Add the Latest Picks to Your Summer Reading List at Two Downtown Bookstores 

05/20/2024 in
Add the Latest Picks to Your Summer Reading List at Two Downtown Bookstores 

Nothing says summer like lounging in the sun with a good book. Whether you prefer the latest BookTok pick or a can’t-put-it-down mystery, you can grab your next read at one of the numerous bookstores or libraries in Lower Manhattan. And while you’re shopping, be sure to scope out some bookworm-friendly events to add to your calendar, with summer readings, book club meetings and other events on tap all season.

McNally Jackson’s Seaport location at 4 Fulton St. hosts several readings and book clubs each week. Some of the upcoming readings at McNally Jackson include Jesse McCarthy presents “The Blue Period: Black Writing in the Early Cold War,” in conversation with Vinson Cunningham on May 28 and Sara B. Franklin presents “The Editor: How Publishing Legend Judith Jones Shaped Culture in America,” in conversation with Angela Garbes on May 29; both events are at 6:30 p.m. RSVPs are required.

McNally Jackson Books at 4 Fulton St.

If you’re looking to meet other book lovers, McNally Jackson’s book clubs should be added to your social calendar. The next book club meeting at the Seaport location is McNally Jackson After Hours: “The Talented Mr. Ripley” on May 31 at 7 p.m.. Rather than a sit-down discussion, attendees are invited to mingle at the Seaport beer and wine bar (yes, there’s a bar within the bookstore) and discuss The Talented Mr. Ripley, which the shop calls “the perfect book to kick off the summer.” If you can’t make it on May 31 — or if your taste trends towards the unusual — you’ll want to RSVP instead for Enzo & Morgan’s Batsh*t Book Club which is hosted by two of the shop’s booksellers who “delight in the decadent, the debased, and the degenerate.” The next meeting is on June 14 at 7 p.m. and attendees will discuss Sadeq Hedayat’s “Blind Owl”.  RSVPs for both upcoming book clubs are required. 

The Alliance asked the Seaport location’s staff for summer reading recommendations. Bookseller Mikaela suggested  “Swimming in Paris” by Colombe Schneck, sharing “This collection of novellas reminds me of all my (and your) faves: Rachel Cusk, Deborah Levy, and Annie Ernaux. More than anything it calls to mind Joan Didion’s description of womanhood as ‘that sense of living one’s deepest life under water, that dark involvement with blood and birth and death’. What a gift to be underwater with Colombe Schneck.” Another rec from bookseller Grady is “All Fours” by Miranda July, which is “the perfect summer read to evoke laughter, catharsis, and ugly-crying on public transportation. Intimate, unique, true; Miranda’s still got it.” And if you’ve entered the stage of life where all your friends (and okay, maybe even you) are running marathons, bookseller Abby recommends “Running”  by Lindsey A. Freeman. She shared, “I love books about running. Am I a runner? No. Are you? You’ll like this book. You’re not? You’ll like this book.” 

If you prefer listening to audiobooks, McNally Jackson has a partnership with Libro.fm that allows you to purchase audiobooks directly through the bookstore.

Another bookstore in the neighborhood worth checking out is the Mysterious Bookshop (58 Warren St.). Open since 1979, it’s the oldest mystery specialist book store in America. Here, you’ll find rare books, new mystery hardcovers, paperbacks and periodicals. Bookseller Mike Durell shared with the Alliance that some of the most popular picks lately include “The Instruments of Darkness” by John Connolly, “City In Ruins” by Don Winslow and The Serial Killer’s Apprentice” by Katherine Ramsland and Tracy Ullman.

The Mysterious Bookshop at 58 Warren St.

Mystery lovers will also want to add a few of the bookshop’s upcoming events to their calendar. Susan Elia MacNeal will be in conversation with Mariah Fredericks about MacNeal’s book “The Last Hope” on June 4th at 6 p.m. On June 26 at 6 p.m., Riley Sager will be in conversation with Clay McLeod Chapman about Sager’s book, “Middle of the Night.”  Details on these and other events can be found here or by subscribing to the Mysterious Bookshop mailing list. 

The Mysterious Bookshop also offers Crime Clubs, subscription clubs that give readers access to signed first editions from the best crime-and-mystery authors each month. Get it for yourself to ensure you’ve always got a compelling read on hand, or for your friend who is obsessed with mystery books. 

In addition to the neighborhood’s bookstores, you can grab some of your summer reads at the New York Public Library, which has both the Battery Park City location (175 North End Ave.) and the New Amsterdam location (9 Murray St.). There are plenty of upcoming events at both locations, including Walking Book Club, NYPLs Books We Love Book Club, Creative Writing class and a Plant Swap/Seed Share

main photo: McNally Jackson Seaport (left), The Mysterious Bookshop (right)

Tags: mcnally jackson, summer reading, the mysterious bookshop

Related articles

Bloomin’ Fun-ion: Where to Celebrate Bloomsday in Lower Manhattan
Bloomin’ Fun-ion: Where to Celebrate Bloomsday in Lower Manhattan

June 16 is James Joyce's special day! Here's what to do (that doesn't involve reading a 732-page book).

All the World’s a Stage Downtown, With Two Free Shakespeare Plays This Summer 
All the World’s a Stage Downtown, With Two Free Shakespeare Plays This Summer 

You can see "Macbeth" and "Henry IV" for free this summer.

Sashay Your Way to PAC NYC for “Cats: The Jellicle Ball”
Sashay Your Way to PAC NYC for “Cats: The Jellicle Ball”

It's the crossover event of the summer you didn’t know you needed.