It is immediately evident that Atticus Bookstore Cafe is run by booksellers with good taste. Each bookseller has a shelf to display his or her recommended books. I found two shelves that had several of my favorite books causing me to be very intrigued by their other choices. If I liked two novels on one shelf, what are the odds that I’ll like the others? It felt like Amazon’s “if you liked this book, then you’ll like that one” but live rather than computer generated. The store has a nice selection of fiction and non-fiction in a smattering of topics. Watching a woman pick up and consider books on the paperback fiction table, I couldn’t help myself and steered her to The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Hand-selling that book to random customers I see in stores is becoming a hobby.
Someone on staff is clever. Scattered throughout the bookshelves are the occasional shelf with just a few books faced front forward and each with its own shelf talker. Pictured here is of the science display (I’d like to note, I can’t even remember the last time I saw a display of science books in a store), one shelf talker says “Get Lost,” another “Physics as Adventure” and a third “Art Defining Science.” I’m a terrible reader of science books, but this quirky display caused me to pause and look at them.
I have a new standard for judging the community quotient of an independent bookstore-does its customers send in home movies? On the front page of the Atticus Bookstore Cafe website is a link to a “customer’s” first steps. Why didn’t I think to take my kids to a bookstore to learn to walk?
With about half the space dedicated to the bookstore and half to the cafe, this indie with a cool vibe smells like wonderful food. It’s a great place to stop by and stay awhile in New Haven.
1082 Chapel St.
New Haven, CT