163 Court St.
BookCourt is Cobble Hill's premiere independent bookstore, purveyors of the printed word since owners Henry Zook and Mary Gannett opened the shop in 1981; by 1996, their enterprise had expanded to the basement and into the building next door. Today, son Zack helps manage the store, taking his part in a time-honored family tradition that's thriving despite the looming Barnes & Noble nearby. Ripe with character and personality, BookCourt is a world apart from a corporate marketer's generic idea of what a bookstore should be. Though small, the shop boasts a strong selection of non-fiction and fiction, with local authors, not all as famous as prodigal son Jonathan Lethem, particularly well-represented. The store is great for kids, too—there's a whole room for children's books, and a good selection of tomes for toddlers, teens, and in-betweens. In the evenings, expect poetry readings or events sponsored by indie publishing houses, including Brooklyn's own Soft Skull Press, along with readings by mainstream hitters like Frank McCourt. Book Court also holds several school fundraisers and other community events throughout the year.