In the Jersey suburbs, a bookstore whose vibe is pure Narnia

Montclair Book Center is 35 years old, going on eternity. A ramshackle throwback to a funkier, more literary time, the store has shelves handmade from raw lumber. And its customers and clerks are often just as eccentric as the shelves. I’ve been shopping and snooping there since 1995 and still haven’t exhausted all of this biblioscape’s labyrinths and warrens — some of which, I suspect, lead to C.S. Lewis’ Narnia or Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast. Stuffed with hundreds of thousands of bestsellers, worst sellers and everything in between, the store is a haven where you can ferret out that certain book (or vinyl record) you don’t know you need until you see it. I’ve stumbled across Italo Calvino limited editions, a hardcover of William Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch,” and a stash of musty, black-and-white comics

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