I dropped in on the glorious West Village bookshop Three Lives & Company recently to interview owner Toby Cox for an upcoming story in WestView. What a fantastic place. The shop is 31 years old, and Toby has owned and run it since 2002. He’s kept intact the friendly and cozy vibe of the little shop on the corner of Waverly Place and West 10th Street, as well as the store’s reputation as one of the best-curated selections of reading material in Manhattan.
Toby and his staff of four are all avid readers, and put me on to reading French novelist Jean Echenoz’s Running, a slim, sardonic and elegantly written book about the life of Czech long-distance runner Emil Zátopek. Now they are thinking about some suggestions for Son, whose tastes run from José Saramago to Leslie Gelb.
“We all talk about the idea of a parallel lives, and how we wish we had one, where we could just sit and read all day,” Toby told me. That would be super efficient: our busy self--the one scratching out a living in the real world and dealing with dental appointments and social obligations—would gain peace of mind knowing that our contemplative self was reclining and reading all the books that we once despaired of getting to. As Toby put it, “there just isn’t enough time.”