Bookstore Tourism : The Bronx

Way back in 2017 I shared a story about one woman’s efforts to bring an independent bookstore to the New York City Borough of the Bronx. It’s still difficult to believe that this entire district of the largest city in the United States had no bookstores. I rarely post links to crowdfunding campaigns, but Noëlle Santos’ crusade got my attention and support. I hope that some of you also contributed to the Let’s bring a goddamn bookstore to the Bronx campaign too. Long story short, the project was a huge success earning more than $170,000 and also attracting a grant from the New York Public Library.

This Saturday, on Independent Bookstore Day, the Lit Bar will have its official grand opening. So if you are in NYC, take a trip to the Bronx for the festivities, if not tell your New York friends to support the bookstore launch.



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Children’s Literature Reimagined

Since we have a new crop of kids in our family, I’ve been spending more time in the children’s section of bookstores, but there aren’t many titles like these. This series of reimagined kid’s books come from the pen of San Francisco-based artist Ted McCagg, so blame him if you are offended.

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Berlin: Word on the Street

h/t Herakut & Dr.Seuss


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Party Like It’s Bookstore Day

This coming Saturday, April 27, will mark the fifth annual Independent Bookstore Day in the United States. The day-long party will take place at hundreds of indie booksellers from Alaska to Florida. Bookshops will celebrate the occasion  with author events, giveaways, refreshments, music, poetry readings, open mics, children’s book events, and limited edition books. You can find a participating independent bookstore on the Indiemap and get more information on the dedicated website.


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Weekend Links To Love

Travel On A Sunbeam with Tillie Walden’s online sci-fi comic.

Get your Surrealist Starter Kit right here.

Who doesn’t need some more Gorey ?

Transit maps should work for residents and tourists alike. Check out this amazing but unofficial re-imagined map for Berlin’s excellent transport system. The map was the passion project of Russian graphic design genius Pasha Omelekhin.

Magic from the Library of Congress can be yours at LOC Serendipity.

The Hidden World of National Parks

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A Secondhand Book Scheme To Emulate

An abandoned warehouse in southeastern Seoul, Korea has been transformed into the city’s first publicly supported secondhand bookstore mall. Although it faced sharp criticism, the project developed by the municipal government and main library, has been a resounding success. In its first three weeks of operation it has already attracted more than 30,000 visitors.

The interior is impressive with rows of iron-frame bookshelves creating a tunnel.
Around 120,000 secondhand books are on sale in this single-story, 1,400-square-meter store, called Seoul Book Repository. The books are supplied by 25 secondhand bookstores scattered around the city, most of which are located at at secondhand book street near Cheonggye Street. The city-managed book mall charges no rent to the booksellers, but takes a 10% commission on sales to cover the cost of operations.

The books are shelved by individual bookshop, allowing each bookstore to maintain its distinct identity and to utilize its own cataloging system for its books. Booksellers are allowed minimal advertising and hang small metal card holders from the shelving.

Hopefully, other cities around the world will consider this model to support local bookshops in their struggle to survive in the Amazon era. The system requires minimal governmental support and can actually create jobs, protect small local businesses, attract bookloving tourists, and even raise revenue.

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Friday Funnies Again


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Just So Stories

Just So Stories for little children
Rudyard Kipling
London Macmillan and Co Limited First Edition September 1902 – Reprinted October 1902

I was never a big Kipling fan as a child, but I vividly remember this particular book from the local library. Considered a classic of children’s literature, the book is among Kipling’s best known works. Kipling began working on the book by telling the first three chapters as bedtime stories to his daughter Josephine. These had to be told “just so” (exactly in the words she was used to) or she would complain. The stories describe how one animal or another acquired its most distinctive features, such as how the leopard got his spots. For the book, Kipling illustrated the stories himself.

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NYC Bookwagons Are Coming Back

Starting this summer, the New York Public Library will be bringing books to residents of the Bronx, Staten Island, and Manhattan via a new fleet of brand new, strawberry red-colored vans.

These new NYPL bookmobiles are designed to help communities that don’t currently have easy access to libraries, or whose local libraries aren’t completely operational. The Bronx’s  Grand Concourse Library, for example, is currently closed for the next year due to ongoing renovations.

The NYPL had a history of offering New Yorkers books through its mobile libraries, at times called bookwagons, for over a century, but it has been nearly four decades since regular bookmobile services.

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Hey, It’s National Poetry Month

Just Beyond Yourself

Just beyond

It’s where
you need
to be.

Half a step
and the rest
by what
you’ll meet.

There is a road
always beckoning.

When you see
the two sides
of it
closing together
at that far horizon
and deep in
the foundations
of your own
at exactly
the same
that’s how
you know
it’s the road
to follow.

That’s how
you know
it’s where
to go.

That’s how
you know
you have
to go.

how you know.

Just beyond
where you
need to be.

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