Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Winter West Coast Bookish Vacation/Bookstores

I hope that everyone is enjoying the winter/holiday break! This year, I thought I change of scenery might be refreshing for the holidays (still love you NYC!) and headed over to the West Coast for some vacation time in Seattle, WA and San Francisco, CA. Needless to say, between touring the local attractions, I went on a bookstore romp because yay bookstores! Here are some of the highlights definitely check them out if you are in the area!

SEATTLE - Lamplight Books

I actually came across this bookstore by accident when walking around Pike's Place Market. This rare and used bookstore is a cozy nook lit, as its name implies, by dozens of lamps scattered around the store. It boasts a large non-fiction and nature section which highlights the many beautiful natural parks in the area, as well as local flora and fauna. I didn't stick around too much as that day was particularly busy but I did notice that they had a substantial classics and modern/classics section which I would have liked to peruse with more time. This is the ideal bookstore to visit on a cold Seattle morning, proceeded by a long reading session at one of the local cafes with a latte and pastry in hand.

SEATTLE - Elliot Bay Book Co. 

Home to thousands of volumes and many literary/author events, Elliot Bay Book co. is Seattle's must-visit independent bookstore and is the quintessential perfect neighborhood bookstore. From the outside, it looks a bit like an abandoned cement warehouse, but once you step inside you get transported into a bookish wonderland. It looks and feels like someone crammed a cozy winter lodge full of books, a cafe, a second floor filled with even more books, and plenty of comfy chairs for reading. One of my favorite features was the Staff's pick and local interest/local authors shelf along with their sizable music and discount book section.

SEATTLE - Seattle Mystery Bookshop

What kind of a mystery fan would I be if I went to Seattle and didn't stop by their indie mystery store? Out of all the bookstores I visited this one was probably my favorite. The store it's is tucked away from the street and is only one room but it is amazing! they have bookshelves stuffed with every type of mystery book you could ask for. From noir to cozy, you name it, they have it. The only thing better than their selections were the booksellers who are extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and huge mystery fans themselves. They were down to chat, offer recommendations and put up with my endless questions and requests ( 'I want a fair play historical mystery set during the Klondike rush please!') This place won a special place in my list of favorites and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good whodunnit.

SAN FRANCISCO -  City Light Books

This bookstore is a landmark of the San Francisco literary scene. City Light Books is a bookstore and publisher that specializes in poetry, world literature, and progressive politics literature. It was founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin, and soon became a center of the city's beatnik scene. Today it boasts 3 floors of tall shelves stuffed with books and is particularly known for publishing the pocket poets series, and for its well followed podcast and blog. The store is dizzying in both its selections and the height of their bookshelves. 

SANTA CRUZ - Logos Books & Records 

This bookstore looks deceptively small from the outside but actually a huge two stories full of new and used books, and records. When you walk in you'll see some stairs that lead down to a 'pit' i.e. the lower level where the bulk of the books are and where you can spend hours browsing. My favorite part was the impressive selection of vintage fantasy and science fiction books with those wonderful weird pulpy covers from which I had to be dragged away from kicking and screaming. I apologize for not having a picture for this one. I was carrying an armful of books and couldn't hold my phone up, but take my work for it, it's great!

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