Red Room loves bookstores, especially independents that have become beloved parts of their local communities. Publisher's Weekly asked Red Room to help celebrate the first-ever National Bookstore Day on November 7th, so we asked the community to blog on the topic "my favorite bookstore." We knew Red Roomers have spent hours browsing through bookstores in big cities and small towns, reached up to a dusty top shelf to find a rare first edition, or attending readings where you got to meet your favorite authors.
We also relate to Red Room member Susan Brown's reaction to this week's topic. In her post "Bookstores I've Loved and Lost," she writes, "Oh come on, Red Room people--you want a favorite bookstore? How can that be? Bookstores are like chocolate, one for every mood."
One of the things people love about a good bookstore is how it seems to become identified with the city and town in which it's located. Susan Rich was a skeptical East-Coast visitor to Seattle; however, her discovery of Elliott Bay Books and how it seems to personify that city's friendly, unpretentious love of books was an early spur to her eventual move to the Pacific Northwest. Read how in "The Bookstore That Changed My Life."
Like libraries, bookstores often play a role in writers taking an important step in their careers. For Catherine Ryan Hyde, associating an early, tough writing mentor with the small-town bookstore the mentor owned and operated is only natural. For an inspiring example of perseverance mixed a with a bit of nostalgia, read "A Blog About a Bookstore."
Several bloggers chose bookstores from their childhoods to write about, but we were drawn to Weston Ochse's post about the one found in Tampa, Florida, that was run by tobacconists for reasons that had nothing to with a love of reading. Read "Where Books Go to Die."
These three featured bloggers will receive a copy of Agatha Award-nominated author Kris Neri's new urban fantasy-mystery High Crimes on a Magical Plane. Kris also operates The Well Read Coyote, an independent bookstore in Sedona, Arizona, so it makes sense that it's her favorite bookstore.
Here are some other blog entries that made us think of our own favorite bookstores:
- We'd guessed Gina Collia-Suzuki's entry on this topic was going to be her post about seeing her book displayed prominently in the window at her local branch of Waterstone's; instead, here's "My First Bookshop Love Affair," about a tiny London shop that had that one rare book that made all the difference in her early writing.
- San Francisco's Borderlands Books was scene for Loren Rhoads and her Morbid Curiosity crew to come out and admit (and read) in public the bizarre stuff they contributed to her magazine. Read "My Favorite Bookstore."
- Two Red Roomers, author Opal Adisa and member Dera Williams, wrote passionately about Marcus Books in Oakland, California, which Dera says serves the African American community with a "relentless commitment to equality and justice." Learn more in their posts "Marcus Books Store" and "My Favorite Bookstore - An American Institution."
- A couple of bloggers admitted that their libraries were their favorite "bookstores." For example, the sensual pleasures and childhood memories of her local library are what make Kristi L. Bernard go back again and again. Read "It's The Smell That Gets Ya!"
- Kyla Perry can beat any story you can come up with about someone who really, really loves books. You have to check out "Love in the Time of e-Books."
All of the favorite bookstore blog posts are worth your time, so check them out, and thanks for blogging!
-Huntington W. Sharp, Editor, Red Room