Pages with Patel, IX: Mast Books

By Nishtha Patel, Contributing Writer

Now that fall weather has decided to come at us full force, it’s the perfect time to seek refuge from the cold and duck into a bookshop. And why not make Mast Books (Avenue A and E 5th St.) your first stop?

At first, it’s not apparent that this bookshop houses so many niche interest books and a wide selection of fiction. The minimalistic design has packed shelves outlining the entire perimeter of the store, making an almost perfect square. There are only two tables in the center and a bookshelf full of poetry. With no labels specifying the genre, you really have to work for it by digging deeper to unearth the treasures lurking beneath.

As one of the few remaining used bookstores in the area, Mast Books features a selection of curated books with anything from rare children’s books to literary fiction. However, the most impressive aspect is the collection of art and poetry books, ranging from the Art of Flower Arranging to Ezra Pound’s cantos.

This is not a typical bookstore, though you can find all of Haruki Murakami’s books and the latest Philip Roth. Mast Books caters more to niche interests whether it is poetry, you can be sure to find something in the overflowing poetry shelf, or art, whether you like fashion or photography. Yet, you probably won’t find a standard book on Monet’s impressionist paintings, but rather, “The Futurist Cookbook” or “The Art of Weaving.”  

And one of the most notable features is that this is one of the few bookstores in New York City that displays a carefully curated selection, which reflects the owner’s own taste. Walking into this intimate space — a room full of personal recommendations — there is always something new to discover.  

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