Miriam Parker works for a publishing company, has a blog and is working on her novel Book People in Southwest Virginia. After knowing Miriam online for many, many months, I was so happy to finally meet her at BEA! In this Spotlight post she gives the scoop on four lovely bookstores far outside New York City, which is widely considered the center of publishing. Her opinions are her own and no way reflect those of the company she works for.
I consider myself a New Yorker through and through. I grew up in a town many think to be fake called Hastings-on-Hudson, went to college at Columbia, and I work in book publishing, the most New York of all industries. And New York is a great book town. I have spent MANY an hour perusing literary journals at the St. Mark’s Book Shop, wishing I was just a LITTLE bit smarter at Book Culture (the bookstore formerly known as Labyrinth) and mourning the loss of Shakespeare & Company from the Upper West Side and Good Yarns from my little ole hometown.
But now that I live in the hinterlands, I have discovered that there are some INCREDIBLE stores outside of New York run by the most devoted people. And, I have come to appreciate, outside of New York, a great bookstore is a real treasure. While literary events are happening willy nilly on the streets of Manhattan, the folks out HERE have to work extra hard to get great writers and speakers into their stores, and I so appreciate what they do. So here are a few stores that I have come across in my travels over the past few years that I am completely hooked on.
Square Books: Oxford, Mississippi
I might be a BIT biased because the same day I found Square Books was also the day I met my long-time boyfriend Matt. BUT regardless of associating it with very happy thoughts, it is one of the most well-curated and gorgeous stores I’ve ever been. And it has the most glorious second floor veranda (balcony? porch?) where I could sit all day long.
Pomegranate Books: Wilmington, NC
I got my MFA at UNC Wilmington and Pomegranate Books was the best bookstore we could have ever asked for. They stocked our literary journal. Sold books at our events. Let us have readings in their beautiful store. Oh and not to mention recommending great books for us to read and give as gifts that we might not have found otherwise.
Faulkner House Books: New Orleans, LA
This is one of the most unique stores I’ve ever been to. First, it is TEENY and hidden in an alley behind Jackson Square. But it has the most lovely (and clearly curated) selection of books I’ve ever found. Plus, it looks like the library you wish you had in your house. I could have stayed there all day.
Third Place Books: Seattle, WA
A new discovery for me: Third Place Books is kind of the perfect bookstore. It’s full of great recs, new releases and a REALLY nice travel section. But it also has a food court. Seriously. If you want an enchilada with your copy of Into the Beautiful North or a sushi roll with your new Banana Yoshimoto, you can have one.
I can’t wait to find more stores in new places I visit! See you soon!