Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Cool Bookstores Around the World, Part 1

Bookstore Bucket List, Part 1 (Books & Travel)

My good friend in Germany sent me a Facebook video which highlighted six wonderfully unique bookstores around the world (actually 5 bookstores, and 1 library).  My jaw about dropped when I saw them. How awesome it would be to visit each one! And while that probably won’t happen, I looked them up and thought I’d share the dream, adding other bookshops I already had on my list.  Here’s part one of my bookstore bucket list.

Atlantis Books in Oia, Santorini, Greece

Photos from their website
Atlantis Books is an independent bookshop on the island of Santorini, Greece, founded in 2004 by a group of friends from Cyprus, England, and the United States. According to their website, they have fiction and non-fiction in Greek, English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, and Dutch. Throughout the year they host literary festivals, film screenings, book readings, and good old fashioned dance parties.

Libreria Acqua Alta, Venice, Italy 

Libreria Aqua Alta is located at Calle Santa Maria Formosa, a few steps away from St. Mark’s Square in Venice, right on the canal.  It sells new and used books, many stored in tubs due to rising waters, but also stored in unique shelving such as gondola. 

The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, California 
Photos from their website
Selling new and used books, The Last Bookstore opened its doors in 2005 in a downtown L.A. loft and eventually grew into a 22,000 sq. ft. space in the Spring Arts Tower to become one of the largest independent bookstores in the world. Photos of their creative tunnel are well-displayed on social media like sites Pinterest and Facebook.

The Montague Book Mill, Montague, Massachusetts
Photos from    
The Montague Book Mill is a used bookstore that was originally a gristmill in 1842.  In 1987 after the mill processing was relocated, Jim Murphy and Allen Ross bought the building and began the long journey of renovating it into a bookstore.  The store changed hands a few times and in 2007 Susan Shilliday became the new owner. Today you can go there not only for books, but also to enjoy great food and drink at the Lady Killigrew Café overlooking the Sawmill River.

Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France

The Shakespeare and Company website describes the store as “an English-language bookshop in the heart of Paris, on the banks of the Seine, opposite Notre-Dame. Since opening in 1951, it’s been a meeting place for anglophone writers and readers, becoming a Left Bank literary institution.” One of the unique aspects of the store is that writers, artists, and intellectuals are allowed to spend the night among the books under three conditions:  they must read a book a day, help at the shop for a few hours each day of their stay, and produce a one-page autobiography, thousands of which have now been collected in an archive.  American founder, George Whitman, called his guests tumbleweeds.  George decided on this unusual hospitality after having been a traveler during his twenties where he blew from place to place "like a tumbleweed" and was offered shelter by strangers. He wanted to return the favor and now, an estimated 30,000 tumbleweeds have taken advantage of George’s offer. In 2006, George’s daughter officially took over the shop. Although George passed away in 2011 at the age of 98, the spirit of his generosity is captured above a doorway in the store: “Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise.”  In 2015 “The Café” was opened right next to the bookstore, so now people can enjoy a nice coffee while they read their latest literary discovery.

Happy Reading,


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