Archive for the ‘Westsider Rare and Used Books’ Category

TheBookstoreDid you ever read a book and the more you got into it, the more it seems like you read it already but nothing in your records shows that you did? I didn’t blog about it. It’s not in my Librarything library. Yet, the more I read The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler, the more I remembered reading it…but maybe not.

The plot is simple. Brit Esme Gardner is on scholarship at Columbia to study art history, in particular Thiebaud. Several weeks into her New York residency, she attends an art gallery event and meets the ultra rich, ultra suave Mitchel van Leuven, an old monied guy. During their one and only unprotected sexual encounter, Esme gets pregnant. After deciding to keep the baby, she must then decide to tell or not tell Mitchell. Since they’re not an ‘item’, she decides against it. Thinking that money might come in handy with a baby on the way, Esme sees a help wanted since in the Owl Bookstore that she frequents and gets the job. Of course she ultimately does tell the father. You can guess the rest. It is no secret that Mitchell is a shit and ultimately her bookstore friends win out.

The book jacket says “A sharply observed and evocative tale of learning to face reality without giving up your dreams, The Bookstore is sheer enchantment from start to finish.” And it is. You’ll fall in love with Esme, with the bookstore employees and customers. You’ll truly hate Mitchell, right from the start. So, people who aren’t familiar with this particular bookstore, but love bookstores in general, will certainly enjoy this book.

Ms. Meyler, actually British herself, worked in a bookstore on Broadway in the upper west side, which apparently is a source for her bookstore.Westsider2 I have no doubt it is Westsider Books on Broadway between 80th and 81st Streets. When she new_york_361_westsider_books_4e9348a06a1074578c000273_store_main_newdescribes the narrow staircase with books on both sides, this is what I envision. I can see the books two deep on the shelves. I can picture the cramped quarters upstairs and the books going all the way up to the ceiling.

So, for me, the book had an extraWestsiders3added attraction. I wondered, as I read the book, whether Ms. Meyler was working on any of the days I wandered through its aisles. It’s definitely possible. 

So, the two things you should do are : (i) read The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler and (ii) go to Westsider Books. Enjoy.


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KissMeAgainStrangerI’d never read Daphne Du Maurier until I read Kiss Me Again, Stranger, a collection of 8 short stories. “Where have I been all these years?”, I asked myself. Housed in the mystery section of the antiquarian bookstore Westsider Rare and Used Books WestsiderRareAndUsedBookson Broadway and 78th Street (give or take a block or two), some stories were mysteries and some were just odd, for lack of a better term. All were good.

I did learn something from the book, though. Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds was based on a Du Maurier story of the same name. That and the fact that Du Maurier wrote the story and the screenplay is almost where the similarity ends. One takes place in the U.S. and the other in England. One has a romance and one doesn’t. One is about survival and the other isn’t. I must admit the original story is quite compelling. They are both scary, though!

I’d tell you my favorite story, but they are all so different and as I look at the titles to write this, they all conjure up the story lines and I like them all. Kiss Me Again, Stranger, the story, is about GIs being murdered. The Apple Tree is about a tree taking revenge. The Little Photographer is about a vacation liaison turned bad and No Motive is about a suicide. You see, the stories are all over the place, but once started, I couldn’t put the book down.

I find that Du Maurier’s stories and Vera Caspary’s writings have a similarity in their feel. Contemporaries (Laura by Caspary was written in 1943 and Rebecca by Du Maurier was written in 1938) it is not the mystery that is commanding but the story, the atmosphere created by the authors, the surroundings described by the authors.  These are not ‘police procedurals’. They are creations. A few days ago I wrote about painting a picture with words. I found both Du Maurier and Caspary created canvases.

I know I’ve just rambled but since I couldn’t really describe the stories, I had to find a way to tell you why I like these authors so much. IWestsiderRareAndUsedBooks3 hope I have and I hope my enthusiasm will rub off on you.

Just a note on Westsider Rare and Used Books. Quite a store. It’s very narrow. It has a second floor and the stairs are lined on both sides with books. Be careful climbing. Books are stacked on shelves reaching  all the way to the 20+ feet ceiling. It’s got a great mystery corner as shown in this photo to the left of the door (the paperbacks are shelved two deep), but it has a very eclectic collection. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by.

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