Monday, April 4, 2011

"A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking." Jerry Seinfeld

I love writing. I love reading. I love books. I love bookstores. I love Jerry Seinfeld's take on bookstores, and I completely agree. It is easy to get caught up in all of the technology (see my entry on how Google is taking over the world HERE), but bookstores are a place to be one with your own thoughts and the thoughts of the greats.

So, this weekend, my friend had the brilliant idea to play tourist in our city and take a trip down to the French Quarter. And while my first thought was, cool, we'll take the streetcar, maybe eat a beignet, take in a street performer, typical touristy stuff, she had a far better plan: to take in the one-of-a-kind galleries on Royal Street, bookstores on Pirates Alley, and fresh food from the French Market! While the Organic Banana stand in the French Market made a killer Strawberry Daiquiri and Pina Colada, it was the two bookstores we discovered that was the highlight of our tour.

The first bookstore we went to is called Faulkner House Books and is located along Pirate's Alley in the heart of the French Quarter. The photo above does not do the store justice by any means; rather, this bookstore is like walking into the Beast's library in the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. A gorgeous room, floor to ceiling with books ordered perfectly atop antique-looking mahogany bookshelves, set off by elegant lighting from a stunning chandelier. The owner of the shop sat in the corner of the room, offering spot-on recommendations to her customers. It was truly magical. My B&N Nook has some serious competition.
On the other hand, we also found the Arcadian Books & Prints store located at 714 Orleans Avenue in the French Quarter. Once again, my photo does not clearly depict the store's atmosphere, but it's pretty close. Though equally impressive in its collection, I affectionately dubbed the Arcadian bookstore a "Hoarder's Heaven" due to the sheer depth and height of the book stacks! While this store didn't have the magical elegance of the first, it had a charm that I truly do love. It is clear that the owner of this store has a passion for books, and also relies on his customers to have that same passion, likely with a side of patience. I could easily spend hours paging through the new, used, and antique volumes in the store, but I wouldn't recommend it when looking for something specific. 

With large chains like Borders closing, and e-readers popping up everywhere (guilty as charged) it makes my heart sing that independent bookstores, like these, thrive in the midst of technology's progress. Nothing can replace the touch, smell, or feeling of curling up with a real, live book!

1 comment:

  1. I want to go to Book Store # 1.
    Book Store # 2 is scary.
    I can't bring myself to buy an E-reader. At least, not yet.
    I cried when Borders went out of business. I don't like where the future is headed.