Mary Beard wants a campaign for real bookstores, and solicits suggestions for "real" bookstores. Here are my favorites (and woefully incomplete, I know):

  • image The Harvard Book Store, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. A must since Wordsworth disappeared. Good basement with used books and remainders.
  • The Harvard COOP, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. Managed by Barnes and Noble, but with enough sophistication and volume both for staff and clientele that the selection is good and the advice competent, unless you happen upon an employee from the days before B&N took over.
  • City Lights, San Francisco. A bit of a legend and a tad long in the underground tooth, but excellent selection and very knowledgeable staff (even if you arrive in a business suit.)
  • Tronsmo, Oslo. Small bookstore with interesting books (and really good on cartoons, which is not my thing). Truly independent, good for a surprise every time you stick your head in.
  • Blackwell's, OxfordBlackwell’s, Oxford, UK. Enormous and somewhat disorganized, but selection, selection, selection.
  • The Jeffery Amherst Bookshop, Amherst, MA. Only been there once, but liked it a lot (and so did my elder daughter.)

Other suggestions (or, by all means, leave comments over with Mary.)