs, the coffee shops, hotel lobbies, plazas, and of course a beautiful little bookshop. It’s not a huge shop, but it’s a fun one, and fits the aesthetic of the updated neighborhood very well.

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A Review of Bartleby’s Books

A Review of Bartleby’s Books

17 West Main Street, Wilmington, VT

Wilmington could be any anonymous crossroad town on a long road trip, but I assure you, it isn’t. Where that one small village exactly halfway to your destination might usually have a gas station, a diner, a mechanic, a traffic light flashing yellow, and then a cluster of homes, Wilmington seems to be an exception to that rule. Situated exactly halfway between Bennington and Brattleboro in Vermont, and serving as the entryway to such ski resorts as Mt. Snow and Stratton, Wilmington is probably a lot of people’s favorite little town, bustling with galleries, antique stores, cafes, restaurants, little hotels, and of course, a couple bookshops.

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A Review of The Bennington Bookshop

A Review of The Bennington Bookshop

467 Main Street, Bennington, VT

This little shop located in picturesque downtown Bennington, Vermont is almost like a miniature indie version of a Barnes & Noble, in that it features all new books in a bright, clean environment, and has a dash of all the major categories and styles. But it has just enough local flavor to make it unique to this particular town and region, too. Plus, it’s close to a handful of cafes and restaurants I really enjoy, so it’s always a must whenever I pass through Bennington.

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A Review of Battenkill Books

A Review of Battenkill Books

15 E Main Street, Cambridge, NY

It had been a long time since I took the twisting country backroads through Washington County to the small town of Cambridge, NY, but once there I felt this warm nostalgic feeling wash over me. Not much in the town seems to have changed in the 9 years since my last pass through, but I certainly don’t remember this quaint and clean bookshop, full of bestsellers, trinkets, and discounts that will make any bookworm happy for having trekked through forests and farmland to get there.

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A Review of Market Block Books

A Review of Market Block Books

290 River Street, Troy, NY

Market Block Books is pretty much the go-to spot for new books in the city of Troy, and it’s perfectly situated in a gorgeous downtown setting close to the river and plenty of cafes, bars, shops, and restaurants. And though the shop isn’t huge, it has just enough of everything to keep you busy with new bestsellers or local fare.

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A Review of The Bookloft

A Review of The Bookloft

332 Stockbridge Rd., Great Barrington, MA

Upon discovering The Bookloft bookshop in the middle of a small town supermarket plaza, I was uncertain about what I’d find inside. A deep discount goldmine? A cheapie cast-off shop? But as we know to never judge a book by its cover, I have learned to never judge a bookshop by where you find it, and The Bookloft turned out to be a very pleasant surprise.

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A Review of The Bookstore and Get Lit Wine Bar

A Review of The Bookstore and Get Lit Wine Bar

11 Housatonic Street, Lenox, MA

I found a number of small town bookshops during a recent weekend tour of western Massachusetts, but only one had a wine bar, and even though I stopped in before lunch on a Saturday, I was tempted to sit down, pour a glass, and dive into a book in one of this shop’s cozy chairs. I resisted, sticking to the shelves, but this must be a fun place to take in a reading, and I can attest it’s a great shop to spend an hour or so relaxing and poking through the shelves.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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