A Southern Bookstore Serving Up a Little Bit of Everything


RICHMOND, Va. — “The joke was that when we opened up, we had three Civil War books,” said Ward Tefft, owner of Chop Suey Books, “But we’re in Richmond so we see a lot more now, and it’s grown since then.” Since it first opened 17 years ago, the store has grown more than just its local history holdings, and has become a well-stocked stop for book lovers strolling the vibrant Carytown district of Virginia’s capital (and former capital of the Confederacy). As described on its website, Chop Suey Books offers “gently used literature, art, photography, architecture, design, philosophy, poetry, theater, film and the like” volumes.

The Children’s Room is organized chronologically from expectant-parent guides to board books to picture books and all the way around to the young-adult titles. The walls of the room are decorated with brightly painted murals of the store’s cat having fantasy adventures, but other whimsical bits turn up elsewhere around the store — including a large stuffed pink unicorn perched atop a shelf of adult memoirs and biographies.

The second floor also houses the store’s Fiction Room. “This is our most popular room,” said Tefft, who said he’s tried to make the literary-fiction titles for sale there inclusive and representative of different points of view. “We try to get a strong international selection, African-American and indigenous authors.”



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