The Ivy Bookshop is an independent literary bookstore, carrying a broad range of titles with an emphasis on new fiction, non-fiction, biography, art, interior design, cooking and children’s books. Our booksellers are knowledgeable and friendly, ready to recommend based on your personal preferences. We are locally owned and have a deep interest in promoting the community and its organizations.
One observer said of The Ivy:
The best bookstores are just wide enough and deep enough to get lost in thought but not in aisles. They contain the best I-should-have-reads and the I-can’t-wait-to-reads in any section from Art to Zen, from Achebe to Zweig, tantalizing and titillating the fortunate reader. The best booksellers are literate personal shoppers, mind readers, therapists, and bartenders (non-judgmental advice without the booze). The best readers trust that every book that crosses the shop threshold has been vetted by a dependable gatekeeper. These readers are open to the unfamiliar suggested by that you-really-know-what-I-like bookseller.
The Ivy Bookshop, voted “Baltimore’s Best Bookstore” by Baltimore Magazine and Baltimore City Paper, is open seven days a week. We offer free gift wrapping of any purchase, and shipping is available. One Ivy customer said it best: “I stop at The Ivy after work for my happy hour.”
Ann Berlin has been in publishing since 1975, when she became an editor on The American Mineralogist, a geological journal, housed at the time at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. She has spent the past 20 years heading up the Production Department in the Higher Education Division of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Ann is a native of Salt Lake City, Utah. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Utah and an MBA from New York University.
Ann recently enjoyed Jonathan Tropper's One Last Thing Before I Go and Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies. She and Ed are both fans of Dan Fesperman and Alan Furst.
Lead Bookseller, New Fiction
Literary fiction and memoir specialist, Shirley received her BA in American Literature from the University of Pittsburgh, and her MA in Fiction Writing from Johns Hopkins University. After raising four children, gardening, sewing, reading, and writing, she found one of her true passions as a bookseller at The Ivy. The other was her husband Arthur whom she met and married in The Ivy’s aisles.
Elizabeth Phelan earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in professional writing from Towson University, as well as an English-language teaching certificate from The International Language Centre in Paris. She is also a registered nurse. A bibliophile, Elizabeth prefers nineteenth and twentieth-century American and European literature and health, science, and spirituality nonfiction. She considers herself a grammar geek and would actually enjoy diagramming a sentence.
Book Advisor, Art, Architecture and Interior Design
Art, architecture, photography, science, and new fiction/non-fiction are all areas under Nancy's purview. Nancy spent 18 years with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine within the Welch Medical Library Reference department. She does scientific library research, grant writing and editing. She holds a BA in philosophy/psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park and has done graduate work in the Johns Hopkins Institute of the History of Medicine. Nancy's passion is attending art exhibitions in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and London. Recent memorable art seminars and lectures include The Mellon Series.
Book Advisor, Classics, Literary Criticism and Sports
Jessica Baldwin was born and raised in Sparks, Maryland. She attended St. Paul's School for Girls in Brooklandville, then moved to New York City to pursue her degree in philosophical fiction writing at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. In December 2012, she completed her master's thesis in Humanities at Towson University; her thesis related theories of alienation and repression as seen in the works of Nietzsche and Freud. Jessica enjoys reading literary criticism, philosophy, biography/memoir, and anything related to sports or psychology. Her favorite authors include Michel Houellebecq, Soren Kierkegaard, and Edmund Burke.
Book Advisor, History and Biography
Larry is a graduate of the University of Maryland (College Park) and the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana). He retired in 2008 after teaching in the Baltimore City Public Schools for 38 years, the last 28 of which were at Baltimore City College where he served as a social studies teacher. Larry is thrilled to see his former students and their parents when they shop at The Ivy. Larry's primary interest is history, and he loves to have conversations with readers where they share good books and perspectives on the past. Larry also devours mysteries: Lee Child, George Pelecanos and Alan Furst are current favorites. He also enjoys fiction suggested by his Ivy co-workers; Jane Gardam's Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat were super!
Rona Sue London
Book Advisor, Judaica and Children's
Rona recently found a wonderful new home at The Ivy, where she wears several hats. She works on the front window displays, reaches out to the Jewish community and helps in the children's section, where she loves helping people find the perfect books for our youngest readers. She recently developed the first in a series of "Book Club Banter" packets, exploring books in depth that have a special appeal to book clubs.
After graduating with her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters of Art in Teaching from Maryland Institute College of Art, Rona ran her own graphic design firm and worked as an art teacher in Baltimore County. She retired to be a stay-at-home mom to her two sons, volunteering at their schools - where her favorite activity was running the book fair, of course! Rona is also a freelance writer for the Baltimore Jewish Times and an after school art teacher at Roland Park Elementary. When she is not reading, she loves the ballet, theater and symphony.
Book Advisor, Poetry
CarlaJean Valluzzi is a native of beautiful western Massachusetts. She received her BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, and her MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore. Based in Station North, she photographs using film and a camera that doesn't make phone calls, and creates collages, hand-bound books and many other forms of paper-based ephemera under the moniker Kitchen Table Press. Visit her blog at www.imisspaperletters.com.
Book Advisor, Mysteries and Sports
Lucy Burchell is a junior at Bryn Mawr School. She has been shopping at the Ivy since she was six years old. She loves reading, writing and foreign languages. She also loves music and listens to a variety of different genres.
Publisher Liaison, Website Manager, etc.
Rebecca Oppenheimer has worked in the book business in one capacity or another for over a decade. She reads a little of everything but is especially partial to classics, history, speculative fiction and poetry. She doesn't believe in the concept of "guilty pleasures" but will go hoarse defending the greatness of Jacqueline Susann. Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho, Samuel Richardson's Clarissa and, yes, Susann's Once Is Not Enough are the saddest books she's ever read.
Co-owner Ed Berlin enjoys reading international relations, espionage and European history. Ed received his undergraduate degree from UMBC in history and a law degree from the University of Maryland. He also has a master’s degree in foreign policy from New York University. He teaches in the Political Science Department at UMBC in Baltimore.
Prior to moving to Baltimore, Ed held executive positions at Citibank, Deutsche Bank and Thomson Financial in New York.
A few of Ed’s most recent reads include: Laura Lippman’s And When She Was Good; The Cold War, by John Lewis Gaddis; Monsoon, by Robert D. Kaplan; and Olen Steinhauer’s The Nearest Exit.