Bookstores: The Drama Book Shop

Category : bookstores

Foursquare is great. I put in my location and my desired destination, and it gives me options. And that’s how I stumbled upon the existence of The Drama Book Shop.

I honestly expected a little hole-in-the-wall place upon visiting, and while the store is tiny there’s a lot of great stuffed crammed in there. And the place was packed. I went right after work, and every available chair was occupied with customers. (Which also means I felt weird taking photographs, so my collection is sparse.)

All the way in the back (about where I’m standing to take this photo) is what I expected of the place—shelves of plays. And there’s certainly no shortage. I happened upon a copy of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which I’ve been meaning to read for ages, so I nabbed it. But the store isn’t just an impressive collection of plays. There are things for all facets of drama: Screenwriting, acting, design, you name it. It’s a dramatic mecca.

I also discovered a nifty little book titled Daily Rituals, which I had to own, which tells tales of how writers fit their craft into their lives. Writers are a finicky bunch. Perhaps I’ll learn something about motivation (and eccentricity).

And I’ll leave you with this dress made of paper, because… why not?

Traveler Food and Books

Category : bookstores

If you’ve ever traveled I-84 crossing in Massachusetts, you may have noticed this sign off the highway.

Admittedly, I did not notice this sign until my cousin pointed it out to me, and for close to a year I’ve been wanting to visit. It’s not that often that I head up that direction, but I had time on my way home from my last Boston trip and thought it was time to stop in. As you can probably tell from my photo quality it was a dreary day in the northeast, and a pit-stop at a diner (with books) seemed like the ideal lunch break.

Look at this cute little place! (And also the interior of my car.)

As advertised, there are books. And food. After I shook off my umbrella and stepped inside, I knew this was the place for me. Most dining establishments greet you with a counter or a hostess or some other food-related thing, but here we open the door to… books.

Yes, I do believe I will fit in.

I was seated beside a bookshelf, which I picked through while waiting for my mushroom and spinach omelette. They offer three free books with your meal, so I didn’t mind the $8 omelette so much. I didn’t want to look weird and mosey around the place while others were eating, but I did find a hardcover copy of Tim O’Brien’s July, July on a nearby shelf. Might as well swap it out for my old paperback version!

And if that’s not enough, they have a used bookstore downstairs as well.

I was anxious to get back on the road, since the rain was starting to come down again, but I could have easily lost myself in these narrow shelves. They have a great collection of old and leatherbound books, which I will definitely check out on my next trip. And they’re super-cheap, so I could feasibly leave with an armload of books.

If you ever find yourself crossing the Connecticut/Massachusetts border, check it out. Get your free books and some good old fashioned diner food. I quite enjoyed the break from the sudden downpour outside.

The Folio Society

Category : bookstores

Do you ever stumble upon a website and immediately know you should leave as soon as possible? Because you’re planning a vacation and Christmas is sort of approaching and you shouldn’t be spending money on yourself?

That got very specific very quickly.

The Folio Society has a gorgeous selection of leatherbound books. And rather than declare “I want them all,” I’m going to gush over the prettiest ones that I will definitely not be buying for myself right now, no, definitely not. (No, really, I am planning a vacation.)

Beowulf, $160

This is the first book of theirs that I stumbled upon, and can you blame me? Look at that beautiful thing. (I have this thing for two-color interiors. And functional slipcases.)

Moby Dick
Herman Melville

Let’s ignore the fact that I already have a gorgeous leatherbound copy of Moby, all right? Having more than one copy of your favorites is perfectly acceptable. (Right?) And look at the beautiful monstrosity of a slipcase.

Alice’s Adventures under Ground
Lewis Carroll

It’s not just Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It’s the early version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. And please tell me it comes with the swanky case and key. I’m sorry, B&N, but your bright pink edition is nice, but it’s not quite this. (Somehow I’m thinking the bottle isn’t included, but I can make sacrifices.)

Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift

Now you know a company takes pride in its work when it shows you a close-up of a book’s endpapers. And look at that detail! Am I a huge nerd for admiring how nicely the corners are folded?

I suppose I could check out the shop’s selection of titles that aren’t limited edition, but what’s the fun of a wishlist, then? On the other hand, the book on bookbinding definitely belongs on my shelf. Wasn’t I the one who was just gushing over endpapers? And the $50 price tag is a steal [compared to the rest of them].

Bookstores: The Curious George Store

Category : bookstores

A couple weeks ago I was wandering Cambridge, Massachusetts, with my sister, and we spotted a curious storefront on the corner. (haha, unintentional pun.) Not only was it Curious George, the little shop’s name was actually “The World’s Only Curious George Store.” Like we were supposed to resist that.

What a fun little place! It’s bright and cheerful inside, obviously filled with a good number of tourists but, hey, I was being a tourist myself.

The place itself isn’t big, but it’s chocked full of goodies. Not only Curious George stuff, either; they have a whole section in the back for other middle grade books as well. And the merchandise.

There’s more behind the tree, too. (Also note George sitting up in the branches.) There are also places for kids to hang out everywhere. One of the display shelves has a reading nook inside, and there’s a whole section in the back where they can hang out. If I were twenty years younger, I would have easily spent all day in that reading nook. (It was a tad small for my adult frame.)

And of course, any Curious George book you can think of.

I hadn’t seen some of these titles in years, and I nearly forgot they existed. See, kids, this is why bookstores are important. That’s history right there.

While I didn’t buy anything, I did end up with a free bookmark as proof of my visit. Or at least, we think they were free. No one said anything when I slipped it into my purse.

Bookstores: Barnes & Noble

Category : bookstores

“Really, Angela? We’ve all been to B&N. You’re losing your touch.”

But wait! This isn’t any B&N. This is my favorite of them all. But first, a story.

Once upon a time, when your bloggess was in grad school, she discovered that John Irving was having a reading at Barnes & Noble. So she took the trek from her Brooklyn dorm all the way to Union Square for the event. Upon entering the store, there was a handy sign to direct her—”John Irving reading, 7:00 p.m., fourth floor.”

Fourth floor?

I suppose you understand now.

I adore this Barnes & Noble, and it’s not often now that I get to stop in. I could easily get lost there for hours. (And I may have.)

It almost seems a shame to take anything off those shelves. There’s even a ladder.

This particular location has a giant section for everything. I mean, look at the children’s section alone, which I not-so-subtly photographed from the escalator:

(I think that kid is smiling at me.)

They have a giant area just for the Nook (oh, did I not photograph that? oops) and I’m always drawn to the bookends/paper products/random-junk-I-don’t-really-need section—which takes up a good amount of the first floor.

And because I know you’re curious, the fourth floor reading area:

I’ve seen few location with a designated area for author readings, but this one takes up half the floor. And when there aren’t events going on, you can hang out and read and do whatever. They’re certainly not short on space.

Barnes & Noble was always a comfort store for me, probably because there wasn’t one in the area when I was younger. It was special when I found myself at B&N. So to enter one of this magnitude is overwhelming. When it comes to B&N, it’ll be hard to top this. I always stop in when I’m around Union Square, even if I have no intention of buying anything. Because, to put it simply, I love this store.

Bookstores: Books of Wonder

Category : bookstores

Books of Wonder doesn’t look like much from the outside. Actually, if it wasn’t for the green flag out front, I would have totally walked right by it—and I was looking for it.

But, as we know, looks can be deceiving. The store itself isn’t very big, but it’s a necessity for any lover of children’s literature. It brags the title of oldest—and largest!—independent children’s bookstore. And it has everything, from baby’s first book to all those wonderful YA titles we know and love. The place is so cute and cozy.

(As seen from the front of the store. Forgive the blurriness.)

As I wandered toward the back of the store, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself greeted by glass-fronted bookcases containing old, rare, and signed books. Did you ever have the urge to purchase a signed advanced copy of Harry Potter? Now you can, for only $2,500! (Note to self: keep all my advanced copies.) But most of all, I was in awe over this wall:

Never before have I felt the need for a signed book poster, but now my life feel empty without one. They’re quite lovely, and I spent most of my time gazing longingly at them all. And cringing at price tags. When I saw this one in particular:

I thought that, maybe, $450 wasn’t that much money. Right?

But I resisted, and almost made it out of the store without breaking out the wallet, but then I stumbled upon my to-read list in physical form.

…otherwise known as the “teen fiction” section. But considering I resisted the Madeleine L’Engle poster, I think it’s okay that I grabbed a signed copy of The Fault in Our Stars. Now I just have to get around to reading it. (One step at a time.) The store also has an adjoining cupcake cafe, so really, there’s absolutely no reason to dislike this place. I do believe I shall return (but leave my credit card at home.)

Bookstores: Book Off

Category : bookstores

This may be my new favorite bookstore. Huzzah to Foursquare for this find!

Book Off isn’t just a bookstore—it’s anything entertainment. Music, DVDs, video games, and two floors of Japanese merchandise. But my favorite part, all the way in the back, is the shelves upon shelves of used books for $1. How am I supposed to resist that?

They buy your old stuff, too, if you’re looking to do some spring cleaning.

Their prices are quite reasonable, even for new stuff. The items I checked were often lower than suggested retail price. But that used section. I spent most of my time there. And it’s not old stuff you’ve never heard of, either. I almost walked out with another copy of The Corrections, in case any of my friends would need it (I’m not kidding. Anyone want it? It’s a dollar).

Needless to say, I left with a few new titles for my “to read” shelf. And my bill came to a grand total of $8.

I will certainly be stopping there again. And bringing friends.

Bookstores: Posman Books

Category : bookstores

I love finding bookstores in unexpected locations. Grand Central Terminal is chocked full of shopping in every corridor, so I probably shouldn’t have been surprised to discover Posman Books.

Many stores in the terminal are fairly small, but not Posman. Sure, you’re greeted with your standard bestseller tables up front, and it looks to be your typical, stop-by-before-you-travel shop. But once you go in you find the place to be much larger than you anticipated.

I, of course, went all the way to the back of the store. As luck may have it, it was the literature section. I like that they label it “literature” rather than “fiction.” There’s something more appealing about it. And they cram as much as they can into their little piece of real estate. Such a wall of books is almost intimidating.

(Note how I said “almost.”)

It’s difficult to move around at times if people are casually browsing, especially if you want to get photos without them in it. (Shame on them; don’t they know I have a blog to run?) But they have a pretty good selection, being a place to pop in on your way to the train.

They also have locations in Chelsea and Rockefeller Center. The Rock Center store is super tiny, being in the concourse, and the selection is not as large. But I like the store because you can browse undisturbed by employees, and they have a casual atmosphere. And you get a free Posman bookmark with your purchase (well, I did; don’t get mad at me if you don’t). Because one can never have too many bookmarks.

Bookstores: Rizzoli

Category : bookstores

Rizzoli was the first non-chain bookstore I visited in Manhattan. And it’s still one of my favorites.

From the start, I loved the building itself. It’s beautiful and warm, and as soon as you step into the store you forget that you’re in Manhattan. The store is three floors, and deep, so you can easily get lost searching.

They have a lot of art and photography books, and not the little cheap ones you can pick up in chain stores. These books are gorgeous. The oversized photography book featuring beautiful libraries was tempting, but the $1,200 price tag is a tad out of my range.

And if the calming atmosphere (and plethora of books) isn’t enough, they were also playing opera on my most recent visit there. In case it isn’t obvious, they’re really Italian. No wonder I feel at home.

If I ever need a break from the office, this is my go-to place to purge my brain. Even if I don’t buy anything. (And I haven’t, yet, but I’m determined to find my perfect photography collection.)

The entrance viewed from the second-floor balcony. Love it.

They also have locations in Saks Fifth Avenue and Eataly. There’s a shop in London, too, though I may not be visiting that one any time soon. Someday.

Bookstores: Back in the Day Books

Category : bookstores

While I wandered the streets of Tarpon Springs, Florida during my vacation, I was pleasantly surprised to find this storefront amongst the plethora of surrounding antique shops:

Like I could resist popping in.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of time to wander, since my friend & I were on a schedule. And even if we hadn’t been, she probably would have had to pull me out by the hair. Because as it stood, I was stuck wandering the same two shelves for the fifteen minutes we were in the store.

Oh, beautiful leatherbound books! They greeted me the moment we entered the store, and I immediately felt at home.

Back in the Day Books is a good old-fashioned bookstore. They have the rare, collectible, and out of print stuff, and a good collection of books for the casual reader as well (not that I made it that far into the store, but it looked impressive from where I stood). And the staff isn’t overpowering. Actually, there was one guy there—the owner, I’m guessing—and he just let me wander without question. I must visit every time I’m in Florida.

And of course, I couldn’t leave empty-handed. As much as I wanted the massive leatherbound edition of War & Peace, it probably would have weighed down my suitcase. I settled for Anna Karenina which, being one of my top ten, was an excellent choice indeed.

(And I can’t take credit for the photos. I “borrowed” them from their facebook page. Thanks, guys!)