My good friends know I can get lost in a bookstore and often try to steer me away from one if time is short. When the entire travel section of the New York Times was devoted to bookstores last Sunday, I got lost in its pages and decided to save the section for a time when I could meander (hopefully before the next Sunday issue came out).
Stephanie Rosenbloom’s Bedding Down with Books teased me with hotels and cafes from Zurich to Savannah, Georgia, housing libraries for customers. Her Seneca reference jarred me a little: “It is in the homes of the idlest men that you find the biggest libraries.” Nevertheless, I’ve noted places from her article to visit if I am ever in the vicinity.
I could empathize with Jennifer Moses in her “Bookworm with a Travel Plan,” in her fear of running out of books to read while traveling. Despite having books on my iPhone and iPad, I always have two paperbacks in my carry-on, at least one or two hardbacks in my checked luggage, and a few books on Audible. I agonizingly remember being seated next to someone who thumbed through the airline magazine and then stared at the back of the seat in front of him for the rest of the trip (short flight – no movies). I would go mad if I had no book to read – maybe he had.
Perhaps the most comprehensive article in the section was author Ann Patchett’s “When A Bookshop is a Must.” Owner of her own bookstore – Parnassus Books in Nashville (“in a strip mall, behind Fox’s Donut Den, beside the Sherwin-Williams Paint Store”),Patchett offers her recommendations of American bookstores to visit. I’ve made a list of my top ten – hoping my next trip includes a few. If you get there first, let me know what you buy.
- Tree House Books in Ashland, Oregon
- TurnRow Book Company in Greenwood, MIssissippi
- The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles (see my review below)
- An Unlikey Story Bookstore and Cafe in Planiville, Massachusetts
- Provincetown Bookshop in Cape Cod
- Powell’s in Portland, Oregon
- Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.
- Malaprop’s in Asheville, North Carolina
- Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee
- Book Passage in Corte Madeiros, California
A few of my favorites not mentioned in the article:
- Pilgrim’s Way in Carmel, California
- Sherman’s in Bar Harbor, Maine
- The Annapolis Bookstore in Maryland
- Northshire Bookstore in Vermont
- Book Soup in West Hollywood
- Chaucer’s in Santa Barbara, California
- Main Street Books in Cedar City, Utah
Where are your favorite bookstores?
Related Article: The Last Bookstore
Better go back to France!
Book People – Austin, TX
Bay Books – Coronado Island (San Diego)
Laguna Beach Books – Laguna Beach, CA
The Book Cellar – Riverside, CA
All are fantastic indies!
Thanks for adding to the list. I think you first told me about Chaucer’s.
When we travel, we always search out the bookstores. I forgot to add Shakespeare and Company in Paris to my list. Can’t believe I left that out!
A place I have yet to visit.