IN THE STACKS // The Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan

Some time ago my boyfriend Jeff and I were talking about all of the amazing bookshops we frequent. In New York City, there seems to be one tailored to every taste. When we travel, we relish in new shops in weird corners and always come home with a stack of books to add to our already swollen bookshelf.

Our generation is leading the way of choosing convenience over authenticity, and printed books (and the stores that house them) are dangerously teetering on the edge of extinction. We want to feature these beautiful shops with their attentive and knowledgable staffs in the forefront of everyone’s minds. We want you to visit, we want you to remember, we want you to carry 400-page hardcovers on the subway.

Our inaugural post follows courtesy of Jeff, who chose one of his all time favorite shops.


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Walk down Warren Street, west of Church. The sun sets over the Hudson. A wooden sign waves in the wind. The Mysterious Bookshop. You made it. Kick back and feast your eyes on this place.

You’re looking for murder. They got it by the pound. Pick your poison: Chandler, Highsmith, MacDonald, Spillane.

Oh, you love The Wire? How about all the Pelecanos, the Price, the Lippman books you’ve never heard of? Grab a few off the shelf.

You’re lusting for domestic melodrama? Have no fear.

Nah, you know what? You want the tormented, psychotic stuff. Feast your eyes on that fat stack of Jim Thompsons!

Screen shot 2015-05-28 at 9.23.28 PMMaybe you’re chasing older gems, hard-to-finds. Say, a first edition of an Ellroy. WHAM! The Black Dahlia right there, in the same damn case as a James Crumley and In a Lonely Place.

You can get lost in the three packed walls of this place, founded by Otto Penzler 35 years ago. The old man, I’m certain, was behind the wooden door on the right wall for the entire time I visited; doing what is his business.

The beauty of this wonderful oasis is its simplicity: a large room, with thick green carpeting, fat leather sofas, and all the damn books about any and all human misdeeds you can imagine.

If you don’t know a thing about the genre, it don’t matter. Just talk to Steve at the register, he’ll set you up good; the guy used to run his own shop down in the Village a few years a back, and he knows every single book in the fucking store. And even the ones that aren’t.

Read more books. Read more crime. Buy more books from amazing stores like Mysterious. Celebrate the art of death by keeping these kinds of places alive.
-Jeff Winter

The Mysterious Bookshop is located at 58 Warren St. in Manhattan. They specialize in mystery books. They’re open Monday – Saturday, 11am-7pm. 
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