At the Door


There’s a bookstore in lower Manhattan called McNally-Jackson that delivers books to your door (if you live in NYC, that is, which, alas, I do not).  I like the idea of spending hours in a bookstore,choosing as many volumes as I want and then not having to worry about carrying them all home.

And I love the idea of having books hand delivered to my home by my local bookstore.  The joy of receiving something I love at the door, the inevitable rapport one would have with the book delivery person, the excitement of rediscovering what I bought a few hours ago.



Not having this option this time around, I only bought two slim books: Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge (I really enjoyed The Housekeeper and the Professor so I’m looking forward to reading this) and Cesar Aira’s Varamo (a ‘Staff Pick’ that looked interesting).

New books in hand, I came across this door about a block away!




83 thoughts on “At the Door

  1. I love bookstores – they are a respite in the busyness of life. When I transitioned out of my career I received a Kobo (the Canadian version of the Kindle). I didn’t think that I would be able to enjoy it as much as going to a bookstore, but I am finding that books come to me immediately and I am able to connect and access a lot of information. The bookstore came to me. But technology doesn’t replace my most favourite place of all – the Vancouver Public Library.

    I love the bike!! Book people are very creative. And the door made me laugh out loud!

    • The immediacy of e-books still surprises me to this day; it is sort of like having a bookstore come right to you, it’s true. I only spent a couple of days in Vancouver quite a few years ago and missed out on the Public Library but I just looked at the images online and it’s quite a sight! It must be something to sit in there and read a book – wow!

  2. Thanks for share another important and interesting post. I like very much bookstores. It’s possible to read some pieces of books. And after purchase some. I think twice after buying a book, because in my house there’s almost no space for them. The same in my office. The e books and e journals and magazines help this place trouble. But I like to feel a book, I like to sense its taste, and i like to have the book. A book is a compannion for myself, and reading is a form of writing and of dialogue with the author. Such a privilege to take some conversation with Cervantes, or Mario Quintana, or Philip Roth. My perception is that art (Sartre does take apart literature from art) is the daily ongoing building and sensing fiction, and fiction I feel as a needed endless lullaby. Perhaps you would like to receive an invitation: I can send at your door my first romance (a short book), entitled ‘O autonauta do bom fim’. This book is much influenced by the work of Cortázar (and his book ‘el cosmonauta na autopista’), Roth and Mario Benedetti, and some elaboration of the reading of the work of Harold Bloom, the great literary criticist. Once more, thanks for share your work, you oeuvre, and let me tell that I appreciate very much your work for the art and for a better lovely world. All the best!

    • It’s true, Walter, the problem with buying books is finding room in one’s home to keep them! There are only so many walls for bookshelves!

      I would love to read your book – I’ll be in touch through email.

    • Hahaha! I knew someone would point this out (and should have known it would be you, Tom!). While I do feel some excitement when a book arrives by post, it’s not the same as having it hand delivered by the local bookstore deliveryman for some reason. A bit like the days of the milkman…

  3. I must go to this book store next week -you made me want to see it with my own eyes…! And the delivery bike- I could be the delivery boy!
    Loved it

  4. I am going to have to find someone who can make me a door plate like that. Would it be seen as flattery or plagiarism to copy it, do you think?

    • I’m not sure which it is but it’s great, I agree! It caught my eye as I walked by (as did the bright red door which is uncommon in that neighborhood) and then I had a good laugh when I read it. If you end up doing it or something similar, do put a photo on your blog as I’d love to see it (great blog by the way!).

  5. Fabulous post as ever, and hasn’t it generated fascinating comments too! The physical book vs e-book debate will always be with us won’t it – the latter is convenient for me as a traveller, but I do find it nice to read the real thing when at home. And as for your bookstore, well it’s another example of individual triumph over big conglomerate, although I can’t be too smug, as a regular user of Amazon! I’m generally with Clanmother, though, on support for libraries as wonderous temples to be visited as often as possible 🙂

    • As long as bookstores continue to exist, then I am happy! I definitely see the convenience of e-readers and love that they have given an avenue for indie writers especially and I’m a fan of Amazon as well. I think there’s a place for everything as long as we support it all.

      Ah, and the joy of a good library…. I completely agree with you on that one!

  6. What a simple idea. It’s probably not economic for the shop but it’s a hook. It harks back to the days when you could ring your order to the butcher and a lad would arrive with it, puffing and panting. Before my time of course 🙂

    • It’s worth a visit. It has two floors and a very friendly staff. It also has a good cafe so you can enjoy a croissant and coffee afterwards and start reading your new books!

  7. Oh, I can see where this would end: a semi-trailer, not a bike, would be delivering crates of books to my door. It’s a sickness. I have Varamo, and had intended to read it late last summer on our trip to Costa Rica. Of course, my reading eyes were bigger than my reading stomach, so it was one of the books I didn’t get to. It’s still on the stack by my bed. Let me know if I should crack it open soon. Thanks!

    And that sign on the door is perfect. I think I need to think of one for our home. 😮

    • You could have your daily crate of books delivered to your door, wouldn’t that be just wonderful, Jilanne? Would be hard to keep up though! I’ll let you know what I think of Varamo’s book after I read it (I’m in the middle of reading Murakami’s multi-volumed 1Q84 so it may be in a while…).

      I laughed when I saw that door sign – it felt very NY to me somehow!

    • Wouldn’t it be great if they shipped it home when we lived abroad as well? At least they can bring it to our hotel so we don’t have to carry the books all around town for the rest of the day.

  8. That is an awesome idea, especially if you buy a lot of books and have even more shopping to do. They can be such a heavy load! Though in all honesty, I love brandishing my book carrier bag proudly for all people to see. 😉

  9. What a great Idea! It would not work here where I live we only have two book stores and the library people just don’t read as much here, it kills me, the other day I was at the doctor’s office and everyone kept asking me if I was school, because I was reading an actual book (not virtual one), when I would say no, they look at me like I was strange (yet they all were playing games in their phones). Anyways, great post and quote too.

    • I seem to be the only one at the doctor’s office with a real book as well. I don’t know if people are losing the habit of carrying a book with them everywhere they go or if they are too nervous to read at the doctor’s office?? I’m glad to hear that you still carry a book with you when you go out- that is good to hear!

  10. Now that is my sort of bookstore! It takes me back to the days of my grandmother when almost everything was delivered to your door. I remember that when my grandmother wanted to buy dresses or shoes she would phone a certain department store and they would send someone to her house with a selection of items from which to choose. That was a normal way to buy goods. Love the sign on the red door.

    • A selection of dresses and shoes at one’s house- how interesting! I would imagine that they would be familiar with her taste and then could alter the clothes right there- what a wonderfully personal shopping experience.

      • Yes, I expect they were, as she had been a customer for a long time. I don’t think she spent a lot of money at that store but she was a loyal customer and she was treated very well. As were others.

  11. I’m one of those people who feels very conflicted about city living vs country living. Periodically I’ll see posts about fabulous things like this and it makes me want to live in the city, That’s about the moment when I listen to the birds, notice the absence of traffic noise, and decide I’m better where I am. Maybe the answer is more jaunts to the city for the interesting stuff…

    • I know what you mean- ideally, it’s great to live in the countryside with occasional visits to a great city. And then there’s the wonderful return home to the green and quiet of the countryside again!

  12. Lovely post Letizia.. and all the comments. Laughed out loud at the notice on the door – even the red of the door suggests that a slightly not normal person might live there…wouldn’t you love to have a peep inside.?.. Books – groan – I’ve run out of bookshelves Again, and there are piles on tables and chairs and on the floor by my bed, as usual !!!

    • I do wonder who lives on the other side of that red door, Valerie – Someone with a witty sense of humour for sure as they put such a funny sign up!

      One day we will be engulfed by all of our books if we are not careful… watch out for all those piles of books that keep on growing!

  13. I love the idea of being able to browse through book stores and then not have to lug the purchases home. Brilliant – although we do not have any such thing here either. PS – I think someone stole my sign. I’m sure that one is meant for me. It’s hilarious.

  14. What a great door! It really makes me wonder who lives there….a clown? A comedian? A librarian? The possibilities are endless. That would be great if no one ever pretended to be normal. Bookstores are some of my favorite places too. In a place like that, it’s probably more likely that a book will pick you instead of the other way around.

  15. You would indeed have a rapport with the delivery person for i would guess you would buy many books and be a regular, you know they won’t be damaged too, unlike internet sellers. Good spot on the door, eyes of a hawk you have, I’ve always said that, why just the other day I was sayin’ to the missus….

    • The red door certainly caught my eye at first as it was the only one in the neighborhood and then, like you I’m sure, I’m always curious by the written word so I walked over to see what the plaque said and then had a good laugh. I’m sure the people living there get that reaction all of the time!

  16. Knowing about bookstores always make me glad. Bookstores are actually closing down where I live and some of the owners complaint to me that people are only buying books that are only about recreation, spirituality etc. When I visit bookstores I see young boys and girls buying books related to exams and all… I think it is hightime we revive the work on ‘reading public’ as the change is inevitable.
    Good post. 🙂

    • Here in the U.S., where I now live, it’s the same unfortunately, Manu. A lot of bookstores are closing down. So whenever I see one I get excited and do my best to support it!

  17. What a great idea! I love local bookstores and used bookstores. I hope big chains like Barnes and Noble won’t run them out of business.

    I noticed on your About Me page that you speak French. I am currently a French student, and I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to some French books I could read in order to learn the language better. Thank you!

    • I know, we need to support our bookstores so they don’t all go out of business!

      As you’ll be reading the French classics in class, I’ll skip those – although you should read Flaubert’s “Trois Contes” if you haven’t already (his short stories – they are gems). Milan Kundera has also written some of his novels in French and I always enjoy reading his works. Nothing else-besides the obvious- is coming to mind right now, but if it does, I’ll let you know on your blog (if/when your French is good enough, you must read Proust, of course). Bonne lecture and thanks for following my blog!

      • Thanks for the reply! I have wanted to try and read some French books for fun, aside from the classics I read/will read in class, so I will be sure to check out your suggestions!

    • You are so right, being surrounded by books is truly comforting, not only visually and aesthetically but also through the memories they evoke. Thanks for dropping by and the thoughtful comment!

  18. I wish I lived near a book store that delivered – wow! And I love that red door and the sign, a entire novel could be written about what could be inside! 😀

Comments are always welcome!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s