10 Awesome American Bookstores You Should Visit

TL;DR

1. Today the world celebrates Tolkien Reading Day.

2. Check out these awesome bookstores across the country.

3. Add them to your bucket list next time you plan your trip.

 

Today, the 25th of March, fantasy fans around the world celebrate Tolkien Reading Day. A special holiday created to honor the legacy of South African author J. R. R. Tolkien, who presented us with some of the most epic stories ever told.

We decided to hop on this journey and bring you a list of awesome American Bookstores you should visit as soon as traveling takes off again. Check it out.

 

1. Powell’s City of Books — Portland, OR

Address: 1005 W Burnside St

 

They are the most iconic place for book lovers in the city but, if you ask them, they will say they are also the world’s largest independent bookstore. That’s because this is where you go not only to fulfill your bucket list of books but also find those forgotten titles online stores don’t sell anymore.

 

2. Faulkner House — New Orleans, LA

Address: 624 Pirates Alley

 

This tiny yet charming bookstore got its name from the great William Faulkner, author of iconic titles, such as “The Sound and the Fury” and “As I Lay Dying.” The store is located in what used to be Mr. Faulkner’s home at the beginning of the last century. That’s also the place where he wrote “Soldiers Play”, making Faulkner House a sanctuary for literature lovers.

 

 

3. Explore Booksellers — Aspen, CO

Address: 221 E Main St

 

The Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado may be known for its beautiful mountains and winter tourisms, but it is also home to this wonderful bookstore that has been around for almost half a century.

It’s a great place for children too since they have an entire room dedicated to them. Once you have purchased all your titles, don’t forget to swing by the Pyramid Bistro on the second floor of this Victorian house.

 

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

— J. R. R. Tolkien

 

4. John K. King Used & Rare Books — Detroit, MI

Address: 901 W. Lafayette Blvd

 

When John K. King purchased an abandoned factory building in 1983, he already knew what his passion was: buying and selling used books, as well as antiques. What started in high school became a serious job and, since then, a very well-established business and name in the city of Detroit. Books lovers can spend hours going over one million titles in this four-story bookstore. If you love reading, this palace is a palace and John is its king.

 

5. Antigone Books — Tucson, AZ

Address: 411 N 4th Ave

 

Inspired by Sophocles’ play of the same name, Antigone Books is a name that has built a reputation in Arizona that goes back to 1973, when it was founded by Kate Randall and Trudy Mills.

Located at the city’s unique Fourth Avenue shopping district, this independent bookstore was voted the best in town by the Tucson Valley and became the first in the country to generate 100% of its energy from solar panels. 

A powerful name in the book business and a must stop for any local or tourist.

 

 

6. Prairie Lights — Iowa City, IA

Address: 15 S Dubuque St

 

In the spring of 1978, this historic place for book lovers saw the daylight for the first time when it was still a tiny bookstore. Four years later, they had the chance to bring all their selection to a much bigger space, located in the same building where names like Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, Sherwood Anderson, Langston Hughes, and E. E. Cummings would meet as form the city’s literary society.

A magical place any fan of literature would love to spend time at, walking around its three and a half floors filled with a lot of stories and history.

 

Courage is found in unlikely places.”

J. R. R. Tolkien

 

7. Taylor Books — Charleston, WV

Address: 226 Capitol St

 

You don’t have to be just a book lover to visit this place. Once you go through its red front doors, you are in for a treat at a bookstore that values different forms of art, as much as its own community.

At this must-visit location, you can put your phone aside while you enjoy contemporary art and handmade crafts at their Annex Studios. Depending on when you swing by you can even check out live music and even improv groups.

However, as in any iconic bookstore, the cozy atmosphere and the pleasure of sitting down to enjoy a scone or a cup of coffee already make anybody’s day.

 

8. Books & Books — Coral Gables, FL

Address: 265 Aragon Ave

 

Books, books, and more books. If the architecture of its 1927 building wasn’t attractive enough, its history adds even more importance to its name. Founded in 1982, the company has expanded to seven different addresses and became a must-stop not only for literature fans but also for any writers signing books across the country, who can participate in one of its 60 author monthly events.

Books & Books is also known for its monthly art exhibit that started in 1985 and for attracting visitors from all over the world.

 

 

9. Left Bank Books — St. Louis, Missouri

Address: 399 N Euclid Ave

 

In the year where the entire nation witnessed a giant leap for mankind, Left Bank Books took its first small step when graduate students from Washington University shared their desire to create a place for all kinds of books.

Since then, the name has skyrocketed to what has become the oldest and largest independently-owned full-line bookstore in the city, with a selection that includes new and used books, gifts, magazines, cards, and even toys.

If you ever pay a visit to somebody who lives in Missouri and is a book lover, just message them: Meet me in St. Louis!

 

Little by little, one travels far.”

J. R. R. Tolkien

 

10. Parnassus Books — Nashville, TN

Address: 3900 Hillsboro Pike #14

 

According to Greek mythology, Mount Parnassus, a mountain in Delphi, Greece, was not only the land of the Muses, but also the home of literature, poetry, learning, and music.

Inspired by this story, bestselling author Ann Patchett and publishing veteran Karen Hayes founded Parnassus Books in beautiful Nashville, Tennessee.

The city has seen locals and tourists visit this beautiful book store for over ten years, who enjoy other forms or art way beyond its iconic country music scene.

Grabbing a title from a local writer at Parnassus Books is a must-have on your bucket list, before visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame.

 

• • •

 

Once you are ready for another adventure across the country, you can stop by one of these amazing bookstores and feel again the atmosphere of being surrounded by great titles you are yet to read.

 

That’s all folks! Stay tuned for our next publiCATTions.

 

Images: unsplash.com

Sources: matadornetwork.com, afar.com, theculturetrip.com, huffpost.com

 

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