...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

October 02, 2005

My Top Five Bookstores, Plus A Few Others

  1. The Upper West Side B&N. On Broadway in the 60's, i think. Three floors. Even on Saturday night it's packed with people not just browsing, but actually reading. You have to wade through readers just to walk upstairs. i'm confident that if i asked any patron or employee "would you recommend Turgenev?" i'd get a lucid answer. i'll bet Tom Hanks' megastore in You've Got Mail was based on this B&N.
  2. Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon. They simply have everything. i found an old astronomy book that we had when i was a kid, but got lost in one of my family's moves. i found an original play by Edna St. Vincent Millay. They had a vintage copy of Grover's The Monster at the End of This Book, which i loved as a kid.
  3. Strand Books, Downtown Manhattan. World famous. i aspire to buy something here. i was there once, but didn't buy anything because i was traveling with carry on bags only, and didn't want to pack a book back. The next time i was in NY, i looked and looked but couldn't find the store. i thought it was by the Library. i asked one of those dudes that sells books on the sidewalk and he, quite predictably, told me he'd never heard of the place.
  4. The Fisherman's Wharf B&N, next to the original Cost Plus World Market (which Callahan staked out in the first Dirty Harry.). i spent so many wonderful hours browsing in this B&N. It's light and airy and comfortable. Nothing bad can ever happen there. The store has good karma.
  5. The Calabasas B&N, on the outskirts of the Valley. Two stories. Not the greatest selection, but the weather was always perfect whenever i went there. All the shoppers seem rich. There's a pretty good fish restaurant in the shopping center. Anne of Straight From The Hip used to blog about working there.
  6. Vroman's near Cal Tech. Pleasant. Has a nice card selection and a decent cafe, and sells lots of pen stuff. Nice gifts too. You can sign up so that a portion of each purchase goes to charity. Good local interest section.
  7. B&N in Twin Falls, Idaho. That and the Evel Knievel jump site are the only interesting things to see in that town. i bought something by Thomas Merton there on a Good Friday. Ironically, i read it while eating a steak at a local greasy spoon. Don't ask me what the fuck i was doing in Twin Falls, Idaho.
  8. City Lights, on Columbus in North Beach. i always stop in there even though i never buy anything. Ferlinghetti owns it. Afterwards, you can drink a Guinness next door at Vesuvio's. If you do, sit upstairs, look down at the store and imagine Kerouac walking in the alleyway. He probably did once.

Posted by annika, Oct. 2, 2005 | TrackBack (1)
Rubric: annik-dotes


Tattered Covers Denver Clorado

Posted by: trigger on Oct. 2, 2005

Please forgive me, annika, but now I'm genuinely curious: Just what the puck where you doing in Twin Falls, Idaho?

Should you ever make it to Washington, you should check out Kramer Books & Afterwords (bookstore/cafe combo) and Politics & Prose (it's not a DC bookstore if it doesn't have an ampersand in the name.). There's also a really good used bookstore in Dupont Circle, easy walking distance from KB&A.

Posted by: Victor on Oct. 3, 2005

Not a single Chicago bookseller? Let me suggest a place on the corner of Clark & Wellington. The proprietor is John, and there are books stacked all over the place. I have twice been there when the fire marshall came in to give him hell. Powell's Chicago store is just down the street on Clark too, as are many others.

I don't know what you see in all of these "NEW" bookstores, give me the old seedy places anyday.

Posted by: Casca on Oct. 3, 2005

Strand is at Brdway and 12th..but there are other locations as well.

Just let me know what you want, I'll be happy to pick it up for you or just fondle it. (haha I couldn't resist).


Welcome to New York City's legendary Strand Book Store.
In 1927 Benjamin Bass opened Strand Book Store on 4th Avenue, New York's famous Book Row of America. Named after the famous publishing street in London and an old literary magazine, Strand Book Store has long been known for remarkable deals on great books.

Ben's son Fred began working in his father's store when he was ten years old. After a tour of duty in the Armed Forces, Fred returned to the family business and took over its management in 1956. Soon after, he moved it to its current location at the corner of Broadway and Twelfth Street. When Mr. Bass moved the store to its Broadway site he rented 4,000 square feet of the building. Now, four and a half decades later, he owns the building with Strand taking up five of the eleven floors, and a second store on Fulton Street in New York City's financial district.

Posted by: jim on Oct. 3, 2005

My husband wants his ashes spread at Powell's--second floor, third aisle.

Posted by: Pam on Oct. 3, 2005

I just bought The Monster at the End of This Book for my niece. I loved that book!!!

Posted by: ginger on Oct. 3, 2005

Kewl, is she gonna read it to you ging?

Posted by: Casca on Oct. 3, 2005