Bookstore Review: Book Culture in New York, NY

Karsten Moran for the NYT

Book Culture is the type of store you know you’ll love before even stepping inside. There’s something intrinsically lovely about nearly every independent bookstore, but Book Culture’s racks of discounted gems and fierce “Shop Indie” sign out front (picture below) set it apart from the rest.

Inside, the store is pretty massive. On the first floor, bookish tchotchkes crowd shelves and library-style bookshelves line the walls. Almost immediately, I fell in love with a tote bag with two cats sleeping on a neon pink book titled “A Tale of Two Kitties.” Unfortunately, I was not at Book Culture to browse. I had a mission: find my required summer reading. Thrilling, I know.

My required reading is The Art of Travel by Alain De Botton. For whatever reason, the two bookstores I visited before Book Culture not only did not have the book in store but had never even carried it. By some miracle Book Culture had not one, but two copies. To retrieve the book, I ventured up to Book Culture’s second floor. On the way, I stopped by shelves on the side of the stairs advertising discounted books of all genres and bookish t shirts from Out of Print.

Upstairs, the store looks even more like a library. Books are arranged by genre in what I would describe as towering shelves (but I’m 5’2”, so take this with a grain of salt). Although books are both used and new, but the used copy of The Art of Travel that I bought was in pristine condition. After finding my book, I wandered through the shelves and found homely leather chairs and a writing desk. Best of all, I spotted a used copy of The Greek Myths by Robert Graves which I am so excited to read. I’m sure I could have spent the day browsing the stacks, but I had to meet someone for lunch so after buying my books I headed out.

Even though my visit was brief, I fell in love with Book Culture. Thanks to its large selection and quirky knick-knacks, it seems impossible to walk out of the store empty-handed. So, next time you’re in the area or just needing to pick up a new favorite book, stop, make sure to stop by.

Visit Book Culture Today! 536 W 112th Street, New York, NY

PS: I’m no food critic, but Junzi Kitchen, less than a block away, was a great lunch spot and very vegetarian friendly.

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