Welcome Jeremy, with a post about the world’s best bookstores!
World’s Best Bookstores!
Everybody who reads probably remembers the main bookstore they went to as a kid. Mine was some secondhand shop. It was run some a very nice old woman who had a cat or two hanging about the shelves. I must have been six or seven when I started going. All the kid’s books were down in the basement, many in moldy boxes. It was awesome! I think that’s where I read my first Choose Your Own Adventure. I’ve been to some pretty spiffy bookstores since those days, but nothing compares to those on this list. Check em out!
#1: Shakespeare & Co. Antiquarian bookstore in Paris, France
It’s quaint and cozy and something that should be in a movie…actually, it is! It had a cameo in the movie Before Sunset you’ve seen the inside of the Shakespeare & Co. Antiquarian bookstore—this is where Julie Delpy’s character reunited with Ethan Hawke’s during a book signing. There’s a piano you can play, a bed you can lounge in when you read, and likely a cat or two wandering around the crammed bookshelves.
#2: Poplar Kid’s Republic, Beijing, China
This one sort of reminds me of a McDonald’s play-land but with better art direction. White walls, white ceiling, white stairs, white everything except splashes of rainbows here and there. Oh–and of course a selection of books in a varied number of languages. Whatever gets kids reading, right? I wouldn’t mind hanging out here with a book and a coffee, except I don’t think I’d fit in one of those cubbyholes.
#3: Daunt Books, London, England
This is the only bookstore chain on the list, but it deserves a spot. There are only five in London, but the Marylebone branch is the original and the best. It has long oak galleries with polished floors and shelves, graceful skylights, and William Morris prints–that sort of Old Tyme charm you find in British pubs around the world. In fact, I wouldn’t mind browsing these shelves with a pint of something cold!
#4: Secret Headquarters, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
Figured there should have been at least one from the U.S. on this list. This bookstore might not be as fancy or historic as some of the others, but it has its own sophisticated ambiance. You can find it in the creative cluster of Silver Lake, east of Hollywood. It might look like it’s run by an obsessive compulsive, but its apparently one of the friendliest comic stores around. Canadian science fiction author Cory Doctorow calls it the best in the world.
#5: Keibunsya Bookstore, Kyoto, Japan
I lived in Japan for a few years, so I’m partial to this one. If you’ve never been to Japan, there’s a thing about talking in public places, like one trains. You can be on a packed commuter and not hear a single peep from anybody (except foreigners!). So I wonder what it would be like in a bookstore like this one. Likely the same quiet dignity usually reserved for churches. Anyway, if you want to browse a selection of books not in English, this is your place! Kanpai!