Archive | 10:35 AM

Book Gems in New Orleans, LA for the Traveling Bibliophile

24 Aug

I am back from the Big Easy! Yes, that in itself is an accomplishment.

I had very little free time in the busy schedule for this conference so I decided to go it alone on the first full day! I picked the three closest shops and headed out.

First on the agenda was Crescent City Books and Prints. I wasn’t aware Crescent City was a nickname for New Orleans before arriving but upon hearing it, it makes a ton of sense. Take a look at a map of the city and see the way the river cuts through it! I’ll be honest and say this was my least favorite of the book stores I visited. There were some neat older books and having the paintings and prints was a cool feature, but I wasn’t very impressed with the book collection. Most of the fiction was older titles which said to me the store doesn’t get a lot of new stuff. The floor plan wasn’t very big, either. It did have this cool wall which looks like it’s from a plane, so there’s that.

I grabbed some lunch and beer at a local brewery before heading to the store I was most excited about. Just the name alone had me excited. Are you ready for this?

If you didn’t guess from the name, let me explain. This bookstore is composed of the two rooms where William Faulkner lived from 1923-1924 and where he wrote his book Soldier’s Pay. I walked past the street it’s on and had to backtrack. It’s literally tucked right next to the cathedral just off Jackson Square. And, this is the best part, the street is called Pirate’s Ally! How great is that?

What’s even better is the adorable bookstore inside. The collection, appropriately, comprised a lot of classics and collector’s editions of Faulkner’s books. There was also a great collection of new and used fiction and I have to say I was very tempted by some of the selections! I decided, in the end, to go with Soldier’s Pay because it seemed appropriate. I did spend a lot of time poking around, though. Look how cute these pictures are!

After stopping for some VERY NECESSARY beignets at Cafe du Monde, I hit up one last store to round out my day. (Side note, Cafe du Monde is open 24 hours and it’s a lot less crowded at 2 AM.)

Beckham’s Bookshop was another used bookstore but I have to say I much preferred this one. The space had wide shelves and high ceilings. There was even a ladder on the walls but since I was the only person in the store, I restrained myself from swinging around like Belle. I’m mad at myself for not taking a picture. The one included here is from the second floor, the non-fiction and foreign language books. I bought myself a copy of Cuando era puertorriquena by Esmeralda Santiago. I’m now stocked and ready to go with Spanish reading books for a few years!

I liked this store more because of the selection. There were newer titles and some good old ones as well. I was deciding between a few books when I walked upstairs and found Santiago’s book. The gentleman running the store was very nice and helpful when a woman came in looking for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. She said she had a few chapters left in #2 and didn’t want to wait to read the next one. The gentleman gave her a list of all the bookstores within walking distance. How great is that?!

Overall, it was a great visit to New Orleans and a great afternoon of book shopping. I’m traveling for work next month but I don’t think I’ll have time for book shopping. We shall see.

Until next time, write on.

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