Bookstore of the Month: Kinokinuya

On the edge of Bryant Park, smack dab in Midtown, is a giant Japanese bookstore called Kinokinuya. Apparently an international chain, it features everything from current bestsellers (in English) to manga to books on Japanese travel and history and architecture. On the second floor is a cafe with a blend of Western and Japanese treats, including some pastries filled with bean paste, if that’s your thing.



Bookstore of the Month: Mysterious Bookshop

One of my favorite bookstore experiences so far in New York has been at the Mysterious Bookshop on 58 Warren Street. The occasion was a book launch, an intimate party celebrating the publication of my former writing teacher Justin Kramon’s second book, The Preservationist (a dark psychological thriller well worth the read).

Even if you don’t have a book party to attend, however, the Mysterious Bookshop is a one-of-a-kind store. Specializing in (you guessed it) mysteries, the inventory is specific, expansive, and excellent. You can get the latest suspense novel, first editions of classics, and whatever it is that falls into my new favorite word, “Sherlockiana.” Even their decor will put you in the mood for a mystery: staff-only sections are marked with crime scene tape.

The Mysterious Bookshop

In other mystery news, the latest in my favorite Molly Murphy Mysteries series is out today! Guess where you’ll find me picking up my copy…

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.

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:

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!