Cedar Lane Bookstore Offers An Escape
20,000 Titles Fill The Shelves At Brier Rose Books
You have to love an old bookstore. There's just something to a bookstore that has old books on older, wooden bookshelves, most forgotten or ignored completely by the population. The store has comfortable feel to it, a great spot to escape from the outside world and friendly talk with a sole proprietor.
Yes, I know the big bookstores are the rage nowadays perhaps, but I'm also here to declare that, if you want your love of history and books, and affection for literature, reciprocated, Howard Rose is the guy to see. Twelve years ago he opened Brier Rose Books (450 Cedar Lane, 201-836-5500). It's the only remaining independent used book store in Bergen County.
"You can get lost in here," Rose says with a smile, and he's not kidding. His store contains 20,000 shelved books and 80,000 more in storage. The local history and Revolutionary War buff knew what he wanted -- "I created it, I envisioned it, and I knew the exact layout."
"My store isn't just about old and rare books. There are collectibles and general reading books at better than reasonable prices," Rose said.
Brier Rose Books is also home to the $1.00 pocket book. Where else in paperback can you find a half dozen Vonnegut and Vidal titles? And artifacts, antiques…"I like things that are interesting to me, and I hope others find them interesting too."
Rose, whose store is open Tuesday through Sunday, except Mondays and holidays, is active in the Teaneck community. He is a member of "Teaneck Comes Together" committee, and was chairperson of the the Cedar Lane Improvement District. He takes one regular day off a week, and what does he do with that day? "Read," he grins.
Rose calls his shop a different world. Nothing can match it, especially the big, modern bookstores ("Modern is retail," Rose agrees). This is entering and finding a different world at your fingertips, some of it lower, higher, or at eye level, out of nowhere finding a book with an attractive dust jacket, nice title, a "couple of years" old and older, all set to read.
"You're looking at things you've never seen before," says Rose, "with a topic, title you've never heard of or of great interest to you."
Father John of local Saint Marks Church stops in every several weeks. On this day, he was sitting in one of a few easy chairs Rose provides in the middle of his store, waiting as Rose packaged his purchase.
"I've purchased copies, dust jackets – I just love coming here," Father John said.
His exuberance is matched by my daughter and I, and we both make purchases – for her: a few theater books, and an antique copy of one of Sir Walter Scott's Waverly Novels. She loves the look of the leather-bound book. Rose, who started out as a reader, became a collector, and now is a dealer, tells us why. "Books are tactile – you literally and figuratively get into it when you hold it." He also gives us a lesson in hold to properly hold a book, turn the pages, and more.
Truth be told, when you enter Brier Rose Books, the opportunity is there to spend just $1.00, or even several hundred dollars. For Rose, it's simple. "I like to promote a situation where you buy a bag full of books without emptying your wallet."
At Brier Rose Books the shopping experience is about much more than buying. It's about stepping into, as Rose says, a different world.