Shopping New York City bookstores

It’s been ten years since my last visit to New York City, so I jumped at the chance to go when a frequent traveler to Manhattan invited me to join her on a trip this past weekend. Being the holiday season, Times Square and department stores were overwhelmed with the predictable crush of holiday shoppers. But all of that holiday madness was a far cry from the West Village and the Flatiron/Murray Hill districts where I experienced joy and peace visiting independent bookstores, including this one, with its fabulous name:

Here are the other bookstores I visited:

Three Lives & Company, a classic bookshop with a staff that is passionate about connecting readers with good books, stacking their display tables with fiction and non-fiction rare to be stumbled upon in the mega-stores, such as 03 by Jean-Christophe Valtat, one of my purchases.

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks across the street from Three Lives, a store the size of a bedroom hallway where my traveling companion and I walked in on two women from Texas finishing up a three-hour spending spree.

The Complete Traveller Antiquarian Bookstore on Madison at 35th, where I purchased a 1927 Blue Guide for Paris streets; how cool to see the city’s layout during a less motorized age. Afterwards, we visited the famous Morgan Library with its vast collection of rare and old books a few doors away.

The Argosy, selling antiquarian books since 1925, located in Midtown around the corner from large department stores; I hung out with the modern firsts on one of their upper floors, including a first edition of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies priced in the thousands. I walked away with much less costly items, such as a first edition of E. L. Doctorow’s Book of Daniel, filling a hole in my Doctorow holdings.

Partners & Crime Mystery Booksellers in Greenwich Village, where I shared with the shop owner my desire to read a mystery crime series, starting with the first book, so I can follow the development of the detective. I’m not well-read in crime mysteries and valued his thoughts and recommendations via discussion by a display already set up of such “here’s where to start” crime mysteries. I walked away with Peter Robinson’s Gallows View, the first Inspector Banks mystery, and Henning Mankell’s Faceless Killers, the first Kurt Wallander mystery. Also, a Georges Simenon Inspector Maigret mystery went into the sack.

Such wonderful experiences can be had in these atmospheric NYC literary environments. I’ll share more soon. Up next: How to decide which book to buy and the Georges Simenon runaround.

Part II: Shopping Brooklyn bookstores

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