book towns

My husband and I took a day trip this weekend to explore the town of Ann Arbor, MI. We’d driven through before and thought it would be an interesting place to check out, and a free Saturday combined with beautiful spring weather prompted us to do just that.

It may be that I would love to be a professional student, but there’s something I find undeniably attractive about college towns. Of course, I have yet to find one that can stand up to my own college town of Athens, Ohio (there is a slight chance I’m biased), but Ann Arbor certainly has its appeal. One aspect of that appeal is the stong presence of independent bookstores throughout the town.

Just within a few blocks of campus, we wandered in and out of at least 3 or 4 independent bookstores, each with its own character. The Shaman Drum Bookshop was light and airy, with two storefronts, polished wooden shelving, and colorful displays. Another store, whose name I don’t remember, specialized in rare and antique books, and had shelves and shelves of books I was afraid to touch for fear of them disintegrating in my hands. A third had my favorite name of the day — The Dawn Treader Book Shop — and the ceiling-high shelves were literally packed to the eaves with books spanning countless genres and decades.

I love towns like this, ones that embrace a book culture — book towns, I call them. On a trip west this fall, I felt the same way about Portland and Seattle; both cities clearly treasured the book stores within them, and it gave you the sense of being within a community of readers. Though there are plenty of places to buy books here in Fort Wayne, few have the character or the atmosphere of those I visited this weekend. 

So what other book towns are out there? Bonus points if they have amazing ice cream parlors as well.

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~ by Molly on March 16, 2009.

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