Downsizing (the good kind) >> Trends I Love, V. 1

Karl Lagerfeld's Off the Record, his personal collection of photos he took from 1986-1994.

When I was little, I spent tons of time at bookstores with my dad.  (I asked my mom recently what I liked to play with when I was little, because I didn't remember having dolls or anything, and she said "you liked to go to bookstores and read." haa).  So I was genuinely sad when small, focused bookstores packed with hand-picked treasures old and new started to die off, and hence, I'm glad they are reemerging (slowly).  Compared to that kind of bookshop, there's nothing magical about exploring a Barnes & Noble-- it's impersonal and sterile.  It's like buying groceries at Walmart vs a farmer's market.

In Williamsburg, High Valley Books is helping to bring back the small bookshop scene with interesting off-the-beaten-path books like these that have long-since been pushed off the shelves of B&N.  With a small selection, you're more likely to find these gems...

A funny little (snobbish, in the fun way) book about "the two kinds of collectors" with chapters like "The Confession of a Collector"

In general, I have to say I love the direction the world is going in as regards mass production (or rather the demise of its popularity).  Everything became SO available (any food any time of year at the grocery, any book on Amazon, etc), and now things are shifting back to local, antique, and handmade.  And stores that focus on curated, carefully selected collections of things. I think I could have a happy life based on farmers markets, old books, and antique textiles, furniture, etc.  Maybe next I'll get into vinyl records?

Kate Spade's Contents, a book of photographs and descriptions of the contents of famous people's handbags.  Love the concept!

So back to the bookstore, it's actually not even really a bookstore, it's better than a bookstore.  It is one guy's personal collection of books about art, fashion, architecture, etc., many of which are out of print or signed, and he has his inventory listed online.

A now rare chronicle of 20th century fashion houses and personalities

You can, by appointment, go to the "store," which is actually more like the front room of his Brooklyn brownstone, stacked floor-to-ceiling with books.  Though there doesn't appear to be an organizational system, you can ask him about any book or author subject, and he'll know exactly where it is.  ...The perfect place to browse on a rainy (or snowy!) day.

PS- these kinds of bookstores are great places to find unique gifts for friends with really specific interests.. I got some great Christmas presents from this one.

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