Idlewild Books, located in lower Manhattan off Fifth Avenue, is a reader's delight. Up a flight up stairs, its well-edited selection of travel books is complemented by world literature that is shelved by country alongside the travel guides.
For example, the New York section (which is naturally one of the largest in the bookstore) not only has the wonderfully pictorial DK guides; it also carries Anthony Bourdain's autobiographical Kitchen Confidential and Richard Price's Lush Life, two books that express parts of the real New York traditional travel guides don't dabble in.
Even the Alaska section is enhanced by Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union, a brilliant fictional account of Jewish refugees in that state.
Readers should know that the shop name "Idlewild" doesn't merely refer to flights of imagination its stock may inspire; trivia fans will recall that Idlewild was the original name of New York City's John. F. Kennedy Airport.
Serious readers will appreciate that there is no children's section in this sophisticated bookstore. But there are no comfy chairs to peruse the many fascinating tomes, either. And for better or worse, Idlewild Books does not stock Dummies books.
12 West 19th Street
Between 5th and 6th avenues
New York, NY
Idlewild Books Web Site