The WORD bookstore bestseller list, annotated
It’s been almost nine months since we last visited WORD, the teeny Greenpoint bookstore with an expertly curated selection of titles and an Oh, let's pick up a novel for the weekend, honey vibe. That's enough time to have a baby, which, it seems to me, is what much of Greenpoint did.
The shop’s number one seller for the week was Craig Thompson’s Habibi, the 670-page, Zadie Smith-blurbed comic. Following two orphans through a wasteland as they unlock the meaning of life, Thompson’s follow up to 2003’s bestselling Blankets appeals to the adult comics type who camped out to buy Charles Burns’ Xed Out last year, but also to a broader audience: Habibi is substantial and well reviewed enough to end up in the neighborhood's many Nina Totenbags.
Because she too once knew the horror of the G train commute, former bard of Clinton Hill Patti Smith is on the list as well. The conditioner-averse punk goddess’ memoir, Just Kids, lands at number two, although her recent collaboration with the newly unemployed Michael Stipe, released by Brooklyn’s own Akashic, has not yet seen sales spike.
Since dreams are important along bustling Franklin Street, parents and children alike can fill their heads with them thanks to the third and fourth bestsellers of the week. For the grown-ups with that Kings County cooking bug, it’s the first issue of Lucky Peach, Momofuku mastermind David Chang’s absolutely gorgeous and bad-ass, ramen-themed magazine. A collaboration with McSweeney’s, the mag has contributions from Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl and Little Italy’s own dreamboat, Rich Torrisi. For the tykes, it’s Adam Gamble’s Count To Sleep NYC, which teaches the fine art of counting to 10 with the help of Gotham landmarks. Chances are junior will ace his numbers before mom and pop master Chang’s chicken noodle soup.
With significantly less of neighboring Williamsburg’s addiction to novelty, slower-paced Greenpoint has made The Magicians, Lev Grossman’s 2010 tale of conjurers who take Manhattan, the store’s fifth bestselling title—and not The Magician King, the sequel released in August of this year. Another vintage piece on the list? No. 6, Column McCann’s New Yorky and self-consciously great 2009 National Book Award Winner Let The Great World Spin. Greenpoint reads the book when Greenpoint is ready to read the book, dammit.
Indeed, one gets the feeling that The Hunger Games comes in at No. 7 not because Greenpointers want to get a jump on the mania surrounding the forthcoming movie, but because they're just now getting to the book that everyone's going on and on about.
Greenpoint’s crafty side is rather obvious to anyone who’s cruised the streets full of Etsy-festooned freelancer types or shopped at treasured Manhattan Avenue junk store The Thing, where someone’s always buying something for an art project. It’s also rather apparent in the high sales numbers of Keri Smith’s adult activity guide Finish This Book, which would make the cutest ever thing to complete at a blizzard weekend sleepover hosted by Miranda July and a guy who runs a baking blog.
Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell’s perennially popular cut-up, snags the penultimate spot on the top 10. “Melvillean high-seas drama to California noir and dystopian fantasy,” exclaimed The New Yorker. “I’m going to read this over a pint at nearby bar The Pencil Factory while I wait for my OKCupid date,” said everyone who bought the book here.
And because most people in Greenpoint didn’t actually grow up until recently—it’s an adult crowd in these parts, but not in a F-train Brooklyn kind of way—everyone’s still interested in Sex at Dawn. The book. It’s by Christopher Ryan and explores monogamy’s relationship to human nature. It’s also a way to keep us guessing what we’ll find around WORD in another nine months.