Monday, November 5, 2007

A Day With

We'll take a brief hiatus from fashion to turn to one of our other great loves: books (we won't say "love of words" don't worry). Let us know what you're reading at the moment.

This weekend Cath and I were inspired by Atlanta Intown (Newspaper) and Atlanta Magazine. Both had articles on the Atlanta independent bookstores that are flourishing (in spite of the big box super-stores and a certain online literary retailer). Though none of our ATL Indies have anything on the scale of The Strand or Powell's (not forgetting our much missed Oxford Books), there is definitely something to be said for teeny spaces crammed with books. In fact, that is exactly our kind of bookstore. Our heaven (or at least a very large chunk of it) would include dusty shelves that run to the ceiling and saggy sofas tucked away in hidden nooks. If you are of a similar mindset, we suggest spending a leisurely day amongst the stacks of your favorite indie bookstore (or come visit ours in Decatur/Atlanta) and buy your Australian Vogue and caramel macchiato another day.
We made it to five out of the 12 indies ( Atlanta Vintage Books, Books Again, Bound to Be Read, Charis Books, Outwrite Books, and Tall Tales we'll catch you next time. And, oh yes, there will be a next time--- once our credit cards have a chance to catch their breaths).

First up: Book Nook! Probably what sets Book Nook apart from our other indies are the ample supply of comics and used CDs, DVDs, VHSs and cassettes (oldies, but goodies). Their book selection is also quite comprehensive and a Jason Schwartzman look a-like was very helpful when we asked him where the mythology section was (by the way, Jason-Schwartzman-look-a-like, please take the comparison as a compliment. We are huge fans and fairly certain you are at least a foot taller than JS himself).

Purchases: The Virgin Suicide soundtrack, The Best of The Smiths II, Mythology by Edith Hamilton, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams, The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.

Onwards to Eagle Eye Bookstore! Apart from the terrific selection (particularly of Art and Architecture books- used!) and the "secret" Hole in the Wall Books at the back of the store (first editions and memorabilia in a cozied away, well, hole in the wall at the back of Eagle Eye), the best part of Eagle Eye are the terrific people who work there. I was particularly ecstatic to run into my old friend Philip (we, the veterans of the now defunct Chapter 11 Books). These lads and lasses are an incredibly knowledgeable bunch.

Purchases: a thank you card for our uncle and Praying for Sheetrock by Melissa Fay Greene.

Little Shop of Stories, or, where Meg Ryan wished she had worked in "You've Got Mail" (forgive us, Cath and I went through a Nora Ephron phase in high school and still have a soft spot for this bookwormie movie). Little Shop is definitely geared more for the wee ones, but they have a good selection of adult fiction as well. And we have to know who was the genius behind putting Jake's Ice Cream in a bookstore- god bless. This is also where we get our Duck & Herring fix.

Ahhh... Wordsmiths! Yes, well we misspoke earlier by saying all is dusty shelves and saggy couches. Equally enjoyable are the sophisticated black leather reading room sofas and new, sturdy bookshelves at Wordsmiths (our newest addition to the Indie book club).
I'll be a bit biased here since I worked with a number of this wonderful, beautiful employees while at Chapter 11 Books, but this lot really is unbeatable. Not only are they more than willing to help find that perfect book (and at least mask their flinching when you ask for the latest paranormal, werewolf romance to hit the shelves), they bring in an astounding number of intriguing, well-known, well-respected authors to sign your books and listen to your questions.
This is also an ideal studying getaway for students. Whereas most of our beloved indies have little room for text books and papers, Wordsmiths has a reading room, replete with sofas, tables, and spiral staircase (good for the studying mindset).

Purchases: Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson and (on order) The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

A Capella Books! Oooh how we love thee! Less of a focus on fiction here, but more than makes up for it with a vast selection of art and music titles. This is where you go to find that read that you won't be ashamed to be seen with on Marta or sitting in Freedom Park. I've gotten the diaries of Andy Warhol here, as well as a number of reasonably priced art theory books.

Purchases: Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh, Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, The Violent Bear it Away by Flannery O'Conner, Can-cans, Cats & Cities of Ash by Mark Twain, and Conde Nast Traveler's Book of Unforgettable Jorneys (I do realize many of these are in fact fiction... so yes, a good place for those classics).

And last but not least: Atlanta Book Exchange (or, that book store that used to be in the Virginia Highlands and is now located across from Manual's Tavern). I was heartbroken when I heard that Atlanta Book Exchange (Atlanta's oldest running independent bookstore) was closing it's doors back in July. But the tears were shed for naught. It's up and running in a bigger and better ramshackle house than before. This is the king of secret nooks and confusing hallways (and houses the most comfortable saggy sofa that first inspired talk of... the saggy sofa). This really is the indie to end your day with... plop your tired, literary arse down and peruse the oversized art books amidst the vases of dried flowers and postcard portraits (there is something very Charleston/Bloomsbury about it- Virgina and Vanessa would have been pleased).

Purchases: The Friendly Guide to Mythology by Nancy Hathaway, The Mythic Dimension by Joseph Campbell, and Living Museums by Iain Gale and Richard Bryant.

Proof of purchase(s). Though are wallets groan with the weight of our receipts from such a full day of shopping, they are considerably lighter than they would be had we decided to hit the big box stores... and these receipts (or at least the books) have more character.


Anonymous said...

Hi Girls,
I had moment and believe or not I thought of your blog! Nice job on the book stores. I did not realize there were so many independents even though we have been to a couple. Your present place looks similar to the first apt w/a loft, nice.
Love you, Diddy.

Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom said...

I didn't realize you two were Duck & Herring fans. So glad to learn it! We'll have another crazy happening in early December. (The Cold Weather edition is at the printer's.) Come on out and party with us crazy lit nerds.

Anonymous said...

i love books so much, i read five at a time because i can't wait to finish them all.

eagle eye bookstore looks fantastic, there's a bookstore over in signapore where i haunt for its selection of architecture and design books. and then another where i hide surreptitiously amongst the shelves of lit/philosophy.

love this post, and hope Wordsmiths stays open!

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eda said...