A few weeks ago I hit up one of my favorite bookstores in the city, Westsider Books on the Upper West Side. It’s very old and creaky, with two floors (top floor is rare books), ladders that you can climb to get to the tippy-top shelves (a la Belle), and books that are stacked two rows deep. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, then it’s probably behind that first row of books on the shelf.
This is my favorite bookstore in the city because its atmosphere is perfect for slowing down, taking a moment to relax, and of course, because it lets you find books you didn’t know you wanted. They’re all used, and so they have that used-book character that I like. But if you come in here with a specific title in mind, you may not find it. Instead, something else jumps out at you, and you’ll take it home.
I came here with my best friend, and we found some great titles that I wouldn’t have put on my list otherwise:
Lucrezia Floriani, by George Sand; Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe; The House on the Strand and Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier; and The Letters of Charles Lamb: Volume One.
I’ve read Rebecca and Daphne du Maurier’s short story collection, but none others by her, and of course, Things Fall Apart is a classic story I’ve been meaning to read for a while. The edition I picked up was a cheap reprinting for a college class in the 80s, and the book of Charles Lamb letters was printed in 1911. I love that. Oh, and these all smell fantastic.