Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://superhypeblog.com
http://superhypeblog.com

That One Awesome Bookstore

If you’re reading this blog, I’m willing to bet that you have a favorite bookstore. That bookstore may be a cozy, independent place in your town or a Barnes & Noble that always has what you need on its shelves. Either way, that bookstore means something to you. It’s a special place where you go to discover new worlds, pick up the latest installment in your favorite book series, or just browse to spend some time around books.

I got to thinking about this topic when I saw a post on the New Yorker blog, in which cartoonist Bob Eckstein drew some famous New York bookstores. I loved looking through these and it made me think about the important bookstores in my own life.

Although it is a chain bookstore, I have called Half Price Books my home-away-from-home. The corner they have filled with bargain books is akin to nirvana for me. A Saturday spent at Half Price Books is a Saturday spent well.

Turning to the more indie side of things, though, I love Anderson’s Bookshop. I went there for the release of the seventh Harry Potter book and I got to see Rachel Maddow speak at an event that they held. Aside from being a really amazing bookstore, Anderson’s brings the authors and the events to the people, which can be so much fun.

I could happily spend hours in just about any bookstore, but these ones hold a special place in my heart. If I had any drawing talent, I would sketch little pictures of them to keep on my walls. As it is, I can only describe them for you in words.

Now it’s your turn! Share in the comments what your favorite bookstore is. Which bookstore holds a special place in your heart, and why?

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Indie Bookstores

http://www.housingworks.org/bookstore/
http://www.housingworks.org/bookstore/

The holidays are coming up! Some of us want them to back off and some of us want them to come sooner. Whichever camp you’re in, you’re probably beginning to think about gifts for your friends and family. As far as I’m concerned, the most perfect gift you can ever give someone is a book. Wait — I take that back. The best gift you can ever give someone is a gift card to their favorite bookstore. There are some people for whom you can buy a book, but in most cases you’re safer getting them a gift card. This ensures that the person can then choose whatever they’d like to read. So, yes, bookstore gift cards.

When you’re looking to get a gift card, though, don’t stop looking once you’ve found your local Barnes & Noble. While it’s true that all bookstores need our support (hell, even Borders went under), the independent bookstores in your community need support more than Barnes & Noble does. Flavorwire recently did a great post about 45 indie bookstores across the country that you can support this holiday season.

First on the list is the great Parnassus Books, which was founded by author Anne Patchett to fill a bookstore void in Nashville. If I lived in the Nashville area, I would definitely do some holiday shopping at Parnassus. Quimby’s, located in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, is on the list as well. This quirky bookstore sells homemade, indie zines and underground publications. I can personally recommend the Housing Works Bookstore in New York, having been there earlier this year. The interior is just stunning and their proceeds go to a very good cause. The Last Bookstore, located in Los Angeles, is also on the list. One day I hope to check out this amazing bookstore. If you don’t know anything about it, you should totally check it out.

Click through the list on Flavorwire and see if there are any indie bookstores in your neighborhood. Another great place to find these stores is Indiebound. Check it out and support your local bookstores this holiday season!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

Hurlingham Books, London http://www.bookstoreguide.org/2012/02/hurlingham-books-london.html
Hurlingham Books, London http://www.bookstoreguide.org/2012/02/hurlingham-books-london.html

Awesome Bookstore Windows

A storefront window is the best way for a shop to compete amongst many other shops. If they have a creative flair, then that storefront window will hopefully catch the eyes of many potential consumers. For a bookstore, I would not think they’d have to do much in order to have customers strolling into their store. Speaking as a self-professed book addict, I know that it doesn’t really take much to get me into a bookstore. If there are some interesting titles and a few aesthetically pleasing covers displayed, I’m probably walking in. Let’s be honest, if the word “book” is somehow in the name of the store, I’m probably walking in. But some storefront windows just go above and beyond, and that’s always appreciated.

Recently, Flavorwire made a post containing 30 Excellent Bookstore Windows from Around the World. There are some simple windows that are just a bit cluttered and cozy-looking. There are places like Reed Books 2 in Suffolk, England that have an array of books displayed, each with a face on the cover. There is Hurlingham Books in London, whose windows are almost completely obscured by books stacked in them. There is an adorable display of a paper cut-out girl reading at Toko Buku in Indonesia. All of these are just lovely and are an added bonus to walking past your favorite bookstore. They’re also likely to get you to walk inside.

Do you have any favorite bookstore front window displays? What would be a good display to draw you into a bookstore? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

Photo courtesy of: http://gallifreyan-detective.tumblr.com/

Bookstore in a Train Car

There are some pretty interesting bookstores out there. There are also some really unique libraries, which I happened to post about a few weeks ago. I posted about the bookstore porthole made out of books and the book “farm” that I visited in Wisconsin. Around the internet, I’ve seen bookstores that are enormous, bookstores that have trees growing in the middle of them, and bookstores that are partially flooded because they happen to be in Venice, the sinking city. But have you ever seen a bookstore set up in a train car? Well, now you have.

Courtesy of BoingBoing, who found this story via the Gallifreyan Detective on tumblr, I would like to introduce to you the bookstore in a train car. Apparently, this makeshift bookstore is located north of Paris, France and is called La caverne aux livres. Whoever takes care of this place has converted an old, yellow train car into a bibliophile’s dream. It looks absolutely amazing and I wish it was cheaper/easier to get to France because, honestly, an afternoon in this place would lift my mood exponentially.

What do you guys think of when you think of the most amazing bookstore you could imagine? Personally, I’d like a bookstore with ample seating — preferably in the form of big, cushy chairs — and tall rows of books so you could hide in the stacks and just read for hours on end, or browse to your heart’s content.

What would show up in your perfect bookstore? Where would it be located? Do you know of any other unique locations for bookstores? Leave them in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://jwdbookstoreseries.tumblr.com/ post/26420384438/yes-it-still-exists-this-time-its-in-a-new

Bookstore Porthole

This week we return, once again, to an Awesome Literary Thing that exists out there in the wide world. Last time it was a bookcase staircase, and this time it’s a book porthole. Thanks to the awesome Boing Boing website, I found this porthole made of books that was constructed in John W. Doull Bookseller store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. When I saw this neat bookstore feature, it instantly reminded me of that scene from Black Books where Bernard creates a hole in the wall so that he can spy on Manny working at the rival bookstore next door. Boing Boing calls it a reason to visit the store and I have to agree!

There are so many interesting things that bookstores do to display their wares, and this one of the greatest. So, the bookstore porthole got me thinking about all of those awesome things that bookstores do to make their shops unique. There is, of course, Shakespeare and Company, which famously allows writers and creative drifters of all stripes stay in its store free of charge. There is the Selexyz Bookstore in Maastricht, Holland, which is located in a refurbished and gorgeous church. There is the Cafebreria El Pendulo, Mexico City, Mexico, which incorporates greenery into its store.

And there’s also Castle Arkdale, a bookstore in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin. I have visited Castle Arkdale and it was a completely amazing experience. It was like making a pilgrimage to an important place for all book lovers.

I would highly recommend it, even though it is definitely off the beaten track. What about you guys? Have you made any book pilgrimages to see stores that present their books in interesting ways? Do you know of any awesome bookstore features that I haven’t mentioned here? Please share them in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Bookstore Love

http://nbcnews.com

For most of my teenage years, Borders was my favorite bookstore of all time. This is where I attended the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and it’s where all of my birthday money went as soon as it came to me. My local Borders happened to be situated right across the street from a Barnes & Noble. Location, location, location — right? I was fiercely loyal to Borders, saying that it had a cozier feel inside and that Barnes & Noble was a cold, distant store. But then I started to get older and I saw the appeal of Barnes & Noble…especially the neat, large windows of the second story in my particular Barnes & Noble. I started going there more for my bookish needs and before I knew it, I heard the news that Borders was closing its doors for good. The competition, clearly, was just too much for them.

Bookstore loyalties are something you naturally develop when you’re a bibliophile. Bookstores become like a second home to some of us, a place where shelves upon shelves of reading material is housed. They are a comfortable environment in which we can huddle amongst our friends, the books, and browse for as long as we like. I started thinking about my own bookstore loyalties, and bookstore loyalties in general, when I read the Book Riot blog post, Why Do We Love the Bookstores We Love? In this post, the author expounds on all of her “Powell’s feelings,” and how her real favorite bookstore is Brookline Booksmith in Boston.

These days, my bookstore loyalties float around from place to place as I find better and better deals. My usual haunt is my local Half Price Books because of this one corner of the store where they keep all the books that are priced from $1 to $3. A-maz-ing. But I also recently made a trip to Frugal Muse and discovered how amazing its collection is. I found some books there that I’ve been seeking for a while now, so that certainly earns it some points…

Where do your bookstore loyalties lie? Do you think that bookstore loyalties are a thing that all bibliophiles harbor? Let us know in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan