On Fortuitous Location

The number of Wednesdays between this post and the last is far too great. I’ve been working on some other projects. However, on Monday I visited a bookstore in between sweating my way down 9th Ave and climbing the steep steps to the High Line in lower Manhattan.

Posman Books is located near the back of Chelsea Market. The neon ‘BOOKS’ sign appeared like an oasis. I had passed three ice cream shops without indulging because I couldn’t eat another thing after lunch. Books, however, I could do.

To be quite honest, I felt a different kind of character in Posman, one with which I’m not sure I clicked. Although there were some cool posters (of which I wished I could have purchased several) and lots of books, it felt very new. Everything was just beginning its journey. I could almost feel packing and production residue on some of the paperbacks.

What I loved were all of the unique books by unheard of imprints next to the stylized covers of classics like The Wind in the Willows and Frankenstein. It got me thinking about the fortune of a name. If an author has a creative title and a last name like Hemingburg, his or her book will probably get a few more looks than the boring title in the middle of the Ws. It turns out that being in the right place can be as helpful as automatic recognition… at least at the beginning. On Monday I perused a dozen books by authors I’d never heard of simply because I was looking for a copy of Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast” (which I did find and purchase).

So like the fortuitous placement of Posman Books at the end of a long stretch of delicious looking food, uncommon authors can make readers stop with an interesting title and the fortune of an alphabetically strategic last name. Of course, this really only applies to readers who go to bookstores to look for their books… but that is an entirely different story.

So what do we do? As readers, how do we find the good stuff that maybe is not alphabetically charmed? Listen for buzz on the internet and spend a lot of time in bookshops.

Read on,

Currently reading: That Book About Harvard by Eric Kester, Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
Just Finished: The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank


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