I’ve always been a bookworm. As a kid, I’d stay up way past by bedtime devouring a book page by page. My favorite part of the school day in my Elementary years was story time and any independent reading assignments were seen as a sort of academic blessing. Because I’m an avid reader it’s not much of a surprise that I truly enjoy browsing and buying books from bookstores, or even just raiding the shelves of my local library. I feel that choosing a book for yourself is very much a part of the fun and experience of reading, also I find books are one of the nicest gifts to give or receive. Another thing, I really love the feel of the pages against my fingers when flipping a page and even the smell of pages, yet in today’s world more and more I notice that Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook are replacing the tangible beauty of the book. Friends and family question me as to why I don’t invest in an electronic reader when I love to read as much as I do and here’s why: I love books just as much as I do reading them.
I feel that books and reading are essentially one and electronic readers cheapen the experience of reading. I enjoy judging a book by its cover, reading the blurb, and searching for a book in the aisles of a bookstore, or on the streets of Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I like penning my name behind the front cover of a book after having finished reading one. I’m completely aware of the perks of having an electronic reader and I also like the idea that it’s an eco friendly device, but the core of my opinion is that as electronic readers gain popularity my childhood obsession is becoming a thing of the past! And I don’t like it one bit.
The only thing I can do is continuing to buy books used and new from bookstores as a way of pledging my allegiance to books in print form. I don’t even like buying books online because it’s just not as fun. A few bookstores I’m particularly fond of are: Alabaster Bookshop, McNally Jackson Books, Strand Bookstore, Cobble Hill Community Bookstore, and Bookcourt. Alabaster Bookshop is located on 4th Ave. between 12th and 13th Street just around the block from the famous Strand Bookstore. Alabaster is the place to go when in need of a used book at a cheap price. Not only that but the small store has an extensive selection of fiction as well as books sold for a mere 2 dollars on the outside. Alabaster is old school and sans database so searching for a book here is more of an adventure, and you’re more likely to unexpectedly find a book of interest. Strand is 18 miles worth of books and is well known for their staff picks as well as their Strand 80, which is a pick of 80 of the most popular books amongst Strand customers. Cool fact: Patty Smith worked at Strand during her early years and beginnings in New York. It’s pretty much a guarantee that you’ll find just what you’re looking for because Strand is colossal and filled to the brim with books. It’s basically a nerdy paradise.
McNally Jackson Books interestingly categorizes their books by nation and they also have a great in-house café too. If you’re looking for that Dostoevsky head to McNally Jackson’s Russian literature section or if you feel like dissecting some short stories by Flannery O’Connor browse their American literature section with a cup of Joe. Cobble Hill Community Bookstore is probably my favorite of all because it’s everything that a bookstore should be. It’s a neighborhood staple and also wonderfully unorganized; you can find such treasures in mountains of books piled on top of one another. It is very charming and the prices are great too. Just a block or two from the Cobble Hill Community Bookstore is Bookcourt, which is quite the opposite of its neighbor. It’s two floors of hyper-organized, well-cultivated book sections. They also have in-house events and shoot out weekly emails with announcement and specials, which is incredibly convenient.
Because I’m a starving college student, student discounts are always of the utmost importance to me when splurging on items outside of necessities. Luckily Namaste Bookshop provides student savings and I’ll be sure to check out this bookshop specializing in Eastern philosophy and health books. You can also buy yoga related items as well as oils/incense at this relaxing spot. If you’re a fan of books then show your support and buy a book or two from one or more of the bookstores mentioned!
Anjelica LaFurno (Baruch College)
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