Books Are Magic

For one glorious year, I got to live about 7 blocks away from the best mom + pop bookstore in Cobble Hill called Book Court. At the end of 2016, the owners pridefully retired and a new mom + pop opened another incredible bookstore about 5 blocks away. Emma Straub + her husband Michael opened Books Are Magic a few months back and basically dumped an entire bucket of well designed glitter into a brick abyss. 

I am fortunate enough to have a revolving door of out-of-town friends stay at my place for a night or two on a pit stop to their next destination and I have (unknowingly and unintentionally) turned everyone's visits into a beautiful morning ritual stroll of coffee and a bagel, long brownstone wandering walks, and always a stop at the local bookshop. The dreadful four months without one in my neighborhood made me itchy, but the neighborhood is (THANKFULLY) alive again with Books Are Magic! The visitor introduction to my life in Brooklyn can finally continue, we can all rest easy. 

This place is so well-curated that is genuinly feels like my neighbor just got really excited about a bunch of books to recommend and decided to put it inside some walls of beautiful bricks (life dream). A mantle with staff picks? Guest speakers with all of Emma's writer friends? COME ON. But to top it off (and maybe my favorite part of it?) is the glorious kids section. They built this little octagon for kiddos to grab a book and hang out in while their parents wander around and I rarely see it unoccupied. Is it too weird for a 26 year old to battle them for a spot? 

You can follow their awesome Instragram at @booksaremagicbk, watch a cool interview with Emma at minute 21 here, or see a full cover of the store by this Domino article. 

Books Are Magic is located at 255 Smith street, at the corner of Butler St, in Brooklyn.

I only post my best-of on this blog, but if you want to chase me around NYC + follow all the 7 reads I am always cycling through, head on over to my instagram!

A Pageworm Bookish Adventure: City Lights Bookstore

After the day in Oakland spent at Walden Pond Books, I headed to San Francisco for a Little Italy afternoon of Golden Boy Pizza (OMG YUM) + City Lights Bookstore, the Bay Area landmark of independent bookstores and the mother of the beatnik generations. I love this spot for three main reasons: awesome neighborhood of day-long-coffee-sipping cafes, an overwhelming amount of natural light, and a superior collection of literary fiction with beautiful editions and rows and rows of staff suggestions. 

There are lots of reasons I loved living in San Francisco, but one of my favorites things was the pride in locals makers + designers. I saw a fantastic illustrator I had been following for years a few years back at a talk where she chatted about all her best projects, one being her Penguin Drop Cap series. Beautiful, right? Spotting Jessica Hische's work in the wild always feel like a treat (although, its hard to avoid- she even did the Moonrise Kingdom lettering!) and can always count on City Lights for keeping hers + the Penguin linen classics on the shelves. 

I could go on and on about how special + pretty City Lights is and if you haven't been (and to San Francisco, OMG!!!) go immediately, ya won't soon forget it. It's also incredibly photogenic- double win. 

A Pageworm Bookish Adventure: Walden Pond Books

Walden Pond Books might be my favorite bookstore in the Bay Area; beautiful wooden floors + lighting, an abundance of staff suggestions, and located in the very best neighborhood of local businesses. Sitting in Grand Lake area of Oakland, California, the store could take hours to sift through to find the best reads (and omg, the best prices of used books- HOW TO CHOOSE) between finding odd editions you've been hunting for + new suggestions you haven't heard of yet. 

I wandered there with my friend while visiting the Bay Area this week on a stunning 75 degree day. I have been here countless of times in the evenings and really love this neighborhood, so was pretty surprised when all the amazing local food shops were closed mid-day until dinner- but if you wander over, head to Boot + Shoe Service! Amazing cocktails + wood fired pizza, bummed I missed out and sorry for no pics of cheese on cards that I have been craving. 

I bought Dave Egger's Zeitoun on this trip in an attempt to only shop for local authors- but rahhhh, it was super hard to narrow down. I have read two of Eggers books and felt polar opposite about each, love + hate. What Is the What was great and is one of my favorite reads in general and have heard from other book preference friends that Zeitoun is on par as well, I'll report back when I get through my next 200 to-be-read list. 

A Pageworm Bookish Venture: Modesto, California

A great friend of mine is tying the knot this weekend in San Francisco, so I headed back to California for the week for a fantastic reunion tour. I grew up about 100 miles from the Bay Area + haven't been home since I moved to NY in 2015, so headed back to the Modesto for a mini reunion tour. OMG California suburbs are best when spent poolside!

It feels like for every 3 corporate chain bookstores in the suburbs (the ratio is probably even worse than that), there is one local independent store, and the one close to my heart with rotating bookish quotes on the marquee is Yesterday's Books! They have an overwhelming amount of books to sift through and chairs to sit + indulge in around each corner. 

My dad drove me back to the City after 72 hours spent reading poolside + eating my way through all my favorite old hangs, but we had to stop at this fried gizzards spot called Twin Rivers Saloon off highway 132 outside of the Central Valley that my dad kept mentioning (I skipped the gizzards but obviously indulged in a 1pm IPA). I really miss the Valley, it's so polar opposite of my surroundings now and there is such local culture in places like the Saloon. Even despite roads being plowed down to expand for more traffic (eye roll), it's cool that dollars-on-the-wall hangs can still sustain themselves. MORE RANCH PLS. 

I ended up only leaving with one book over 72 hours, I was proud of myself. I have been wanting the boxed set of 1Q84 three split book edition by Haruki Murakami since the first time I saw it back in 2011 at McNally Jackson (my first time in NYC!) but haven't been able to justify the purchase. Each time I was actually willing to spend on the book, I couldn't find it anywhere. I knew it was fate when I found it at Yesterday's Books (NOT EVEN USED) for a magical $9!!!!! Seriously, moments like that are the gold of spending hours and hours book hunting. 

A Pageworm Bookish Venture: Fort Greene Brooklyn

Happy Independent Bookstore Day! One of the highest things on my list of favorite things about living in NYC is the abundance of fantastic Indie Bookstores in such a small radius. Unfortunately, I am spending my day at airports + (currently, thanks, WiFi) on a flight back home to the Bay Area and am missing what is typically a glorious day of hopping + shopping at all my favorites stores. The best way to make up for this? Spending the holiday-eve in ritual, bookstore + food wandering. 

On this (new!) edition of Bookish Venture, I wandered not far from my apartment to a beautiful + well-curated bookstore on the main strip of Fort Greene, on the first evening of 75-degree weather of the season. 

Shopping: Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene/Brooklyn

Eating: The Greene Grape Annex

Reading: Currently, 1984 by George Orwell

Unsure what the public opinion is of Subway commuting, but I love it because I can 1) people watch 2) sit and read 3) look at cool or comically terrible ads. It's an extra special win when publishing houses promote new books or TV networks promote new shows based on books. LIKE THE HANDMAIDS TALE, which is.... whoa, uber fantastic. Handmaids is one of my favorite reads, Elisabeth Ross is one of my favorite actresses, and visually stunning shit is obviously superb. If ya haven't watched it, stop what you are doing now and head over to Hulu. 

Greenlight Bookstore is the popular older sister in the family of Brooklyn bookshops and for all the right reasons; they host the most legit author events (and incredibly impressive ones), the bookstore is spacious and unique, the actual book selections are well curated and displayed, and its featured in such an awesome neighborhood. 

Across the street from Greenlight is a fantastic place called the Greene Grape Annex, which is interchangeable from a fantastic day time coffee shop to a cozy wine bar in the evenings. I actually had only been here for coffee but saw the lights on + a few customers so wandered in around 8 and am now internally debating which setting I like best! Each time I have been during the day, I have lucked out with grabbing a seat (in their uber cozy leather never-get-up chairs) so heading there at night and having multiple seat options with great cocktails and small plates was a double win. It's hard to find resturants or cafes that you can sit + get lost in a book at because everywhere is so vibrant and busy, but the Annex has a great welcoming vibe. 

I am currently reading 1984 for the first time and am enjoying taking my time with it and underlining passages every 4 pages. I have been rushing through lighter reads for the past few months that were completely enjoyable but not entirely stimulating, so its been super enjoyable. 

If you don't venture to Brooklyn often, or when you do, only head to Dumbo to take photos with the bridge (no judgement, I do that too) I highly suggest wandering around Greenepoint + obviously, stopping at both Greenlight Books and Green Grape Annex!