Bookstores are places where one can immerse themselves in the world of literature.
Here are some destinations from all over the United States for those of us who enjoy stepping into an author’s world. These places are some of the best spots across America for book lovers.
Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon
Powell’s Books, sometimes called Powell’s City of Books – and aptly so, given its many locations in the metropolitan Portland area – is best known for its mammoth main store on the outskirts of downtown. Occupying an entire block, that location spans 68,00 square feet and carries some four million new and used books. It was founded in in 1971 by Walter Powell and reached its current dimensions with a 1999 makeover. Powell’s is featured on nearly every list of the nation’s best bookstores, and how can it not when there can be few books it doesn’t sell in one form or another? Powell’s also sells thousands of rare books.
Faulkner House Books in New Orleans, Louisiana
Justifiably calling itself “A Sanctuary for Fine Literature”, Faulkner House Books, located in the French Quarter’s Pirate Alley – which once attracted none other than William Faulkner – is nothing if not romantic…and much more. Established some twenty years ago in an apartment building, the store is all greens and blues in New Orleans’ style and has a fourth floor that serves as a temporary home for visiting writers, including such past guests as William Styron, Robert Olen Butler and Barry Gifford, among many others. It survived Hurricane Katrina and today remains the literary heart of a very literary city.
City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, California
Founded by the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and one-time professor Peter D. Martin, City Lights Bookstore gained fame when it became embroiled in the obscenity trial regarding its having publish Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, but it’s not just for beatniks anymore. Founded in 1953, City Lights has survived decades of cultural change and still thrives. It continues publishing books, releasing a dozen new releases each year. It also created the City Lights Foundation, which has as its goal the “nurturing the ability to think critically, to discern truth, and to communicate knowledge is essential to a democratic society.”
Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.
With over 8,000 square feet of books on offer, Politics & Prose Bookstore was founded in 1984 by Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade. It’s all but a Washington, D.C. Landmark and has attracted the likes of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. In fact, it features author readings almost every day of the week. The entire store ranges over 14,000 square feet and even features an on demand publishing vehicle known as the Espresso Book Machine. It’s known for a staff as knowledgeable as its customer base is intelligent.
Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, Colorado
Having been upsized seven times since being founded in 1971, Tattered Cover Bookstore makes its customers comfortable with sofas and other seating and is well-known for its excellent customer service. The store features some 400 author and illustrator events per year and has received the PEN/Newman First Amendment Award and The Author’s Guild of America Award for Distinguished Service to the Literary Community, among several other honors.