Sunday, January 4, 2009

Weird and Glorious in Baltimore

Atomic Books
3620 Falls Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21211
410.662.4444
http://www.atomicbooks.com/

Nestled in Hampden (a ten minute drive from downtown Baltimore on 83 North) is my favorite bookstore. It is a shining star in light of the cold, hard fact that independent bookstores are a dying breed. This one is going strong because of its niche market that is borderline cult classics and kitsch. There is an amazing collection of magazines that fill up two wall shelves of space. You will find some mainstream titles, but their shelves are plastered with alternative, subversive magazines and zines like Hip Mama, Bitch, Beautiful Decay. They even carry a selection of local zines by area artists and writers. It reminds of living in San Francisco during the hey day of zines when they could be found in every flavor and size in local bookstores.

If you like Japanese figurines that are grumpy, sassy versions of San Rio, this is the place to find, buy it, and order it. My son especially loves the ones you can paint yourself and the glow in the dark baby skeletons. He has this obsession with painting little figurines and Lego guys. Figurines come in many sizes and varieties, but the best ones are the mini-sized versions that you pick blindly like gumball machine trinkets. You pick a box that does not indicate what’s inside and then can trade them or collect them with friend.

There are bundles of subversive craft books as well as a hefty collection of graphic novels and comics. I personally love the movement of domestic arts with a vampy edge. Knitting and sewing are the new way to show off your spunk in style.

Atomic Books reminds me of an orderly explosion of color and toys into an adult wonderland. There are goodies for children too like little toys but also some children’s books of the alternative kind.

If you get on their email list, they will let you know of their new acquisitions and what is on sale. If you have a someone in your life who is hard to shop for, check out their store and online shop. You won't be disappointed. If you haven't figured it out already, the store is an offspring of John Waters, movie cult hero, and you can send his fan mail there too!