Pages with Patel, III: Book Culture

By Nishtha Patel

Via New Vessel Press

Walking into Book Culture (W 81st St. and Columbus Ave), one can get a quick glance of numerous tables filled with various knick-knacks and shelves full of books lining the outer perimeter of the store. But, upon closer inspection, one finds that this store has anything from a pug pillow to a book on LGBT studies. This eclectic collection makes it a place where there is literally something for everyone.

The front of the store displays a seasonal table filled with ghost stories for Halloween with autumnal gifts and décor carefully placed around the books. Journeying around the store, there are shelves and tables filled with anything from the latest fiction and non-fiction releases to an enormous literature collection. One can even find business/econ, science/math, history, sociology, African American studies, and Islamic studies. There is hardly a lack of subjects to peruse through.

In addition to the vast selection of books, Book Culture also features gifts and various décor items. One can find dog figurines, candles, incense, scarves, calendars, stationery, and even hand creams and soaps. It is easy to get lost leafing through books and examining various trinkets—this hip Upper West Side shop has so much to offer.

Ducking into Book Culture on a cold autumn day and examining the filled tables evokes a certain feeling akin to a Nora Ephron film—it is so quintessentially New York. Music plays on the speakers; the singer croons about staying inside on a rainy day. It is only fitting to end a weekend afternoon strolling in Central Park with a visit to this bookstore. Not to mention, it’s the perfect place to browse through books and gifts where you will always find something new that you missed before, making it impossible to leave the store at the time you planned.

Nishta Patel is a Highlighter Staff Columnist. Email her at


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