Bookshop Review

A Review of Books of Wonder (18th Street)

A Review of Books of Wonder (18th Street)

18 West 18th Street, New York, NY

If you’re in New York City and you’re looking for a new or classic children’s book, or you’re simply looking to take a trip down Nostalgia Boulevard, you’d be hard pressed to find a better shop than Books of Wonder. I stopped by this branch on a rainy Wednesday afternoon after running around the city all day, and it offered a very enjoyable half hour of respite from the downpour.

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A Review of Symposium Books

A Review of Symposium Books

240 Westminster Street, Providence, RI

I came across Symposium Books quite by accident while wandering downtown Providence, Rhode Island, while searching for the indoor arcade where the Lovecraft bookshop is located. But after a quick look around inside this store, I got the feeling that this might be one of my Go-To bookshops if I lived in Providence, or Rhode island for that matter.

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A Review of the Mast Books

A Review of the Mast Books

72 Avenue A, New York, NY

While browsing around online for bookshops on the lower east side of Manhattan, I saw this one pop up not far from Tompkins Square Park, where I figured I could take a break and read in the shade with an iced coffee. Not a bad one-two punch. So I cut my way over from the Union Square area where I’d been visiting two old favorites, Alabaster and Strand Books, and I eventually came upon this minimalist shop. It reminded me of a bookstore for an art gallery, one that straddles chic and experimental, and it used a lot of open/white space to offset its artistic and avant-garde collection.

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A Review of West End Used Books

A Review of West End Used Books

35 West Main Street, Wilmington, VT

I never imaged I’d find myself standing in a yurt full of books tucked behind the row of shops on Main Street when I started out for Wilmington, but that’s sure where I ended up. It wasn’t the only surprise of the day, either, and I’m glad I made it back after skipping this used shop when I was last in town to review Bartleby’s Books. If only for the drive out, Wilmington has certainly proven to be a cute destination spot for bookhunters and antique shoppers alike.

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A Review of the Strand’s Central Park Kiosk

A Review of the Strand’s Central Park Kiosk

Southeast corner of Central Park

Every now and then I’ll bend my own rules enough to review a quirky kiosk, off-shoot, or library nook that sells books as opposed to a full fledged independent bookshop, and when I do I hope you know it’s because finding these little extras out there in the world will be very much worth your time. This outdoor “bookshop” is a satellite of the gargantuan and epic Strand Bookstore down near Union Square, but being so close to Central Park and its shaded benches, aromatic food trucks, and bright open skies reflected on rippling ponds, I wonder: is it possible that this kiosk is even better than the mothership?

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A Review of Lovecraft Arts & Sciences

A Review of Lovecraft Arts & Sciences

65 Weybosset Drive, Providence, RI

I’d like to say it was a dark, blasphemous night full of rain and eldritch horrors when I stumbled across the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences bookshop deep in the heart of the New England city of Arkham, but it was a bright, cool summer morning in Providence when we poked our heads inside, right before we headed to the beach. Still, it was a fun visit, though a quick one, and if you’re a fan of Lovecraft and passing through town, it’s a required stop. 

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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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A Review of the Montague Bookmill

A Review of the Montague Bookmill

440 Greenfield Rd. Montague, MA

How absolutely perfect that this shop’s motto is “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find,” as we had to twist and turn our way through memory and Google directions to finally emerge from the wooded glens of the Pioneer Valley and pull into the large dirt parking lot across the street from this former mill bustling with activity and creative offerings. I was taken by the Montague Bookmill at first sight and thought, Oh how very much I want all the things within that I don’t need, and so will you when you track down this wonderful bookshop.

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A Review of Books of Wonder

A Review of Books of Wonder

217 W 84th Street, New York, NY

There’s a special kind of charm that children’s bookshops have, something about the mix of nostalgia for the books you loved to read when growing up and the new books waiting for the young audiences of today and tomorrow all shelved together. I like browsing kid’s bookshops because I have nieces and nephews who like to read and a mother obsessed with Nancy Drew and shopping for them is fun, and that’s not to mention my own appetite for the books of my youth. I have a list of them on my phone that I watch out for, and you can bet I had that list at the ready when I walked through the doors of Books of Wonder.

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A Review of Raven Used Books

A Review of Raven Used Books

4 Old South Street, Northampton, MA

Walking through the clustered bars and busy restaurants of downtown Northampton long after dark, long after our first, second, maybe third drink, we came upon the storefront for Raven Used Books by accident, as I was only in town for the night and had no idea it was waiting for me. We eagerly detoured our journey to the next bar to explore the rooms and aisles of this lovely, lively shop. My only regret was that we couldn’t stay long, because the sheer volume of interesting books at excellent values could have kept me for hours.

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10 Best Used Bookshops in the Capital Region

10 Best Used 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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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 Westsider Rare & Used Books

A Review of Westsider Rare & Used Books

2246 Broadway, New York, NY

I hadn’t wandered the Upper West Side of Manhattan in about ten years, and I mean really wander, spiraling the blocks on foot, coming into sight of Central Park before turning back toward the Hudson River, reaching squares and intersections midway where you can spin in place and see both boundaries. In that regard, the UWS really does feel like its own separate world, its own town, connected to Harlem and Hell’s Kitchen by the 1, the A, and so on. And if that were the case, Westsider Books would be the home of the literary fringe element in town, the place where hopeless poets, serious antiquarians, outsiders, punks, professors, and meticulous collectors would gather to browse and feel at home among the towering stacks of books.

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A Review of Chapter Two Books  

A Review of Chapter Two Books   

37 Spring Street, Williamstown, MA

Williamstown is a gorgeous little spot tucked into the rocky hills and sweeping valleys of northwestern Massachusetts. The town is home to prestigious institutions such as Clark Art and Williams College, the latter being particularly important as Williams is Williamstown, and vice versa. At least it always felt that way to me. Driving through town you find regal older homes, towering brick halls, and stylized glass structures, all seemingly connected to one of the two organizations that make the town so unique, and they all surround the small downtown strip that makes up the social and commercial hub: Spring Street. With cafes, gift shops, a college bookstore, an ice cream stand, a small movie house, and a pub, Spring Street has enough to keep most students and locals occupied on any given day, but with the addition of Chapter Two Books, a new bookshop in Williamstown, there’s an extra reason for bookworms in the area to drive out and enjoy a few hours in this picturesque college town.    

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A Review of Rodgers Book Barn

A Review of Rodgers Book Barn

467 Rodman Road, Hillsdale, NY

It took us a while to weave through the countryside of Columbia County, backtracking down a few wrong turns on dirt roads, but at long last, we stopped in front of the unassuming wood barn along the edge of the road with a sign out front reading Rogers Book Barn. The sign included different summer and winter hours, but it’s a solid bet to be open on a Saturday afternoon no matter what time of year you arrive. And I’m very thankful they were open, because this shop wasn’t just worth the drive, it was a delight to explore.

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A Review of Inquiring Minds Bookstore & Cafe

A Review of Inquiring Minds Bookstore & Cafe

200 Main Street, Saugerties, NY (I have also seen the address listed as 68 and 65 Partition Street)

This shop more than any other has come up as a prime recommendation by most locals I talk to, so I was happy to finally drop in on a rainy weekend this winter. Located on a busy corner in downtown Saugerties, NY (which has a lot more going for it than I expected), Inquiring Minds Bookstore falls into what I’ve come to think of as the “Ideal” type of bookshop. Not only are they an excellent supplier of books, but they feel like the kind of community bookstore that also serves as the social hub of town, and that’s how a shop can go from great to magical.

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A Review of Half Moon Books

A Review of Half Moon Books

35 N. Front Street, Kingston, NY

I stopped into this curious little shop at the end of a long day of browsing, and even though I was getting tired after trekking through the rain and wind, this shop still surprised me with their eclectic selection and the deep cuts they had hidden within. And the books were organized in interesting ways too, like the excellent cultural- and science-focused section called “smart, but not exhausting.” They really make good use of their space and there’s a lot more happening inside than you may expect at first glance. They have a thrift shop too, so if you go I assure you that you’ll be in for a pretty diverse mix of topics and editions.

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A Review of Three Lives & Company

A Review of Three Lives & Company

154 W 10th Street, New York, NY

This corner shop has been selling new hardcovers and paperbacks to locals since the late 1960s, and I only stumbled across it by accident while wandering Greenwich Village looking for a different shop on my “To Review” list. I’m happy to have made the discovery, because while it’s not a large shop, it is certainly packed with an excellent selection of new books, classic titles, and unique authors. And readers as well. That was something they had plenty of.

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A Review of Our Bookshop

A Review of Our Bookshop

97 Partition Street, Saugerties, NY

I drove to Saugerties on a cold, rainy Saturday to visit the Inquiring Minds Bookshop (which I will review in another post) when I saw this shop located just down the same street, not far from where I parked. I’ll never turn down a two-for-one bookshop hunting trip, and I was not disappointed by what I found. What Our Bookshop may lack in the latest bestsellers, they more than make up for in vintage and unique titles and excellent deals on used books, records, and comics.

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A Review of Rough Draft Bar & Books

A Review of Rough Draft Bar & Books

82 John Street, Kingston, NY

I’ve been proud to shine a spotlight on a handful of bookshop / bar combinations in the past, and even a couple wine shop and bookseller combos too, but when it comes to putting a pint, a bite, and a book in front of a casual browser, Rough Draft is the top of the pile. At least so far, though I think they’ll be tough to beat. I stopped in on a rainy Saturday recently and it was such a warm, charming, bustling respite that I didn’t want to leave.

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