In the same way I obsessively add books to my “to read” list, I add bookstores to a “to visit” list.
When the bookstore project idea came to me, I had one goal: visit as many independent brick and mortar bookstores as I can before… I’m not sure exactly. It’s simple, if unfinished, and hasn’t changed. When I visit a new city or state, the first task is to seek out a bookstore, visit it, and buy a book (or many).
The list started in the back of my planner with no organization in mind:
Rizzoli – New York, NY
McNally & Jackson – New York, NY
Strand Books – New York, NY
Politics & Prose – Washington, DC
Kramerbooks – Washington, DC
BookPeople – Austin, TX
Malaprop’s – Asheville, NC
Faulkner House Books – New Orleans, LA
Parnassus Books – Nashville, TN
Montague Bookmill – Montague, MA
City Lights – San Francisco, CA
A Capella Books – Atlanta, GA
Market Fresh Books – Chicago, IL
This list was made before Rizzoli closed the doors to its historic 57th Street location. It was made before I’d ventured into the awesome bookstores DC has to offer.
Since, I’ve been to Strand and Kramerbooks in addition to stores I didn’t know existed and weren’t on my list. Turns out, every place I’ve been has at least one bookstore to offer up, supported by its local community (and now, me). It’s been a comforting discovery.
This list also includes a bookstore I’ve been to before. When I lived in Asheville, I definitely popped into Malaprop’s a time or two. Unfortunately, I was still in school and spent most of my time in coffee shops and hiding from required reading. It didn’t get the appreciation it deserved from me and is more than worthy of a revisit.
I’ve also added to the list. It continues to grow:
Tattered Cover – Denver, CO
Annie Bloom’s Books – Portland, OR
Powell’s – Portland, OR
Brookline Booksmith – Boston, MA
Brattle Book Shop – Boston, MA
The Last Book Store – Los Angeles, CA
Symposium Books – Providence, RI
Atomic Books – Baltimore, MD
The King’s English Bookshop – Salt Lake City, UT
Ok, enough of this. I’m going to make a real list.
Is there a massive and obvious hole in my list where I’m missing a spectacular bookstore? Tell me!