Bluestockings Bookstore

Bluestockings Bookstore


Neighborhood: Lower East Side
Type of Place: Books

I arrived at Bluestockings recently not only to shop but to watch and
listen: The shop was screening the anti-consumerism documentary "What
Would Jesus Buy," followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers--including
local activism icon Reverend Billy, who "preaches" against the urge to
aquire more and more stuff. Wait a second, you might say. Isn't this a
store? What's it doing featuring a program that questions, even mocks, the
concept of shopping? But Bluestockings is not your typical consumerist
mecca. It's the kind of place we figure we'll find when we move to New
York: unique, opinionated, energetic, and aggressively intelligent. It
announces itself not only as store but as a Fair Trade Cafe and an
Activist Center; and it's the type of spot that's got to be deliberately
supported in an age of expanding chains and McCondos all over the city.

After the presentation, I bought a slice of honey-sweetened nut cake
and browsed the shelves after munching it down. Some titles start from
the ground floor of activism (like "A Beginner's Guide to Changing the
World," by Isabel Losada); others, like "Tools for Radical Democracy," by
Joan Minieri and Paul Getson, might assume an existing level of
information. Veganism is such a popular topic here that both "Everyday
Vegan," by Jeani-Rose Atchison, and "The Everyday Vegan," by Dreena Burton,
are in stock. (Hey, if there's an audience for both, then why not? And
if you're working on a similar tome, the title "Veganism Everyday" may
still be open.) For the theoretically oriented, there's "Pretend We're
Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture," by Analee Newitz, or
"Female Masculinity," by Judith Halberstam. Not the books you'll see
everyone reading on the beach--but it's interesting to think of what our
society would be like if they were.

Drop in to Bluestockings for a cup of fair-trade coffee, a film or
discussion, a reading, or just some titles that'll expand your thinking. (I
may have to scoop up that "Capitalist Monsters" book, to see if the
author means that someone like Gordon Gecko from "Wall Street" is a
monster or that a monster like Godzilla is a capitalist...!) Mindless
consumerism this isn't; but mindful purchases and critical, or even
enlightened, thinking can exist side by side.

  - Pamela Grossman; March 2, 2008

Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen St (nr Stanton)
New York, NY 10002
(212) 777-6028