Feb 16, 2021
9 indie Brooklyn Bookstores to visit today
From Archestratus to Unnameable, these neighborhood shops offer more than just page turners
As we approach the one-year anniversary of pandemic lockdown, why not take a well-earned trip … via the magic of reading!
There are few things as enjoyable as walking into a bookstore (mask on, socially distant!) and entering a new world. Come, let us be your LeVar Burton and you can taste our reading rainbow: Here are nine independent Brooklyn bookstores to visit before your next book club meeting. Suck it, Bezos.
Archestratus Books + Foods
160 Huron Street, Greenpoint
Archestratus combines some of the world’s best things under one roof: delicious homemade Sicilian specialities, beer and wine and quality cookbooks and other great reads. Check out their Favorites At the Moment.
Books Are Magic
225 Smith Street, Cobble Hill
While we miss their pre-pandemic panel discussions, usually standing room only, book lovers can still get their fix online, with past events available on the Books Are Magic YouTube page, and more upcoming virtual events here. Owner Emma Straub, herself a New York Times bestselling author (“All Adults Here,” “Modern Lovers,” “The Vacationers”), can often be found working in the shop and socializing with customers during business hours.
Cafe Con Libros
724 Prospect Place, Crown Heights
Cafe Con Libros is an intersectional feminist community bookstore and coffeeshop that focuses on books especially by, for and about women and girls of color. Their mantra: “Shopping local is a political act.” This month they’re hosting a virtual book club with WNBA star Jocelyn Willoughby, who has hand selected three titles and will guide discussions about them.
143 7th Avenue, Park Slope
A neighborhood staple since its opening in 1971, Community Bookstore—and its sister to the south, Terrace Books—not only offers a wide and well-curated selection of books, but they also have a charming garden and local celebrity cat co-owner named Tiny the Usurper. Curious to know what Tiny’s reading? From “Of Mice and Men” to “Catch and Kill,” you can see his recommendations here.
Freebird Books and Goods
123 Columbia Street, Cobble Hill
Known for its extensive New York City section, nothing is too strange for Freebird (keep those Skynyrd jokes to a minimum). While they carry plenty of books about the city’s infrastructure and history, they also offer other city-centric titles that you won’t find elsewhere, like late Victorian accounts of city life. “I always make sure to have on-hand a series of late 19th century guides with titles like ‘Darkness & Daylight,’ ‘Sunlight and Shadow’,” says owner Peter Miller. These publications, he explains, “were meant to titillate and scandalize Victorian readers about the dangers of the big city.”
686 Fulton Street, Fort Greene, and 632 Flatbush Avenue, Flatbush
A robust programming and events calendar sets Greenlight apart, with near daily events at its two locations. Join a book group, bring your kids to story time, or sign up for one of their frequent (now virtual) author talks from literary superstars like Jennifer Egan and Elizabeth Acevedo. “Even in pandemic times, the most rewarding things are getting to talk about and champion books we love, and getting to help people find just the right book for them,” says co-owner Jessica Stockton Bagnulo. “And of course the absolute best is when those two things overlap.”
Spoonbill and Sugartown
218 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg
With a particularly excellent selection of art and design books, including some hardcover titles on sale for just $10, it’s perhaps no surprise this hip store was featured in a 2013 episode of HBO’s Girls.
The Bookmark Shoppe
8415 Third Avenue, Bay Ridge
Beyond the books, board games and puzzles at The Bookmark Shoppe, they also have a knitting corner where customers can browse for crafting materials. And, true to its name, the shop sells loads of bookmarks, with options ranging from UFO and shark shapes to tasseled and magnetic.
600 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights
“Books are awesome and people are ok, too,” says proprietor Adam Tobin, whose store is a treasure trove of new and used books. Whether it be the latest cult read, a 1960s magazine or a 1556 Hans Lufft quarto edition of Martin Luther biblical commentary, if you can name it, you’ll likely find it at Unnameable.
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