Three Lives & Company

Three Lives & Company


Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
Type of Place: Books


Pull yourself out of the wild streets of the West Village and into the cozy little pocket of Three Lives & Company. The small space, sans café and wifi, is a refreshing getaway from most bookstores in NYC these days percolating with joe and Facebook.

The selection here is downright incredible considering how small it is, and if you’re looking for that secret spot where really great writers are reading these days – you’ve found it. I’m talking Toni Morrison, Mark Doty, Maya Angelou and Ntzozake Shange…how’s that for a line up?

On their web site, the store humbly calls itself: “..the shop around the corner. A touchstone in a neighborhood. A place with a human face and a cast of characters.” These statements alone are reminiscent of another time and place never mind stepping into the actual store. It almost feels like the shop is a set for an old movie, with the sales people cast as members of the Algonquin Round Table. It is tidy, aesthetically well-crafted with soothing light and pinewood accents, and the shelves give off a sense that each book has been particularly hand-chosen for our perusal. Even the lack of a “contemporary” receipt method adds to the old-fashioned feeling (upon request, you will be issued a handwritten receipt).

Three Lives carries an impressive array of genres, the larger of which appear to be fiction and poetry; they also have a substantial Women’s Lit selection and you’ll  also find bios, history, books for adults and more. The shop is dotted with a handful of best sellers, but the best part about this bibliophile’s Eden is that they shelve so many titles you’re certain to have never heard of before. The same goes for authors. I have yet to visit Three Lives and not walk out with one or four books I am not looking for. There is nothing I love more than landing a good work on a whim – and when it turns out to be a can’t-put-down, well that’s just the icing.

I’ve been introduced to several writers in this fashion courtesy of this shop, including the quirky Joe Coomer (I bought “Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God”, $14, paperback) and the quirkier Lorna Landvik (I bought “Your Oasis in Flame Lake”, $12.95 paperback).

Pricewise, the shop is run-of-the-mill, meaning it is definitely not overpriced, but it’s not one of those dusty, din-light stores with yellowed paperbacks ticketed with $1 stickers either. Anything you are looking for and can’t find at Three Lives will be cheerily special ordered for you, and if you are purchasing a gift, you can have it wrapped with a unique, tender touch at no cost.

  - Janice Bevilacqua

Three Lives & Company
154 West 10th Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 741-2069