A different kind of book store.
If you end up in New York City, there really isn’t a shortage of sights to see and things to do. But as a book nerd, you are also spoiled for choice when it comes to really interesting bookshops to check out (and there are tons of lists to check out for ideas).
When it comes to beauty (at least form the outside), the Strand won’t stick out much, but if you have an afternoon to wander the stacks, you won’t be disappointed.
Upon walking in, the atmosphere makes me feel almost as if I’m walking into a book version of Ollivanders—a magical place where you could wander for hours waiting for the right book to find you. However, I also felt a bit like Belle walking into the Beast’s library—I could wander here forever and never run out of new worlds to explore.
What makes the Strand really unique is that it’s more than just a book store for the new, but a place you can go to buy or give used books a chance to be discovered and turned into someone else’s favorites through the Book exchange on the first floor; this supplies the cheap and used book carts that surround the store on the outside.
If you are looking to get in and out of a store with exactly what you want quickly, efficiently, and without much fuss, this is probably not the store for you. This isn’t to say you couldn’t manage the task, but you’d probably have to go directly to one of the help stations and have them find and retrieve the book for you. Why?
The stacks of the Strand are so tall and close, at times it was hard to see what books lied along the very top shops, let alone get to those books if the one you want is up there (and unlike the Parisian stores I’ve been to, there aren’t any public access ladders to make use of).
However, even though the store sometimes feels like an overwhelmingly large maze, everything is pretty neatly laid out with a clear and handy map next to the stair case. With four floors (more like three and a half nook) of books to wander, it’s a good thing too.
As we’ve talked about, there are tons of different kind of book nerd nirvanas and if you are a wanderer with a taste for in a mix of new prints and books with character and storied pasts and no shortage of time and a desire to wander and explore, the Strand is the place for you, my book nerd.
I’ll be honest, I had originally not planned to visit The Strand—my trip was so busy, time wasn’t really my own with the amount of people with us, and the store didn’t really stick out among any of the lists I was looking at.
But thank goodness it ended up along our path between destinations on a relatively empty afternoon (as I’ve mentioned, the people I was with weren’t really seasoned for the long walking/exploring days needed to get the feel of a city that never sleeps—most ended up sitting around as my sister and I explored the shelves only to hop in a taxi to the hotel to call it a night—in the middle of the afternoon!)
Anyway, despite what you may see in the picture lists that talk about the NYC bookstores ‘you must see when you have the chance’, the Strand is a great stop to go and explore the world of new and old books—and unlike the library, you get to keep the books! So go for it, Book hoarders, and explore. I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed in your afternoon among the shelves.
I know I wasn’t.
This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.