Pages with Patel: Three Lives & Company

By Nishtha Patel

via NYCGO

Three Lives & Company is a West Village haven for book lovers. Situated on the corner of West 10th Street and 7th Avenue, its bright red doors welcome the curious and the regulars alike. Stepping in, the smell of crisp, new books wafts through the air as bright lights illuminate the impressive collection of books. One can see the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, spanning from the front to the back, housing numerous paperbacks and hardcovers.

What makes this bookstore stand out is its large selection. In the front, there are new releases, both hardcover and paperback. Next to that is a table displaying “Staff Favorites.” And in the back, there are various books about New York, gardening, and memoirs. There are also a large number of shelves featuring mostly fiction, then some poetry, nonfiction, and an incredible selection of travel guides lining the walls. No visible order by genre can be seen as the employees encourage questions and communication.

Most interesting is that all of these books are the latest editions. Even classics have the brand new, sleek Penguin covers. One can find anything from “A Song of Ice and Fire” series to the newest edition of “Les Misérables.” As soon as you enter, the eclectic selection is apparent. However, don’t worry if they don’t have a book you’re looking for because the employees are more than happy to order it for you!

It is this personal care that makes Three Lives stand out from its counterparts. Through an interesting fusion, you get the freshness and modernity of the corporate chains with the charm of an independent shop. The employees are very passionate about books. They even stand around talking to each other about literature when they aren’t helping someone locate a book or chatting with the regulars about their days. Every customer gets a friendly greeting from one of the people who are constantly re-shelving and reorganizing the displays.

At Three Lives, you won’t find anything second-hand or the musty smell of old books. But it still has that friendly quality and charisma which is reflected in the way employees and customers share a deep fondness for books. Perhaps it is this appeal that has allowed Three Lives & Company to endure since 1968.

Nishtha Patel is a contributing writer. Email her at books@nyunews.com.

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