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Bookstores I have known

Surely you saw my colleague Michael Rosenwald’s story about how small, independent bookstores are making a comeback, to be followed soon by print newspapers, The Saturday Evening Post and the baby names Gertrude, Agnes, Edith, Godric and Ebenezer. I claim authority to speak on the matter of bookstore comebacks because just recently I purchased a book at an actual bookstore. There’s nothing I like more than strolling around a bookstore, searching for one of mine, and then asking the proprietor what kind of second-rate operation is it that doesn’t have a copy of my underappreciated memoir “A Hole On the Bottom of My Sock.”

Bookstores are making a comeback, Mike reports, because they’re local and they offer “a respite from screens.” I realize it’s hypocritical of me to blog about the glories of bookstores and the joys of time away from the screen. I wish Achenblog had a print edition. If I had my druthers we would never have gotten into this whole Internet/computer/mobile era, and wouldn’t even have electricity. Candles and torches were good enough in my day. And the oral tradition. Punctuating a particularly good part of the tale by waving the partially gnawed hoof of an aurochs in the air. (Aurochs: Now there was some beef.)

This summer on the Pac NW tour I hit a bunch of bookstores and may even be able to retrieve a random image from my computer — hang on.

Village Books in Bellingham WA, photo by J.A.


That’s a good one. Village Books. Here’s their website.

Of course we went to Powell’s in Portland — I think I even blogged about that.

And Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle (new location in hipster neighborhood).

Also, the Cloud and Leaf bookstore in Manzanita, on the Oregon Coast.

And a whole bunch more that I now can’t seem to track down. There was a good one in Victoria, BC, where I bought a first edition of Conrad Richter’s “The Trees.”

Wait, here’s one more:

Fake bookstore — literally, a fake sign — in Vancouver, BC, where they were making a movie and needed something “old-timey” looking, so they came up with the idea of a bookstore sign. There were also vintage cars. I swear this is true. Photo by J.A.


Joel Achenbach writes on science and politics for the Post's national desk and on the "Achenblog."



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Joel Achenbach · December 13, 2013

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