So the Rejectionist totally has a Serious Problem! It is called The Problem of Compulsive Book Acquisition, and sometimes it threatens to take over our whole life! Also our apartment! Witness:
This is PILE ONE of Unread Books:
This is PILE TWO, of equal parts read and unread books:
This is not even including our OTHER set of shelves replete with books we have FINISHED and like to keep near our person at all times. So you would think, yes, that that is more than enough books? Because even at the Rejectionist's semi-freakish reading speed, we will be busy for, you know, a long time. So what did we do this weekend? 1. Bought a bunch of books at the Chelsea Housingworks (possibly the best-kept secret of used book bonanzas in the entire Manhattan metro area) 2. Attended the super-fun Brooklyn Public Library booksale/fundraiser (OMG New York! Lord almighty! When we were like "JESUS GOD we need to stop acquiring so many books, send help" we did not mean you should send help by GUTTING FUNDING TO THE PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM, WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?) where we bought a bunch of books 3. Picked up our holds at our local BPL branch 4. Put some more books on hold. IT IS A SICKNESS, IS WHAT IT IS.
So anyway! Today we want to talk about bookstores! and how much we love them! LOVE THEM. New York is maybe the most amazing place ever for bookstores; there are Venerable Bookstores, like Three Lives (DREAMY) and Shakespeare & Co. (less dreamy aesthetically but OMG do they have a lot of books in there) and of course our BELOVED WORD bookstore, which is like the bookstore our house would be if our house were a bookstore, if that makes any sense, complete with awesome parties in the basement. There is the Strand if you like A LOT of books and also fighting your way through displeasing tourists.
(True story: when we first arrived in New York we applied for a job at the Strand, which entailed filling out a long complex application with lots of essay questions about why we wanted to work there, what bookselling meant to us emotionally, etc. etc. etc. At the end of the application was a Special Test with a column of books on the left and authors on the right; one was obliged to draw a line from the author to the correct title, an activity that proved quite easy for us, until we got to the end and the only title-author set remaining was Crime and Punishment and Mikhail Bulgakov. As someone who thinks The Master and Margarita is one of the most splendid novels ever written, and Crime and Punishment one of the most boring, the Rejectionist is well aware that Mikhail Bulgakov is the author of the former, not the latter. SO WHAT DID THIS MEAN. Was it some kind of code? Did the fine people of the Strand really not know that Dostoevsky wrote C&P ? Was there someone watching us complete this item through a hidden peephole, to observe how we behaved under duress? THE REJECTIONIST WAS TOTALLY THWARTED BY THIS IMPASSE, and after some deliberation, wrote a polite note explaining that C&P was in fact the responsibility of poor old Fyodor, who was unfortunately not included on the list of authors. (Which is not an especially esoteric fact. It's not as though we were all like "Well actually, dear Strand management, Naturalis Historia is the work of Pliny the Elder and not Pliny the Younger, who as you know was his nephew, and recognized for his correspondence with Tacitus and other figures of importance," which would be a sort of obscure thing to know. Knowing that Dostoevsky wrote Crime and Punishment, not so much.) The Strand never called us for an interview, so apparently we failed. If any Strand employees are reading this, and know the SECRET OF THIS EMPLOYMENT TEST, WE ARE STILL VERY CURIOUS ABOUT IT.)
Anyway! There is the aforementioned magical used book shelf of the Chelsea Housingworks, and then the whole Soho Housingworks Bookstore OMG AMAZEMENT, and the extremely sordid Barnes and Noble on Sixth Ave, which we do not enter if we can help it, but which does have an excellent science-fiction and fantasy section, and is where we go if we need something by China Miéville RIGHT NOW and cannot wait to get it ordered in at WORD. AND there is that really great little store on Fourth which we can never remember the name of. Oh! And there is Bookthug Nation, which has a fab selection of used books, despite the name. (GENTLEMEN! We do adore your store, but were somewhat startled to notice that all the work by lady theorists is shelved under "cultural studies," whereas all the work by man-theorists is in "philosophy"! Perhaps you will correct this oversight! IT MIGHT HELP IF YOU HIRED SOME LADIES.)
NOW YOU TELL US: Where is YOUR favorite bookstore? Is it the stupendous Elliott Bay Book Co.? Charming Village Books, in lovely Bellingham, WA? The Montague Bookmill, which is 100% totally the coolest used bookstore in the entire universe? Have at it!