Satisfy your craving for new reads with selects from this New York City landmark

In 2004, McNally Jackson first opened its doors in the New York neighborhood of Nolita and has been serving the diverse readers of the Big Apple ever since. With two floors of books and a cozy cafe, there truly is something for everyone, which is what has kept this shop at the center of Manhattan’s literary culture.

“I believe that within every great reader there are multitudes of people. And you have to open yourself to all of them. I love British chick lit and I love Proust. Don’t judge yourself!…,” says Sarah McNally, who founded the store 10 years ago with her then-husband Christopher Jackson.


McNally’s mindset can be seen in every aspect of the store — from in-store book clubs focusing on everything from Spanish language reads to poetry, to the events that take place almost every day. There’s even an on-demand book printer named the Espresso Book Machine that makes sure no request goes unaddressed.

Check out what Matt Pieknik, McNally Jackson’s Director of Marketing, selected for The Aesthete, and pull up a chair.


ART: Wade Guyton: Black Paintings by John Kelsey

With this publication, American painter Wade Guyton brings his conception of painting and its reproducibility to the book format. He first had the volume designed, then printed it on the same ink-jet printers he uses for his large-format serial prints on canvas; these pages were then scanned and printed by offset. It’s like holding an actual Wade Guyton canvas in your hands.


CULTURE: Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed: Conversations with Paul Cronin by Paul Cronin

Whether you’ve seen all of his films or not (let’s face it, there’s more Herzog films than Beatles repackagings), this collection of Herzog talks is essential reading. Herzog discusses film in general and his craft in particular, but also creativity, derring-do, and resistance to despair. The result is simultaneously philosophical, humorous, intimate, and inspirational. Consider it a 21st response to Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet.


STYLE: The Glass of Fashion by Cecil Beaton

“The camera will never be invented that could capture or encompass all that he actually sees,” Truman Capote once said of Cecil Beaton. First published in 1954, The Glass of Fashion is a classic—an invaluable primer on the history and highlights of fashion from a man who was a chronicler of taste, featuring timeless insights into the fashion’s definitive moments from the likes of Chanel, Balenciaga, and Dior.


DESIGN: Eames: Beautiful Details by Eames Demetrios

“Take your pleasure seriously,” said Charles Eames. The husband and wife team, among the great designers of the 20th century, are best known for their furniture design, but this book also presents their playful, innovative, and experimental work in the realms of architecture, graphic design, textile design, toys, photography, and film.


FOOD: Mexico: The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte

As its sweeping title suggests, Mexico is much more than instructions for Thursday Taco and Margarita Night; it’s a landmark in cookbook publishing. It features over 600 recipes from every region of Mexico alongside beautiful full-color photos of the country, its people, and their cuisine. It also includes an exhaustive bibliography, glossary of ingredients, a list of international retailers that supply ingredients, and a section of signature dishes curated by a selection of the world’s most renowned masters of Mexican cuisine.

Visit McNally Jackson at 52 Prince St, New York, NY.

Photos of the store by Yvonne Brooks, courtesy of McNally Jackson. 

“Word Up” is a new weekly column that provides book lovers with the best reads, chosen by cultural influencers and independent bookstores across the country.