The Coolest Bookstores in the World

coolest bookstores

A recent post on featured the coolest bookstores in each of the 50 United States. After looking at those lists I wanted to start making travel plans to several of those unique places around the country. Then I discovered this article on a website called The Mind Circle that extends the list beyond U.S. borders to offer a glimpse at some of the coolest bookstores around the world. I quickly realized that I will need to greatly expand my fantastic, and impractical tour to include these international destinations.

The Mind Circle: The Coolest Bookstores in the World!!!

Can these even be real? The internet would suggest that they are…

Has anyone ever been lucky enough to visit one of these stores?

The Best Bookstore in Every State

The Best Bookstore in Every State (and D.C.)

We are excited to soon make Italic Bookmarks available through select independent bookstores around the country. Each bookstore you visit tends to have it’s own unique features and personality. Some are elegant and clean, while others are cluttered by beautiful stacks of books everywhere you turn. You will always find an inviting and comfortable atmosphere.  Some stores may feature only a small, but carefully curated selection of titles, but most have more reading material than you could ever hope to get through in a lifetime. You will typically encounter several other book-lovers searching the shelves for their next treasure. Behind every independent bookstore are dedicated owners and knowledgeable employees, passionate about providing great books to their community.

I discovered an article that features the Best Bookstore in Every State that are all examples of why we love independent bookstores. While any list is subjective, this one is interesting because it is based on recommendations and reviews on Yelp, posted by thousands of visitors, rather than just the preferences of a few people.

Real Simple: The Best Bookstore in Every State

And in case you like a second opinion:

PureWow: The Best Bookstores in America

You can use these lists to find gems in your state, or when you travel to find the must-see locations near your destination. You will be sure to find a unique space, and there is a good chance that you will discover your next “all-time favorite” book.

Which of these stores have you visited? Are there any notable locations that didn’t make the list?

NPR: More than a bookstore…

A story this morning on NPR highlights various approaches that bookstores around the country are taking to maintain interest in physical bookstores. I was most interested to learn that, despite predictions for the last few years, print is still outselling digital. The article highlights some of the ways that independent and chain bookstores have been modifying their spaces in order to increase the appeal of their stores. Restaurants, author events, and making the space simulate the appearance of a website are a few of the ideas that have been implemented..

Be More Than a Bookstore

The general focus seems to be in creating spaces that make it easier to incorporate books and reading into a customer’s daily routine. These innovations in the marketplace are important in creating excitement about books and promoting reading as a fun and meaningful form of entertainment.

The American Novel Since 1945 – Open Yale Courses

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I recently discovered an incredible (free) resource for learning more about some of the great novels in American literature from the last fifty years.  I found this originally when scrolling through the options in “iTunes U” on my phone, but the link below is for the course online.

The American Novels Since 1945

I have been listening/watching these courses for a few weeks now and I have only made it through the first two novels, but I am anxious to get through them all. The instructor provides a list of some of the most influential works in American literature since 1945, and helps the audience to understand the history and culture surrounding the work and the author.

For example: I learned that Black Boy by Richard Wright was intended to have two parts… but do to pressures from the publisher only the first part about growing up in the south was released in the 1940’s. The second half was not published until decades later. when you read the novel you will realize that the theme of his work is incomplete without that second half.

I did not really care for the second book on the list; Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor, but the lectures through this course added perspective, and created an interesting context for the work that I never would have appreciated if I hadn’t listened to the presentation.

I hope you find this resource as interesting as I have.

San Francisco MOMA – modern art text

“Send me Aggression” – “The Girl with the Knife in Her Hand”; Yoshitomo Nara

This is one of the coolest things I have come across in awhile… The Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco now offers a chance to see many of the hidden gems from their collection through text message. Just send a request to the number 572-51, with the words “send me” followed by just about anything (Nouns, colors, emotions, etc.) and they will send you back a picture of one of their pieces related to that word. There are more details and information in this article that I read on an art blog called “Hyperallergic”.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – Text Service

Of course, I had to try it for myself :

Text message to 572-51; “send me water”…

Richard N. Kauffman, “Columbine Lake, Evening”, ca. 1956

“Send me bicycles”…

Unknown, “Untitled [Men with bicycles]”, 1920’s

Of course, there is not a match for every word you may come up with, but try a few and see what they come up with. Then a miniature version of each work is yours to keep forever.

The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman


I am a few years behind on this novel from 2012. I saw a preview for the movie that came out last year that made me curious. I still haven’t seen the movie, but I can’t stop thinking about the book. If you have ever wanted to just be alone and forget the rest of the world exists… then you will probably like this book. If you have ever made a bad decision for a really good reason… then you will probably like this book. If you have ever thought of what it would be like to lose a child… then you will definitely love the first half of this book, and you might hate the second half.

In any case, I couldn’t put it down. Has anyone seen the movie? Thumbs up or thunbs down?

(Here is a link to the Goodreads page… I always love how polarized the reviews are… most people loved it, a few people really hated it, one lady was upset because she got a fine from the library… I don’t see how that reflects on the actual story though.)

Goodreads – The Light Between Oceans


Reading While Walking

Reading while walking? Dangerous.

Image result for reading while walking

This post made me laugh. It also reminded me of how I used to make fun of people that I saw reading at the gym while they were on a treadmill or a bike… until I tried it. It makes it harder to get a real intense workout, but it makes it easier to stay longer and go to the gym more frequently. Try it!

This post talks about reading while walking around outside… which I haven’t tried, but sounds like a health risk. Check out the post here:

Walking and Circles

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I read two new articles on a “knowledge forum” website called  Big Think. These both feature a simple and meaningful breakdown of very intriguing research that has been conducted related to brain-function, habit, and thought process.

The first article presents research to suggest that the act of walking can stimulate brain function specifically related to “creativity”. Let’s take a walk! You can read it here:

 Walking and Creativity

The second article explains research that has established a link between language, culture, etc and the way a person draws a figure as simple as a circle. I assumed that everyone draws a circle the same way I do, starting at the top and moving in a counter-clockwise motion… not so. You can read that article here:

The Way You Draw Circles


Hokusai – The Great Wave


You have probably seen this famous painting by Japanese Artist Hokusai. What you might not have known was that the artist created his most famous work at the age of 71.

This article from The Economist 1843 talks about the artist and his most famous works, all created after the age of 70. His unique attitude was that the older he got, the better he would be. He referred to himself as “Old Man, Crazy to Paint”

read the article here – Hokusai: old man, crazy to paint | 1843