Now that 2011 is here, I’m thinking ahead to the events and readings I hope to do this summer — and also looking back on the fantastic and generous bookstores that hosted me in 2010 (among them, Pilot Books in Seattle and Warwick’s in San Diego). This has led me to think about other fantastic bookstores around the country and the world — which, as it turns out, is something a lot of readers and writers think about.
Here’s one of my all-time favorites, El Ateneo, housed in a converted theater in Buenos Aires:
This Huffington Post list of readers’ favorites includes many of my own, as does Flavorwire’s top 10. And El Ateneo is on this list of converted bookstores (if you think converting a theater into a bookstore is creative, how about ships, trailers, and manure tanks? not to mention castles and movie theaters) — as well as Lonely Planet’s top 1o greatest bookshops.
And one of the best things about an independent bookstore, of course, is the bookstore cat (or cats). I loved doing a workshop and reading at King’s Books in Tacoma, Washington, along with two feline attendees:
(I did not take it personally when both cats fell asleep on the tables during my workshop.)
For Bay Area readers and cat people, the San Francisco Chronicle compiled a list of bookstore cats that includes some very important stats: the cats’ favorite food, favorite places/genres for sleeping, and estimated amount of time spent sleeping. And in this article, Mental Floss features 12 bookstore cats with hilarious photos of them sprawled over the new fiction or snoozing in the stacks. So far, I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting one of these cats (Guthrie from Boston Book Annex), but wish I could meet them all.
I hope 2011 brings us all to many more fabulous independent bookstores — let’s not forget how much we writers and readers need them, and how much they need our support, too.