Spotlight on Bookstores: four treasures in “the hinterlands”

sob1Miriam 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

square-booksI 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, NCpomegranate

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

faulkner-houseThis 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, WAthird-place

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!

11 comments to Spotlight on Bookstores: four treasures in “the hinterlands”

  • I loved this post and want to take a road trip now. I’ve heard about Square Books for years and would love to go there!

  • This is a super post. It’s nice to have a snapshot of several book stores around the country. It is also nice to learn a little bit about Miriam. I like the way she writes. A book from her would be super. By that I mean one she has written. Of course, I like the other books from her as well.

  • [...] Bibliomania, On the Road Again — miriamparker @ 12:08 pm I have a guest post up today at about my favorite bookstores around the country. Check it out!   Leave a [...]

  • Great post, and I will personally vouch for Square Books! Back when I lived in Memphis, I took a day off to make a pilgrimage there, and it was well worth it! Oxford, Mississippi has a fine literary heritage (home of William Faulkner), and it’s just about an hour’s drive from Memphis.

  • Three cheers for Square Books! I visited while at a conference in Oxford years ago. It definitely stands out in my mind as a most memorable bookstore!

  • How did I miss Third Place Books when I visited Seattle?!? I think I need to plan a return trip. Once the game is off, that is.

  • One of my favorite things to do on vacation is visit bookstores – The Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center in Vermont and Bunches of Grapes in Martha’s Vineyard are two of my favorites!

  • How much do I love the idea of a bookstore with a food court? A whole lot!

  • From the previous commenter. I too have been to Martha’s Vineyard and loved Bunches of Grapes.

    Miriam I live not too far from Wilmington N. C. not realizing there is a independent book store. I will have to check it out soon. Usually living in Myrtle Beach there is not too much culture. I am excited to see something mentioned not too far away.

    Dawn thank you for emailing me and letting me know that the post was fixed.

    Thank you for the fabulous post about book store. Thank you for allowing Miriam post.

  • What a great article. It’s so nice to read about these book shops even if I know I’ll never get there.

  • Oo! So many fun responses!!!

    Kathy–you’ve GOT to go to Square Books it is a jewel of the South.

    Margot–thank you for your kind words! I will let you know about any book progress. :)

    Florinda–Isn’t Faulkner’s house COOL? Love the outline of his book on the wall. Oh how I want an Old Southern Home. :) Do you still live in Memphis?

    Amy–So glad you’ve been to Oxford. I dream of it.

    Softdrink–The one I wrote about is a bit outside the downtown part of the city but is WELL worth the ride. PLUS you can have lunch there! (And dinner, and dessert….)

    Stephanie–I love Bunch of Grapes too! So glad they rebuilt after the fire. I’ll have to check out Northshire next time I’m in Vermont.

    zibilee–I know! Give me a snack and I will stay all day (as if you needed to convince me!!)

    Carolina Gal–You’ve got to go up to Wilmington! There are great events there esp. connected with the MFA program

    Sandra–You never know! I NEVER thought I’d go to Mississippi. And I’ve been there four or five times at this point!

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