The Washington Post

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."

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.