12 May 2011

By your tote bag shall we know ye

Vol. 1 Brooklyn has a great post today about what your literary tote bag says about you. (Though in my defense, I own and love my Strand tote -- in Spanish! -- and I never went to NYU.)

There is definitely a secret hierarchy of these tote bags. No one respects my Auntie's Bookstore tote, even though it has a lot of sentimental value to me; if I wanted to consciously show off I'd be better off with my Harper Perennial bag. If you carry this, you probably go to a lot of readings in bars. Actually, I went to a HP reading in a bar, so it fits.

I need another tote bag like I need more books in the house, but my next acquisition is likely to be a Greenlight Bookstore tote. If you carry this, this says you roll your eyes violently when people act like traveling to Brooklyn is a hardship. (Guilty.)

But in my mind, the ultimate status book tote is one that can no longer be bought because not only does the original bookstore not exist, the bookstore that bought its name is now out of business (or in deep trouble; I can't remember). I can't even find a picture of this rare bird but here is a photo of the store's old sign:

If you carry a Labyrinth Books tote you have roots on the UWS pre-2005 and you prefer hardcovers to ARCs. Also, I envy you.


Wade Garrett said...

I need a tote for things other than groceries. Greenlight is a strong contender.

Mizuko said...

i have a labyrinth tote from post 2005, new haven, CT. i love it and it's dying. found this while trying to find a replacement. i'm flattered by your commentary about what my bag supposedly says about me. :)

Ellen said...

Wade -- if you can, try to get your hands on one before buying to see how sturdy it is.

Mizuko, I'm glad you are flattered! Hold onto that tote -- if the stitching is going, maybe you can take it in somewhere?

Wade Garrett said...

There used to be a Labyrinth Books in New Haven, CT. Do you know if they were part of the same company?

Ellen said...

They used to be, but aren't any more.

*puts historian glasses on*

Prior to 2007 Labyrinth Books was one company with 2 locations (about 20-25 years old at that point). In 2007 the partnership dissolved, amid intimations of acrimony, with the New Haven store keeping the Labyrinth name and the UWS/Morningside store becoming Book Culture. The New Haven Labyrinth is closing but there is also a location in Princeton now that I think is safe; however, to claim bookstore cred on a Labyrinth tote it would have to have been purchased pre-split.