New Carroll Gardens bookstore opens and people love it

Staff picks: Books Are Magic’s manager Christien Shangraw shows off some books during the store’s opening day on May 1.
Brooklyn Paper
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The next chapter begins!

Independent bookstore Books Are Magic opened in Carroll Gardens on Monday, filling the void left by the closure of beloved story shop BookCourt, and locals are pumped they can finally check out their new neighbor.

“It’s a really nice, warm, comforting, and welcoming place so we’re super excited it’s here,” said Carroll Gardens resident Raquel Frechette, who bought three books on her inaugural visit.

Brooklyn novelist Emma Straub and her husband Michael had long been dreaming of opening their own store and were given a golden opportunity for Books Are Magic when BookCourt’s owners announced they were shuttering the cherished staple in December.

Shelves from the old Cobble Hill store line the aisles, housing selections including reads by local authors, obscure titles, and kids books.

And Frechette is already planning on taking her two youngsters to Books Are Magic for afternoons of reading.

“I can definitely see us going regularly and seeking it out as a destination,” she said.

The Straubs brought in staff from bookstores across the borough such as Fort Greene’s Greenlight and Barnes and Noble, impressing one visitor with their congenial personalities.

“The people who worked there seemed very friendly and nice,” said Andrew Schlager, who popped into the shop on a visit from Queens.

Books Are Magic replaces a high-end women’s clothing store and is a welcome addition to a neighborhood that has been increasingly taken over by national chains and pricey dud shops, said Frechette.

“A lot of the things that have been closing are beloved places that are replaced with things we already have, a lot of chains, or things that have less mom and pop personalit­ies,” she said. “I think people are excited that something we really wanted opened up.”

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 11:18 am, May 5, 2017
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