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Happenings: Book it Across the US

Bookstores—places of knowledge, refuge, and tranquility. A hideout where you can wander aimlessly down aisles packed with the words of the greats. A sanctuary where you can learn about everything from the Civil War to astrophysics to the deepest human emotions. Within the walls of each bookstore is a unique world waiting for you to come and explore. Whether you’re looking for a hushed haven or a place to embark on your next great literary adventure, you’re sure to find it in one of the following US bookstores.

Nicole Murphy

An outline of the US labeled with numbers 1–7

1. Powell’s City of Books—Portland, OR


This massive building is the United States’ largest independently owned bookstore. A true book-lover’s paradise, the store offers an extensive selection of over three million new and used books in any genre imaginable. Whether you’re looking for a rare first edition or want the latest YA bestseller, you’re sure to find it here.

2. Skylight Books—Los Angeles, CA


This mystical bookstore is a compilation of everything that makes the City of Angels magical. Designed to highlight the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, this bookstore incorporates the beauty of nature into every room—starting with a large ficus tree in the middle of the main floor.

3. Faulkner House—New Orleans, LA


Located in the heart of the French Quarter, this bookstore is housed in a building that was once the home of writer and Nobel Laureate William Faulkner. Feel the still, reverent energy of literary creativity embedded in the very structure of the building as you search the massive shelves for the next title that will change the way you see the world.

4. Square Books—Oxford, MS


This bookstore is known for its tremendous size. Three separate buildings, all owned and operated by the same staff, make up an entire city square. With one large central store, one store dedicated to children’s books, and one store housing all of the lifestyle and used titles, you’ll be able to explore an entire world of books without having to walk more than 100 feet (30 meters) from store to store.

5. Strand Book Store—New York, NY


This bookstore dates back to 1927. At the time of its founding, the store was located on the 4th Avenue “Book Row”; today, however, it is one of the only bookstores still standing. The Strand’s claim to fame is that if you were to lay down all of their books spine to fore edge, you’d see that the store has over 18 miles (29 kilometers) of books for sale on any given day.

6. Harvard Book Store— Cambridge, MA


Associated with the famous Ivy League, the Harvard Book Store is home to some nerdy, bookish gems that you won’t want to miss. The store houses a bookmaking robot (named “Gutenborg”) which you can watch bind your very own copy of your favorite book. Additionally, if you’re staying in the area, be sure to check out the store’s bike delivery service and have your online order delivered by a bike-riding employee.

7. Montague Bookmill—Montague, MA

Step into the pages of your favorite 1800s novel at Montague Bookmill. This papery wonderland operates out of an old grist mill that was built in 1842. Enjoy the soothing sounds of the bubbling Sawmill River as you cozy up with your favorite book in one of the quaint and comfy reading nooks.

A row of books