After Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, 29, graduated from New York University with an English degree in 2001, she did what she was supposed to do, which was land a coveted job as an editorial assistant at a major publishing house.
She cried every day.
It wasn’t that Ms. Stockton Bagnulo did not love books enough. She loved them too much. Writing book-jacket copy from a cubicle, sorting files, “I felt so far from the things we were making,” she recalled.
Longing for the part-time job she had in college, at Three Lives, an independent bookstore in the West Village, Ms. Stockton Bagnulo returned to working there on weekends to cheer herself up. At some point she realized that graduate school in creative writing was not the answer (which was good, because she didn’t get in anywhere). “Gradually,” she said, “it dawned on me that the big, important thing I wanted to do was open a bookstore.”