Category Archives: Bookshops

Borders

Very sad that the Borders in Center City is closing up. Out of the two big chains, I always much preferred Borders (though I was a Barnes & Noble employee… or perhaps because I was a Barnes & Noble employee!) because I felt that their selection was a little better, especially in regards to literature, history, and poetry (my main concerns).

Unfortunately, their landlord raised the rent of the Center City store too high, and so that store is closing as well as the one in King of Prussia.

I felt a little weird picking through closing sale books (everything must go!), especially with the knowledge that the employees cheerfully greeting me would soon be out of work. It felt very vulture-like, as though I was going over the store’s bones. Still, 10 books for around $100 was a pretty great deal, especially considering what I managed to find.

This was a great incentive to finally buy a copy of Stacia Kane’s Downside series (though try as I might I could not find the second book!) instead of repeatedly taking them out of the library. I also think I might already own Sigurd & Gudrun in hardcover, but I couldn’t remember for sure.

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The library and the bookstore


The other day I was feeling rather under the weather, and the solution to those feelings is always books. Two of them were library acquisitions; two were bought at the Last Word against my better judgment. Unsurprisingly, I did feel rather better…

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Labyrinth Books, Princeton NJ

S. and I headed up to Princeton with friends today; the boys went out on the river in kayaks and canoes, and dropped me off downtown and let me wander around on my own (because I am not, repeat not an outdoorsy person, and the last time we went canoeing I fell in the Delaware river and sulked for the rest of the day). Luckily, I found Labyrinth Books to entertain me.

Labyrinth is a surprisingly roomy bookstore on Nassau Street, with a tempting selection of sale tables set up outside of the store, with books priced anywhere from $1 to $12. I was drawn in by a clearance rack of Oxford Worlds’ Classics, though I allowed myself only Scott’s last expedition journals, at a reasonably priced $5. The inventory is incredibly well curated, a mix of new and used books, with the used books having pretty decent prices and seemingly in great quality. I could have spent a few hours browsing around in here, easily, but unfortunately the amount of awesome things that they have proved too tempting to stay much longer.

Instead, I set up outside of a fountain courtyard and did this for several hours:

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The Last Word Bookshop

Today, I decided that I was going to go to a bookstore. Not to buy anything, because I am trying not to spend money, but just to browse, because there is something very calming about that, no doubt. The closest bookstore to my house is The Last Word bookshop, a place that I’ve always liked. The narrow aisles are crammed with books of all sorts, neatly separated by subject, though there’s always an interesting jumble of new arrivals in the front of the store. Prices are a bit high for used books, but the quality of the books is always good. Sometimes they have real finds–I saw an advance copy of 2666 there once, before it was officially published in the US. Also there is a fat bookstore cat that you can come across sometimes, who will rub against your legs. I ducked into the Last Word today out of a crazy sandstorm that was blowing across Penn’s campus.

This is one of the corners of the fiction section, as you can see, a nice mix of modern editions and older ones.

I only browsed around for a little bit, but that was good enough for me. It was torture because there were many books that caught my interest, but none that I could afford.

I am always shy of taking photographs of people I don't know, but I liked this too much not to do it. I hope she didn't see me.

Here are some of the books that I was eyeing, but didn’t buy.

Lovely hardcovers and Oxford classics.

I was very tempted by these two books by Milorad Pavic. There are two versions of this book, male and female, the difference is in one sentence. I’ve read the male version, I think, and I’ve never seen the two in the same place. You are not supposed to buy both of them yourself, you’re supposed to find someone with the other gendered book… but I was tempted.

And finally, a view of the entire shop. If you’re ever in Philadelphia it’s worth visiting.

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