8. Brazenhead Books (secret location)
Mysterious in a totally different respect, the only way to access Manhattan’s “secret” bookstore is to know someone who knows someone who knows the bookseller; if not, let’s just say that you’ll need to put in some serious research time in order to get to the information you’ll need to make an appointment to visit the small bookshop, which is stuffed into a little apartment. But lack of space doesn’t make this bookstore any less enchanting; visiting Brazenhead has the exclusive feel of a speakeasy, but Michael, the bookseller who runs the operation, is anything but inaccessible. During our visit, while we browsed the walls full of individual books (he doesn’t buy anything in bulk–instead, Michael buys the books like he sells them, one by one), we found ourselves immersed in an intelligent, lively conversation about everything from life to books to the writers we liked to religion, politics, and human nature. For the few who have had the privilege to visit, Brazenhead often becomes a home away from home. The books are all in wonderful condition, too; I made a great find by Borges on my visit. It might feel like a lot of work trying to find out how to get there, but we like Brazenhead so much that we think it’s definitely worth it.