indie bookstores in football towns

We’ve been watching a lot of football at our house today — Ohio State vs. Illinois, Oregon State vs. Arizona, and Penn State vs. Iowa, among others.  But it doesn’t take much for my train of thought to turn from football to books.

I am a sucker for college towns with thriving downtowns — especially ones with great independent bookstores.  And both State College, PA (home of Penn State) and Corvallis, OR (home of Oregon State) fit that bill.  I’ve had the pleasure of traveling through both towns, and on both trips I managed to stumble upon a store I could definitely see myself spending lots of time (and probably money) in if I were a local.

If you ever happen to find yourself in Corvallis, make sure you check out Grass Roots Books and Music.  When my husband and I wandered through this store on a trip to the West Coast last year, we fell in love with it — me with their taste in books, him with their taste in music, and both of us with the general feel of the store.  It’s one of those places that seems to be exactly what an indie bookstore should be.  You can find them online at

And if you’re going through State College, be sure to stop in Webster’s.  Webster’s is both a coffeehouse and a bookstore, and also offers a pretty wide selection of vinyl records.  Most of their books are used, but they do have some new editions of popular titles as well, and the subjects of the books vary as widely as those of the university’s courses do.  Between the coffee and the huge selection, it would be easy to camp out for hours in Webster’s.  But if you’d like to check them out on the web instead, you can find them at

I’ve never been to the campuses of Illinois, Arizona, or Iowa, and though I’ve spent plenty of time in Columbus, I haven’t really had a chance to check out the indie bookatore scene.  But if you’ve happened to discover worthwhile stores in any of these places (or others, really — I’m not picky), please share!


~ by Molly on September 27, 2009.

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