Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Best Bookstore in the World (part 1)...

This week we're chatting about our very favorite bookstores. Because even though we live in a wifi world, where Amazon is only a click away, we debut authors LOVE our bookstores. Big and small, dusty and shining, they come in all shapes and sizes...

Today, Courtney Sheinmel, author of My So Called Family, shares her personal fave.


Yep! See, the mother of one of my sister’s closest friends from high school, Caitlin, worked at The Corner Bookstore in Manhattan, which is famous for being the model for The Shop Around the Corner in the movie “You’ve Got Mail.” It was also the bookstore in the movie “The Prince of Tides,” in a pivotal scene when Nick Nolte figured out that his sister was living a double life.

Naturally, Caitlin was a big book person herself, and at some point, I told her about a book I had just finished – Ithaka, by Sarah Saffian. It was a memoir about an adoptee who had been found by her birthparents, and I thought it was wonderful. It had the added distinction of being written by a woman who had graduated from the same high school that Caitlin, my sister and I went to.

Caitlin told her mom, Vikki, about the book. Then, a few weeks later, Sarah Saffian happened to go into The Corner Bookstore. She introduced herself to Vikki, who remembered that I had loved the book. Vikki asked Sarah Saffian to sign a copy for me. I still have it – it is dated December 23, 1998: For Courtney, I’m so glad you enjoyed this! Warmly, Sarah Saffian. I was so excited when Caitlin came over and brought me the book. I couldn’t believe her mom had remembered. It was just the nicest thing. I keep Ithaka on my shelf of signed books.

Years later, my sister called to tell me that Caitlin’s mother had passed away. I didn’t know her well, but I think about her whenever I glance over at my bookshelf and see Ithaka, and some other times too, for no explicable reason. Caitlin is now a writer herself – in addition to countless articles, she co-authored a book called The Best Things to Do in New York (which was very well-received and even reviewed as an “inspiration digest”), and she’s currently at work on her next book. I called Caitlin to ask if I could write about her mom, and she said I could. She also told me something very cool – her brother is now working at The Corner Bookstore.

Yeah, see... these are the kinds of special, personal, real things that happen in those awesome indies, where people actually know one another. Don't you love bookstore people? So great!

And to you, our readers... we pose the same question... what's *your* favorite bookstore?


Erin said...

I am, odd as it may sound, most fond of the bookstore in the Minneapolis airport.

Laurel said...

I'm a fan of three stores.

The Red Canoe in Baltimore is right around the corner from my dad's house and has the BEST spinach muffins!!!

Prairie Lights in Iowa City has the BEST poetry section in the world. OMG.

And in Atlanta, Little Shop of Stories is just the best. Best staff, best events. I'll forever appreciate that they do Chanukah story hour with candles and cookies and it's sooooooo cute!

Barrie said...

So, Erin, what is it about the bookstore in the Minneapolis airport that you love? I am curious... :)

Anonymous said...

One of my favorites is Children's Book World in Haverford, PA. How can you NOT love a bookstore that carries only children's books?? It's small, but cozy and inviting, and there's always something new to see.


Erin said...

I don't really know...maybe it's the fact that it gives me something to do during layovers, and they always have a great children's/teen selection (compared to most airport bookstores), and it's just so much FUN for some reason. :)

The Buried Editor said...

Well, Bookpeople in Austin, of course. In Austin, do I really have any other choice?

I used to like the Enchanted Forest in Dallas. It was a very cool kid bookstore, and I got to go to a Julie Andrews signing there. She is just as glamourous and gracious in real life. Unfortunately, the store closed a few years back. I miss it when I'm up in Dallas

Sarah Prineas said...

Laurel, I was over at Prairie Lights the other day, and a pipe had burst in the basement. What section is in the basement, you ask?

Yeah, the children's and YA books. Alas!