Philadelphia’s Passyunk Avenue appears from nowhere, cutting diagonally from Queen’s Village through South Philadelphia. Following it, you get a cross-section of old and new Philadelphia. Historical row houses bump shoulders with condos. Family businesses coexist with hot new restaurants, boutiques, and local markets. Regardless of changes to the community is the neighborhood feel of Passyunk Square. One thing, however, was missing: a bookstore. While Philadelphia has an assortment of independent and box store bookstores, local couple Christina Rosso-Schneider and Alex Schneider, saw a gap. At the start of December, their store, A Novel Idea, opened on 1726 E. Passyunk, preparing their community for a new year full of literary treatures, local art, and events aimed to bring the community together. On a brisk but beautiful day, we sat in their store talking about some of our favorite things: Scholastic book sales, cozy spaces, and the joys of loitering.

More… “An Open Bookstore”

Melinda Lewis has a PhD in American Culture Studies. She knows more celebrity gossip than basic math and watches too much television.



The best birthday present I ever received was for my 8th birthday. It was The Audubon Book of Birds, an oversized volume full of colored plates with birds of every imaginable variety. I have no idea why my parents bought this for me; I had never shown an interest in birds. Regardless, the book was a source of intense joy. It wasn’t the birds — though I’ve since learned that the illustrations are greatly admired in ornithological circles. It was the fact of the book itself. It was so…substantial. Here I was, a mere 8 years old, suddenly possessed of this enormous tome. I knew nothing about birds, but with this book I would know a lot. It was thrilling.

And so began my romance with books. I became proud to be a bookworm. I knew I could… More…