Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week’s theme is:
October 16: Bookstores/Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit
For this week’s topic, I’ve chosen to talk about bookstores I’d love to visit. I’m saving libraries for another time because I was thinking of doing ‘libraries on my bucket list’ post (is this something you’d like to see?). I couldn’t include Foyles at Charing Cross Road or Shakespeare and Co. in Paris on this list because I’ve already been, but there are plenty of others I’d really like to see.
1. Strand Bookstore, New York
Strand Bookstore is one of the biggest independent book shops in New York. Famous for it’s slogan, ’18 miles of books’, the Strand moved several times before settling in its present location on East 12th Street. I’d love to visit and see its huge sprawling shelves and stacks of books. I’m always happy to support indie stores so I could see myself picking up plenty of books there.
2. Words on the Water, London
This is one of the few independent book sellers in London that I’ve not visited yet. Situated near Kings Cross, Words on the Water is unique in the fact that it’s a book shop that’s actually a barge. (They even call themselves a ‘bookbarge’.) Sporting overhead canopies to keep everything dry and an inviting green gang plank, it sits on the Regents Canal Towpath all year round. Although not the biggest of shops, it’s certainly one of the most individual and quaint.
3. El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires
The El Ateneo is definitely one of the most beautiful book shops in the world. The building opened originally as a theatre and its architecture is the main reason I’d love to see it. The interior is filled with huge ceiling frescoes that were painted by Nazareno Orlandi there are shelves on every level of the gallery.
4. Polare Maastricht, Netherlands
This book shop is known for being uniquely situated in a Medieval Dominican church and was renovated to such a standard that it earned the Lensvelt Award for Interior Architecture. The church is more than 700 years old and allows pets inside, so you can take your dog to browse with you. I’ve always been a fan of church architecture, so I’d be fascinated to see this atmospheric store.
5. Barnes and Noble, New York
This is arguably the Holy Grail of Barnes and Noble stores. Famous for it’s beautiful red bricked and green canopied store front, the Union Square branch boasts four floors of books and a dedicated Nook section devoted to e-readers and accessories. I’m no stranger to climbing flights and flights of stairs in bookstores, and I’d love to do so in this iconic store.
6. T-Site Tsutaya, Tokyo
I visited several Tsutaya branches in Kansai when I was in Japan, but I would absolutely love to go to the flagship store in Tokyo, T-Site. This is housed over three floors in three buildings and looks nothing short of a book wonderland. Just a few minutes from Shibuya, the building is stylish and modern, and I’m almost weeping tears of joy imagining the amount of manga they’d have.
7. Livraria Lello, Portugal
This is the oldest bookshop in Portugal and probably one of the most beautiful in the world. Founded in 1881, it’s famous for its stunning forked staircase and wooden balusters. It also still has the original rails and cart used to move books around the store when it was first opened. The design of Livraria Lello is what really appeals to me, as I love old, wood-heavy buildings with rich histories and masses of shelves.
8. Leaky’s Bookshop, Scotland
Leaky’s is the largest second-hand bookstore in Scotland and, like Polare, is housed inside an old church. The spiral staircase and log burner give this shop a classic yet cosy feel. The owners have kept Leaky’s in business for more than 22 years and believe that having the right selection of books is the key to a thriving store. This shop reminds me of Barter Books in Alnwick (one of my favourite bookstores ever) with it’s tall shelves and log fire, so I think I’d really enjoy making a trip there.
9. El Pendulo, Mexico
This bookstore is a perfect blend of open space and elegant fittings. The cafe/bar means that you can relax with a drink after browsing the rows upon rows of bookshelves. I also love how much greenery there is in this store, as it gives a really organic feel. The walls and fittings are even painted green to match, and it looks like a relaxing place to spend an afternoon.
10. Cărturești Carusel, Romania
The final bookstore on my list is the stunning Cărturești Carusel in Bucharest. With its white columns and walls, and beautiful gold lighting, it looks like it came straight from bookworm heaven. The building was original a bank headquarters, which explains why it’s so grand. From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, the building sadly fell into decay, but after a five-year renovation project, it’s open again and looks wonderful.
Which bookstores are on your bucket list? Would you like to visit any of the ones I’ve mentioned here?