An Ode To East Village Books
Allow me to dip into some self-indulgence, because it’s appropriate.
I want to talk to you about a small book store on St.Mark’s Place and East 8th. “Why?” you may ask (you never seem to do that these days though because you’ve completely forgotten me, you selfish prick)? Well, this place has been a bit of a sanctuary for me and a lot others who just want some time to themselves. This place is called East Village Books.
I first discovered East Village Books when I went on a small promenade with someone I was crushing on way long ago. It was kind of weird and ill-fated, but whatever. The joy I had walking into the place was surreal.
When you walk in the place is pretty quite and relaxing, which is a nice diversion from the loud drunken rich kids that tend to roam around the East Village. People are scattered all around this small space in the heart of Manhattan, calmly perusing through each book spine until they find one that peaks their fancy. The door quietly closes and you smell that sweet smell all writers and bibliophiles love: used books, and in the way back, used CDs and posters that any music lover will appreciate.
The used books are plenty and cheap! Some real good gems are to be discovered there. Comic books, poetry, philosophy books, religious texts, how-to, self help, the whole 9 yards. As a history buff I was shitting my pants that East Village books had a 1960 paperback edition of Rise and Fall of The Third Reich for $2! $2! That would cost like, around $60 on eBay or some other shady auction site (who knows, maybe The Silk Road has a say in illicit book dealings). The stuff they have is pretty off the wall and intriguing too and that’s what makes every trip to East Village Books fantastic.The last time I visited East Village Books I discovered a 1994 military instruction manual on how to take care of certain military equipment (which to me has always been fascinating). If it weren’t for the next thing I’m about to gush over, I’d still hop in this sweet book-hub for sure.
The records they have are cheap and electric. They are all mostly CDs, which, for a millennial like me who grew up on CDs and not vinyls (Note to the “Old-Timer”: I will argue that vinyls are the most superior audio format still, but that’s another topic for another day) They got Classical music like Strauss and Wagner to Japanese releases of Beatles singles (and I am the hugest Beatles nut, so that is incredibly important to me no matter how much I may ruin my well-being). The posters are there too, located on the other side of the CD aisle, closest to the register. You got your staple Marilyn Monroe posters, to artsy-fartsy posters, to movie and music posters. I have not bought any (I’m not much of a poster man myself) but it’s all quite cool to see and take in. All of these CDs, plus the posters, clumped together in this dinky corner of an incredibly dinky shop filled to the brim with years and years of already superb content.
So with all of these things said, I give a toast to East Village Books. Thanks to you guys I have stayed smart, stayed curious, and stayed humble. Please keep doing what you’re doing. You are part of the reason why New York can’t be such a bad place to live after all.