Friday, December 17, 2004

Why she's a girl from the chainstore.

In no particular order, here is a list of some of my favorite bookstores in the world.

Note the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan is highly overrated as is much of NYC, so I boycott the book capital of the US on purpose.

The Paperback Rack. Tallahassee, FL.
Picked up many a used Penguin novel (Orange and Black varieties) here.

The Harvard Coop. Cambridge, MA.
Textbooks and beyond; plus cool Harvard regalia. Bookstore operated by Barnes & Noble, alas.

The Stanford Bookstore. Stanford, CA.
perhaps the best collection of academic books on site anywhere in the world except for the next shop; cool Stanford stuff, plus cut-rate, cutting-edge Apple equipment, plus all kinds of Cardinal gear

Seminary Co-op Bookstore. Chicago, Il.
In the "grungy" basement of a neo-Gothic seminary on U of C's campus can be found rooms of cool books, Nobelists, and other great conservative minds. Rivals Stanford for shelf availability of the latest academic studies in most fields. Don't be looking for any U of C tennis shirts or license plates, though! I'm a proud member/shareholder.

Dillon's (the Main one on Gower St.). London.
As above but for University of London. Not realy the same once it got gobbled up by Waterstone's who then went in with

Foyle's. London
Yes the system of locating fiction by publisher is maddening. But this is one of the great browsing book institutions ever.

Hatchard's. Picadilly. London.
The oldest bookstore in London dates to 1797.

ICA Book Shop. The Mall. London.
For art and media lovin' hep cats.

Murder One. Charing Cross Road. London.
New and used mystery, true crime, thrillers etc.

National Theatre and British Film Institute Bookshops. London
2 great reasons to visit the South Bank again and again, plus there's the outside book tables under Waterloo bridge on a clear day.

Ulysses. Bloomsbury. London.
Great smallish store. Lots of first editions.

Quinto. Charing Cross Road. London
The famous "octagonal" green door beckons.

Stanford's Long Acre. London
Need Maps!

Waterstone's. Picadilly. London.
Great views from cafe in the old Simpson's Department store. Largest bookshop in Europe.

Zwemmer's. various locations. London
Look for the famous blue awning. media arts, photography and academic offerings. The famous art and photography bookshops have consolidated with a third bookseller Ian Shipley and will survive.

Skoob. Bloomsbury. London
Great used bookseller. That's books spelled backwards, kids.

Barbican Bookshop. Fossgate. York
10 (count 'em) rooms of books!

Gillygate Books. Gillygate. York.
Great used bookstore.

Ken Spelman. Micklegate. York.
Run by former University of York Students. Strong in literature, history, and the arts.

Stone Trough Books. Fossgate. York.
Nice used bookstore a bit away from Minster and on the way to Heslington. Too bad the local free house is no longer.

The Works. Church St. York.
Great discount bookseller between the Shambles and the outdoor York Market. A hidden gem. Portland, OR and cyberspace.
Simply put the greatest bookstore in the English-reading Universe. They don't call it "The City of Books" for nothing!

Newbury Comics. Boston, MA.
As the title suggests but also lots of cool indie rock stuff.

Grolier Poetry Bookshop. Cambridge, MA.
A bookstore that's only about poetry.

Harvard Bookstore. Cambridge, MA.
Good generalist bookstore. An early take on the bookstore cafe and the first one you hit coming out of the back of Widener or Lamont Libraries.

Harvard University Press Display Room. Cambridge, MA.
Your source for those Green and Red Loeb Classical Library volumes translated into a language that can only be called LOEBESE. In the Holyoke Center Arcade. Alas CLOSED forever as of 6/30/2009.

WordsWorth. Cambridge, MA.
Alas closed October 30, 2004 because it couldn't compete with the online giants. Curious George goes to WordsWorth , the children's book and toy store remains.

SchoenHof's Foreign Books. Cambridge, MA.
You want books in foreign languages? Dates to 1856!

Out of Town News Agency. Cambridge, MA.
The very heart of Harvard Square! Magazine and Newspapers from all over the world. Although the net has hampered their business of late I hear.

Bryn Mawr Book Store. Cambridge, MA.
Funky used bookstore on Huron for those who've been Quadded.

Mandrake Book Store. Story Street, Cambridge, MA.
For all the wierdos, magi, and New Agers. Across from the late lamented Oxford Alehosue and backing onto the front building of the Harvard Coop.

Starr Book Shop. Cambridge, MA.
Another cool, random used bookstore with a wild location: in the rear basement of the Harvard Lampoon castle.

Kepler's. Menlo Park, CA.
A fine mid-Peninsula indie.

Wessex Books & Records. Great Place to get cheap review copies of every book Robert Polhemus ever wrote. But seriously, a truly inspiring space for browsing and it's a block from Kepler's so you can do new and used runs all at one time.

Cody's Books (the one on Telegraph). Berkeley, CA.
Dustin sits in the window here in The Graduate. Kept selling Satanic Verses even after a 1989 firebombing. Right on!

City Lights. San Francisco.
You just gotta "Howl". Ferlinghetti's institution and the first all-paperback bookstore in the US! Plus Vesuvio's, a cool beatnik bar is just across Jack London Alley. Cafes and restaurants of North Beach are a block or so the other direction.

A Clean Well Lighted Place for Books. Opera Plaza. San Francisco, CA.
Great for pre-Symphony/pre-Opera browsing. Grab a dessert at Max's Opera cafe across the plaza! An early online player as their URL suggests!

Printer's, Inc. California Avenue. Palo Alto, CA.
But only circa 1986-90. Died in March 1999 due to the Border's in what used to be the Varsity Theater.

Lemuria, Banner Hall, Jackson, MS.
Sorry Richard, my favorite bookstore in Mississippi hands down.

Off Square Books. Oxford, MS.
The cooler used bookstore version of this Lafayette county classic.

Over the Transom Books. Fairhope, AL.
New and used books, signed first editions and home to the Stories from the Blue Cafe series. "Nuff said! The very essence of what a small indie bookstore should be. Way to go Martin and Sonny.

Page & Palette. Fairhope, AL.
The coffeeshop bookstore in Baldwin County since 1968. One neat feature is the wall of pre-prints of books that one can buy. The money is donated to local worthy charities, so nobody's really getting screwed on this deal. Also the sales cart on the sidewalk often provides real steals.

I was gonna do record store but there isn't world enough and time. Plus I still have plenty of embracin' to do.

As a lagniappe: TNA's first annual favorite blogs list ordered randomly

[long pauses]
dusted magazine
polly & the mooch!
| span |
reciprocity failure
Popular Frontiers!
last plane to jakarta
Big Gray and the Jones County Boys
Staggering Brain
For The Record
communists in the summer house


Darren said...

My junior and senior years at FSU, I fell into a comfortable routine. Each week I would wash clothes at a laundromat on Pensacola. I always spent the first wash cycle browsing through the used CDs at Vinyl Fever (the old location). Then, after popping my laundry into the dryer, I would go to the Paperback Rack, pick up a novel or two, and read until my clothes were dry. Several of the novelists I'm writing about in my dissertation, I first discovered at The Paperback Rack.

G. E. Light said...

Alas Paperback Rack also moved to North Monroe about two/three blocks north of the Meridian Split (aka Baskin Robbins). I lived in San Luis Ridge growing up bteween Tharpe and Mission and we shopped at Wetswood Publix and hit P Rack a lot.