Top Eleven Favorite Books of Classics Customers 2019

If you want to read what Classics customers say are their favorite books, here they are!


  • Another Country by James Baldwin
  • The Bible
  • Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Soulja
  • Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  • Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson


  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Bookshop on Lafayette Street: stories and poems
  • Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Marquez
  • Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Bookstore People: Poets and Councilwomen

This is part five in my series of cool bookstore people.  Links to the other installments can be found below.

Kenyaa Bullock is a 15 year old student at Trenton High and is a member of two Trenton poetry groups: The Pride and Dreams to Reality.  She comes to Classics every month for the Capital City Open Mic.   You can learn more about Kenyaa’s poetry at

A great Kenyaa poem:

I am stuck in this place where all that I can taste is salt
and all that I can see is black.

My black hole has my life trapped.
Infirm from the distress.
If my heart has been purloined then what’s left?

I’m not too sure of what to believe
so I inhale the bullshit and exhale my self-esteem.

My dark hole slays and I remain recumbent because my dark hole is taking over my soul.
My emotions began to pile up
because the one that saved me from this black hole once won’t do it again.

So hypnotized from all the bullshit lies that these used to be real eyes cannot realize real lies.

So I pour up …drink.
More shots … drink.
The liquor can help block my brain so I won’t…think.
My dark hole has taken my soul.


Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson has been a great friend to Classics.  When business fees went up 600% on Trenton businesses in the middle of a recession, she stepped to the plate and resolved the issue.  She has supported businesses by hosting downtown Social Club events, championing a Buy Local initiative, and serving on the board of the Trenton Downtown Association.  She is also a passionate advocate for kids in Trenton and an ongoing supporter of the  Books at Home Program.

You can learn more about Marge at


Earlier installments of Bookstore People

Activists and Students:

Scrabblers and Playwrights:

Poets and Lawyers:

Scientists and Photographers:


Bookstore People: Poets and Lawyers

This is part two in my series of cool bookstore people.  Here was installment number one.

Yusef Komunyakaa

Soft-spoken and intense, Yusef was a Classics customer for 6 months before I realized he won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1994.  I know that if I won the Pulitzer Prize, my wife would probably have to talk me out of wearing a nametag that reads “I Won the Pulitzer Prize—Ask Me How Great I Am.”  Yusef, on the other hand, might be the humblest guy I ever met, encouraging to young writers and supportive of Trenton’s literary efforts.   When at Classics he can be found unassumingly browsing the stacks, when not engaged in a quiet, earnest discussion with writers and readers.

Though Yusef teaches at New York University, he still makes time to stop in at Classics when he can.  If you can’t meet him at Classics, you should meet him through his poetry.  Start with Neon Vernacular.

My favorite Yusef quote (from Neon Vernacular):  “I am this space my body believes in.”


Mark Walter

Mark has been a Classics customer since before there was a Classics, in the New Hope forerunner–The Book Cellar.  Every Friday night, with few exceptions, Mark drives from New York City where he practices law to Trenton.  He can be found in the back playing Scrabble and cracking terrible puns, walking in the door with Citerella chocolate cake, or browsing the stacks piling up stacks and stacks of Flashman novels, travel books, books about New York, Time and Again and Modesty Blaise, all of which he will share with Scrabble players and other customers. 

In addition to sharing books and chocolate cake, Mark is also happy to share stories about his father, the famed New York pianist Cy Walter.  A friendship struck at Classics with Richard Behrens led to the creation of a fantastic website in his father’s honor.  You should visit it here:

Mark is one of the most generous and genuinely warm people in the world and we are richer for knowing him.

A memorable Mark quote: “Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? He wanted to transcend dental medication.”