By Robin Weaver
Thomas Jefferson once wrote to John Adams, “I cannot live without books.” For those who love books and who relish the experience of browsing for a good read, Bookberries, an independent bookstore on the Upper East Side, is a treasure trove.
Bookberries, while a general bookstore, has a quirkiness that makes it special. There are wonderful coffee table books with a focus on interior design, a wide selection of books on female royalty, and for police mystery fans, there’s a large selection of Martin Beck novels and a fun selection of cops and robbers. For New York “royalty,” Bookberries stacks a large selection of books on the Astor family.
Bookberries size and ambience provide a quiet sanctuary to bibliophiles of all ages and interests. There’s a delightful children’s nook with such titles as Tea for Ruby, Bess Gets Dressed, Gilbert the Great, My Little Yellow Taxi, and Pinkalicious.
If Bookberries had a movie counterpart, it would be The Shop around the Corner. One can just imagine Jimmy Stewart and Maureen Sullavan stopping by. Its neighborhood feel is a huge part of its charm.
But what sets Bookberries apart from the blockbuster bookstores is not only its size and intimacy, but also its well-read and well-informed staff. Carol Feinberg is the store owner. Clarence, the store manager, and the staff are happy to recommend a book or, if asked, to give an opinion on the store’s best sellers. (Note to buyers: Best sellers are not always the staff’s choice recommendations!)
Bookberrries also offers amenities not found in larger bookstores: free gift wrapping, free delivery and a window display that catches the eye and invites patrons to browse. This week, some of the books you’ll find prominently displayed in the window include Niall Ferguson’s book on financial history, The Ascent of Money, The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee, French Chic by Florence De Dampierre, Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead, Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution by Richard Beeman.
In an era that often values bigger over better and where city blocks are lined with drug store chains and bank branches, Bookberries provides a welcome respite. But don’t judge this bookstore entirely by its cover, for Bookberries provides its patrons with the latest in art, architecture, history, biography, mysteries, business, sports, fiction and children’s books. It is a wonderful way to spend some quality time and to support a wonderful institution—the small, independent bookstore. And for those who can’t ‘live without books,’ Bookberries is the perfect antidote.
983 Lexington Avenue at 71st Street
Hours: Mon-Sat 10 a.m-6:30 p.m.
Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m