It’s Love Your Bookstore Week! This weekend I celebrated by visiting a bookstore in person (twist my arm) and participated in the Love Your Bookstore Challenge. Today I wanted to wax poetic about some of the bookstores I have loved in my life.
The Last Bookstore
Tucked away in downtown Los Angeles, The Last Bookstore is part used books, part new releases, and part art installation. They have a wonderfully well-organized sci-fi and fantasy section, as well as the more frenetic $1 bookshelves. On top of that, they’ve made some wonderful sculptures out of stacks of books: archways, wings, counter decorations all make it feel like a celebration of reading. The store can get a little touristy at times, but I’ve definitely enjoyed my trips here.
Barnes & Noble
No, it’s not an indie chain store, but it still needs our love! Barnes & Noble was a staple in my life growing up. Anytime we went to a mall where one could be found, it was a mandatory stop. I remember distinctly the new book smell of the store, the way it was laid out, where the different sections were, and I haven’t been to a couple of these locations in years. I would race back to the children’s section, looking to see if the new ANIMORPHS book was out, or perhaps over to sci-fi looking for YOUNG JEDI KNIGHTS. I had a mom who would usually let me get at least one book per trip, and I loved combing the shelves for new reads. These days, my trips to a Barnes & Noble aren’t nearly as frequent, due to a combination of life and finances, but when I do step inside, I get almost giddy looking at all the shiny covers of books I’ve been looking to pick up.
Charing Cross, London
This last entry is not one bookstore, but a row of them. I had the great fortune to study abroad in London for a semester when I was in college. During my stay, I happened to stumble across a side street near Leicester Square called Charing Cross Road. There, I discovered 3 or 4 used book stores in a row. They were tiny, quiet, cluttered, some of them required a trip into a basement, and I loved each and every one of them. Somehow, despite being limited to two suitcases returning from London, I managed to double the number of books I had brought with me. When I returned to London a few years later to visit friends, and ended up with a day to myself, visiting Charing Cross was at the top of my list. Yes, I went half-way around the world to buy second-hand books.
These are a handful of the bookstores I have loved over the years – how about the rest of you?