Tuesday, September 27, 2016

192 Books - New York, NY

192 Books - New York, NY
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This started out to be another usual bookstore visit, fun and exciting as all my others.  192 Books is a small, intimate, one-level store so it was very easy to talk to Todd C., the store manager, and Haley, one of the staffers.  Then I find out that Todd is originally from Iowa and did his undergrad at the University of Iowa, same as me.  That conversation could've easily filled my time during this visit but then Todd asked, "So what's going on with the presidential election and the polls in Iowa?" Oy vey.  Where to begin?!  Probably not your typical customer/bookstore manager chat but what a great time I had.  But enough of that, you need to hear about this great store!

This indie has been around for almost 13 years, located in the Chelsea community of Manhattan.  I think any bookstore in Manhattan has a great location and the same is true for 192.  This area is a hub of cultural activity and events.  Art galleries are thick and the Chelsea Market is very close.  The co-owners, Paula and Jack, are a perfect blend of the art world (Paula has her own gallery) and the literary world, respectively.  Books related to the art world are one of the strengths here along with poetry, translations, and children's.  It was fun to browse the fiction shelves as I saw a lot of authors and books that I was unfamiliar with.  In some ways, this store reminded me of a mini City Lights in San Francisco.  A very literary inventory and no sidelines.  This place is all about the books and Todd shared with me that business is going quite well.  It also helps this business that Paula and Jack own the building, a considerable savings for the business that any indie would welcome.  

Customers to this store come from all over the world including famous people in the art world.  Like other successful indies though, it also has a lot of devoted local customers.  But when your store is located in NYC, you have a high density population to draw customers from.  Author events are frequent, held right in the store or at a nearby gallery for larger events.  To get to this store, I would strongly encourage you to use public transportation and then walk.  You would be insane to try and drive a car here.

I didn't meet Paula or Jack, but boy do they have great people here.  When you visit you'll have a terrific time talking to Todd or Haley and if you're from Iowa, be prepared for a great visit with Todd and some great book recommendations.  Just the thing you're looking for at any bookstore visit.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Jaquar's Children, John Vaillant.  Either there is more literature about the plight of immigrants trying to cross the southern border or I'm just finding lots of it.  For those of you removed from our immigration issues, this book will be an inside look to the atrocities that are happening.  Even though this is fiction, it is not far-fetched.  A group of Mexicans are smuggled across the border at great financial expense for their passage.  They are transported in a sealed water tanker and then abandoned in the desert.  The story is interspersed with the main character's reminiscence of days past and his current struggle to survive with the others.  Do they survive?  Read it to find out.  Not everyone will like this and for some it might be too disjunct.  Recommended.  

CURRENTLY READING:  Seinfeldia, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Heart, Maylis De Kerangal.

Another exterior view.  Lots of reflection on the beautiful day of my visit so you can also see the other side of the street.  

One of the front window displays (and more reflection of the other side of the street!).  

Another exterior shot.  

Lots of author events.  

View looking into the store and slightly to the left from the front entrance.  

Take my word for it, there are more than 192 books here!

View looking to the right from the front entrance.  

Nice display of books including some award winners.  

The children's area.  

Keep your eyes open for more than books in this store.  You'll see some interesting art work as well.  

Another overview of the store.  

In NYC people are good at using space.  This is a front table book display with folding chairs stored underneath the table for in-store author events.  

A great overview of the store from the check-out counter.  

I love the ceilings in these old buildings that house bookstores.  

With Todd on the left, the fine store manager at 192 Books.  Thanks for a great visit.

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