Bookstore of the Month: BookBook

Last month, I shared my Lower Manhattan bookstore tour. But there are a lot more bookstores in New York to be visited! Each month, I’ll share a different bookstore to visit here in the Big Apple. The first up: BookBook!

At 266 Bleecker (between 6th and 7th), BookBook is just about the right size: not too big but not too small. It has a wide selection of fiction at a nice variety of price points. The staff is accessible, knowledgeable, and helpful. Most importantly for me, the store invites you to browse without pinning you into one section or making you feel too literary or too genre for looking at a specific book.

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Lower Manhattan Bookstore Tour

I’ve been lucky enough to have several people visit me in New York already, and I quickly discovered that there is SO much to do here that sometimes it’s hard to decide what to do!

To give my visitors a flavor of the Manhattan I love the most, I came up with a customized tour of Lower Manhattan designed around–of course–bookstores. If you’re in town, it’s an excellent way to get a glimpse of several neighborhoods and pick up a souvenir or two all at once.*

St. Mark’s Bookshop

31 3rd Ave (on the corner of 9th street)

In the culturally intense St. Mark’s Place near NYU, St. Mark’s Bookshop is a progressive bookstore that has been around since 1977. It carries books that are interesting to artists, academics, and (as they say) other “discerning readers.” It may be moving soon, but it will remain in the East Village and will no doubt continue the spirit of its neighborhood wherever it is.

Alabaster Bookshop

122 4th Ave (on the corner of 12th street)

This is one of those whole-in-the-wall bookstores that is small and musty yet has endless books. New York Magazine’s profile gets it just right: http://nymag.com/listings/stores/alabaster-bookshop/.

The Strand

828 Broadway (on the corner of 12th street)

One of the more famous NY bookstores, it advertises 18 miles of books! To be honest, I find this store too overwhelming to go to unless I’m showing people around. There are three floors of bookshelves that hog the floor space; it is always so crowded that you can barely turn around without elbowing someone; I always lose whomever I go with; and it only reminds me of how many books I will never read! However, it is a landmark bookstore, so it’s worth visiting if you are in town. 

Three Lives and Company

154 W. 10th St (on the corner of Waverly Place)

Small, neat, selective, and warm, Three Lives and Co is a famous, Greenwich Village neighborhood store. It carries mostly literary fiction, so don’t come here for genre. The staff is very friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful, and it ends our tour in one of my favorite neighborhoods that is populated with plenty of restaurants and cafes to rest your feet, fill your tummy, and give you a place to read all your new books!

Three Lives and Co

The truth is that there are a lot more bookstores to visit in Manhattan and even in Greenwich Village, but by the end of this tour, my visitors are usually all walked out. Keep an eye out for future posts about other New York bookstores I love or want to visit!

*Fair warning: this tour is a lot of walking and can sometimes be a little expensive!

My favorite book of 2013

On Goodreads, I took a moment to remember all the (published) books I read in 2013. Which ones would I read again? Which ones do I want to keep forever? Could I challenge myself to name a favorite?

NYC (8)

There were several books that I enjoyed reading but found the endings to be too disappointing or shocking to want to reread them. Anita Shreve’s Sea Glass was one of those: it was beautifully written and seemed to be one kind of story only to end up in a completely different place than I expected. So, too, was Anna Quindlen’s Every Last One. A few of the books I read, like The Family Way by Rhys Bowen, continued a series but didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Then there were reads I had fun with but don’t feel the need to revisit, and, of course, there were a few novels I simply didn’t like. But did I have a favorite?

I’ve decided that my favorite book of 2013 was A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle. This is perhaps more indicative of who I was in 2013 than any of the other books I read in the year. A Circle of Quiet is the first of L’Engle’s memoirs and spends a lot of time contemplating how we find success, happiness, love, faith, and meaning in our lives. It is, of course, beautifully written, hardly preachy, and incredibly thought-provoking. And as I transitioned from student to a working adult, from living in my family home to finding my own apartment in New York, from editor to whatever it is I’m going to be when I grow up, these were the questions circling around my head. New York may not be quiet, but still, I search for how to make my own quiet wherever I go and how to relish in that quiet no matter what else is going on in my life.

I’ve got a list going of books I want to read in 2014, most of them novels, but I think I’ll add L’Engle’s next memoir to my queue and see what guidance she can give me as I find out who I am this year.

Announcing Story Stork

This is a big week for me because it is the launch of Story Stork, the newsletter that delivers great books! If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve probably seen me post about it before. Here is a little more about the venture:

My friend Rachel Waxman and I came up with the idea for Story Stork early in 2013 when we were sharing war stories of compiling lists of book bloggers, drafting submission letters, and getting headaches from trying to organize book review tours for the various authors we work with. Book bloggers play an important role in reviewing books, sharing titles with readers, and overall improving awareness of an author and their book, but when you are a one-woman publicity team, it can be hard to actually reach those bloggers.

Part of the problem is that bloggers are inundated with requests. To manage their slush piles, they tend to select Big 5 publishers rather than take a chance on indie books. After all, when you only have 52 weeks in the year, you don’t want to waste several of those weeks reading and reviewing a book that sounded good but hasn’t been through a proper edit.

Enter our solution: Story Stork, the newsletter that simplifies review requests for authors and bloggers alike.

Each week, we send out a newsletter to our blogger subscribers that features three indie books we think are amazing. From the newsletter, bloggers can find out what the book is about and what kind of posts the author is interested in–reviews, interviews, giveaways, and/or guest posts. Authors get their titles in the inboxes of over 100 bloggers, and bloggers get quality indie books that are easily added to their blog schedule.

In developing Story Stork, Rachel and I have continued to be amazed by the huge network of bloggers out there who run up-to-date blogs entirely because they love books so much. As we launch our newsletter, we hope to support that network, help all the talented self-made authors out there, and be a part of the new generation of book publishing that is of the people and for the people.

Our first newsletter went out this week. Check out our featured books–even if you’re not a blogger, we recommend reading them because, well, they’re swell!

Find out more about Story Stork on our website, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for book reviews, book news, and our featured books!