New bookstore ‘Troubled Sleep’ offers a balm for Brooklyn’s insomniac readers

troubled sleep bookstore
Offering a wide selection of new and used books and music, Troubled Sleep is now welcoming local readers to its new location in Park Slope.
Courtesy of Troubled Sleep/Instagram

There’s a new respite for Park Slope’s sleepless bookworms looking for their next read. “Troubled Sleep,” a new bookstore named after the insomnia taunting many book lovers, the new Sixth Avenue shop provides a wide variety of books for those late hours.   

Tucked between Sterling and Park places, the bookstore welcomes customers with racks of $1 books on the sidewalk outside the front doors, stuffed with reads from “The Fountainhead” to “The Story of Philosophy” andRanger’s Apprentice. 

Inside the aesthetic bookstore, indie rock and avante-pop played softly in the background as readers browsed an extensive collection of books on the pale wooden shelves. The center section offers “Literature from A-Z” including classic works by Fyodor Dostoevsky, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Giorgio Bassani.

bookshelves at troubled sleep books
The new bookshop offers a wide variety of new and used books across genres, and has so far been greeted with great enthusiasm from neighbors. Courtesy of Troubled Sleep/Instagram

“We try not to play into the whole messy used bookstore stereotype,” an employee told Brooklyn Paper. “We try to be organized.” 

Split by genre, the store is indeed organized. The history segment is aptly categorized as “New York,” “Rest of the Stupid Country,” and “Rest of the Stupid World.” The well-stocked art section includes portions for art, art theory, photography, modern and premodern, crafts, fashion, and artistic instruction. Choosing between beloved children’s books like Harry Potter and Harriet the Spy, volumes on religion, science, poetry, and food, Brooklyn bibliophiles are almost sure to find something to satisfy their literary cravings.

“That’s really neat,” one collector remarked as they browsed the music selection.“You have a wide range. It’s nice to see small bookstores coming back. I’m sure you hear that every day.” 

Indeed, that is a sentiment shared by many customers in the week since Troubled Sleep opened its doors.

“Welcome to the neighborhood,” said one shopper. “I want to live here,” said another, “In a place covered in books like this.” 

While the employee explained to Brooklyn Paper the reason for opening the bookstore, a family passing by gasped and excitedly asked, “When did this open here?”

“That’s the reason why,” he quipped. “The communal response has been amazing. We appreciate the enthusiasm. In our minds, if no one’s thrown paint at us or chased us with pitchforks yet, that’s good enough!” 

The cozy shop is part of a well-loved community of indie bookstores in Brooklyn — the borough’s beloved Books Are Magic is preparing to open a second location in Brooklyn Heights in October, and Troubled Sleep is also within walking distance of Community Bookstore in Park Slope and the two Greenlight Bookstore locations in Fort Greene and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Plus, New York’s largest free literary festival, the Brooklyn Book Fair, returns on Sept. 25.

Customers sans paint and pitchforks have been streaming in right up until the store closes for the night. Greeted by helpful and approachable staff, customers shared their tastes and asked for recommendations as they browsed the shelves. Troubled Sleep, which is owned by the same collective that owns Book Thug Nation in Williamsburg and Codex in Manhattan, according to TimeOut, also buys used books — unlike most of its nearby competition, who traffic mostly in new volumes.