It’s a great time of year (and a great year in general) to curl up and read, and in a time of Kindles, Nooks and iPads, there’s something so nostalgic about a physical book. I love to feel the weight of hundreds of pages in my hand, dog earring the corner to save my place.
But when a book is secondhand, there’s something extra special about it. Just knowing that other people, sometimes tens or maybe even hundreds of people, have flipped through the pages and read the same words adds a certain connection.
Here on the North Fork, there are a few places that have amazing selections of those great pre-read books.
For a huge selection
Black Cat Books, Shelter Island
Black Cat Books is a hidden gem. Sitting right across the street from Maria’s Kitchen and the Shelter Island Brewery (coincidence? I think not), this bookstore has books rare and used. The first shocking part is the size of the place. Outside the store on shelves are often books that are on super sale for only a few dollars. Inside, the space seems to just keep going. Aisles of books of all categories — cooking, art, history, fiction — are all crammed into the few rooms. Along a few walls, there are even records. The staff is super knowledgeable, the prices are low and the selection is massive.
54 N Ferry Rd, Shelter Island, (631) 725-8654
For something old, something new
Burton’s Books, Greenport
For that movie-like bookstore feel, the one where you walk in, sipping on Aldo’s coffee, browsing the shelves with the potential to meet your future spouse, go to Burton’s Books. Although most of the books are new, with a wide selection of fiction, memoires, cookbooks and children’s books, there are a few shelves of second hand books. Some are odd, like a cookbook full of recipes for Hour Magazine, a 1980s talk show. Others are classics, like Gone with the Wind.
43 Front St, Greenport, (631) 477-1161
For artful vintage covers
Antiques and Old Lace, Cutchogue
When you walk in, don’t be overwhelmed by the stacked up antiques and furniture that seem to go all the way to the ceiling. Instead, find your way to the back of this antique store, where the books are, and start browsing. Almost as intriguing as the titles are the beautiful vintage covers. Most are without a book jacket to show off the beautiful embossment of the letters, and will make a pretty decor accent once the reading is done.
31935 Main Rd Cutchogue, (631) 734-6462
For the joy of the hunt
Lydia’s Antiques and Stained Glass, Greenport
There’s no specific book area of this antique store, so you’ll have to do some wandering. But set aside an afternoon, because in between the gorgeous vintage dishware and stained glass are stacks of secondhand books. You’ll likely walk out with more than a few intriguing titles.
215 Main St Greenport, (631) 477-1414