My Favorite Things: Head House Books Owner Richard De Wyngaert

The owner of Society Hill's coolest book shop shares his favorite things (and his reading list!).


My days are not terribly typical. I’m an early riser, driven by my puppy, Arnold, a French bulldog. I live in Society Hill with my family — I have a wife and three children. // We have this mushroom growth of great cafes everywhere. I start my morning at Bodhi Coffee or Milk & Honey. [1] P.S. & Co. — I wish I had designed this place! It’s so beautiful and yet rough around the edges. // I always wanted a bookstore; it was one of my dreams. I wanted to be a pitcher, too, but that was never going to happen. I love playing [2] baseball, and I love watching baseball. I’m a southpaw. // One of the [3] books that I love to sell to people is called Shantaram. It’s very philosophical, but it turns like a John Grisham novel. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes is the longest 100-page book you’ll ever read. Straight Man is the funniest book I’ve read. // [4] The Athenaeum of Philadelphia is one of the multiple Philadelphia gems about which too few people know. Walking in there is like going back in time: the structure, the literature, the paintings, the furniture. // A favorite living Philadelphia artist is Tremain Smith. I usually try to fit time into my day to sketch. I’m always doing self-­portraits in watercolor. // It’s a great Philadelphia story, [5] Di Bruno Bros. They have the best cheese. When I have a guest for dinner, I always go there. We rely on Bacchus Market & Catering when throwing a party. // [6] Sugarcube has great vintage-looking clothes and exquisite taste. And I love Art in the Age and Benjamin Lovell Shoes. // There’s a sort of visceral recognition of the importance of independent business to a city. I actually think it’s a great time to be in the book business.

All photography by Courtney Apple. Originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.