Sunday, July 30, 2017
The First Stop On My Bookstore Tour--Books Are Magic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How often do I get into Cobble Hill? Not much. I had heard, for months, about this store, run by author Emma Straub, and have longed to check it out. I did so yesterday, having realized that, if the independent book store is to survive, one cannot just frequent The Strand and Three Lives.
First, I would like to commend Emma for her bravery, So many of us, myself included, were devastated by the loss of Court Book Store. I had not realized Emma had worked there, so when I heard that she opened Books Are Magic as a response to the community's loss of Court, I immediately cheered for her.
I love the name, because, for those of us who care, books ARE magic, and do magical things for many, from keeping some sane, to luring others to areas not otherwise explored.
But I was on a bigger mission. I wanted to check out their stock, buy some books in conjunction with something else I am working on, as well as getting a general feel for the place.
I loved the arched windows and entrance; so much more inviting than plain rectangularity. There seemed to be a lot of light, so books could be seen prominently displayed in windows. I like to peruse a store's window first, to get a feel for what they have, and to see if there is enough to lure me in. The books were luring enough, but even more were the floods of people passing through the doors. I had to wait in a mini-line, before I could get in.
The store has much going for it. Light, space, and an excellent fiction collection. For those who prefer non-fiction, it gets its shrift, though my David said he did not see a biography section. Could it be in among the others? Because one of the books he found for me was memoir.
I am on a mission of reading all the works I have not read, by the group of writers, once known as the Literary Brat Pack. I have read a good deal already--"Bright Lights, Big City," (Jay McInerney), "Less Than Zero," "The Rules Of Attraction," and "American Psycho" (Bret Easton Ellis.) I may even have read his "Glamourama," though I cannot quite recall. Or was that McInerney? See the problems these writers cause? Maybe that is why they are out of vogue, and why I do not desire to re-explore their earlier works. Jill Eisenstadt, too. The only one of the group who still rates is Donna Tartt! And I need to read Tama Janowitz.
At the same time, I am wondering if there is a cluster of writers who are the Brat Pack of today? I have some ideas, and will post them, at the appropriate time. And where is the place to hang out? Nell's is gone, and the Odeon might be passe. Has the online world replaced the status of being seen at such places, if any still exist????????????????
The store also boasts a Children's Section, the size of which would make any elementary school teacher, or school librarian, envious. I did not search carefully there, because my interest in children's literature stems more from the past than present. I do not troll kiddy lit as a rule; I do with toy stores, but only because I am trying to find the Boggle game.
Their staff is the best of young, hipster, literary Brooklyn, and all were abundantly helpful. I wish the staff could be larger, but financial constraints prevail I am sure.
They did not have what I was looking for--"Less," by Andrew Sean Greer. But it is on its way. Nevertheless, I told one of the staff, a girl who reminded me of a hipster version of Celia Keenan-Bolger, what I was doing, and what I was looking for. She spent a great deal of time recommending books to me, as well as helping me find them. I don't know her name, but I am assuring her now, I will return. Many books she chose I had already read, which impressed us both, but , at the end, I came away with--
1. Another Brooklyn, by Jacqueline Woodson
2. Swell, by Jill Eisenstadt
3. Scream, by Tama Janowitiz
4. Sag Harbor, by Colson Whitehead
And, of course--
5. Modern Lovers, by Emma Straub
How could I not? Besides, it has been on my radar for some time.
All in all, I loved Books By Magic. It is charming, the staff are friendly and knowing, and there is a real sense of community among the patrons, one I hope to get to know in future visits there.
So, that is my fist book store stop. Who knows next, or when?
Meanwhile, I have a lot of reading--and writing--to do.