Twenty-Something Tuesday[divider][/divider] Amazon’s great for its ability to stock nearly every book you can imagine, but it rather lacks charm. There’s no musty smell, charming handwritten book recommendations, local authors highlighted, or bookstore cats. It’s not a neighborhood staple, or the place where book lovers can go that everyone knows your name. And as big book aficionados at Literally, Darling, we wanted to highlight our favorite local book stores. Take a peek, maybe one of them is near you.
Buxton Village Books—Hatteras Island, N.C.
This tiny little store at the far end of the Outer Banks is about the size of a shoebox and is located on a S-curve that generally sends you flying past it without even knowing it’s there. But it’s absolutely worth the effort to turn around and pop in. Filled to the brim with the owner’s favorite books, handwritten recommendations, and knitting patterns, it’s utterly charming. My favorite is its wall of Southern literature, complete with local North Carolina writers, and a section devoted exclusively to the history of Outer Banks. —Katie
Riverby Books—Fredericksburg, Va.
Nestled in the quaint but charming stretch of Old Town Fredericksburg, Riverby’s stands out for its decor and the vastness of its collection. From antique books bundled into collectors packets (tied in bailing twine) to a treasure chest of kid’s books, there’s something for everyone. My favorite aspect is its very comprehensive history section broken down by wars, which includes shelves worth of offerings, as opposed to one or two. They also housed 1950s versions of Churchill’s memoirs on the Second World War and nearly all first editions of his “History of the English Speaking People,” which now proudly sit on my shelves. —Katie
Right smack in downtown Austin near our beloved Whole Foods stands BookPeople: large, tall and certainly hard to miss. You might be overwhelmed by the size of the building (which probably looks like your ordinary Barnes & Noble-esque bookstore) but once you walk in, you quickly realize you’re in some kind of Austin wonderland that you won’t want to leave for hours. While it has all the standards of your Barnes & Noble and Borders, it far exceeds what these chain bookstores have to offer. In Austin, we love our local, independent shops, and it’s hard to imagine shopping anywhere else. They have local and consignment authors, showcased and displayed to show their love for our city’s creatives. Not only do they have an expansive selection of books (seriously, anything and everything you could hope for), but they also keep a blog updating you on local authors and events in Austin, have wonderful book clubs for many different genres, and host free book signings and readings from both local and worldwide notable authors (LD authors have seen Junot Diaz, Jeanette Walls, and Stephan Pastis ALL FO’ FREE). My favorite part of the bookstore is the handwritten recommendations from staff that are almost always spot on. Can’t find what you’re looking for? There is someone browsing who probably has a brilliant list of recommendations (not to mention their helpful staff). Lastly, there are areas of the store set up like gift shops with stationery, cards, and other treasures from local vendors. —Melissa
Heartwood Books—Charlottesville, Va.
In a city that was home to famous writers like Edgar Allen Poe, William Faulkner, and John Grisham (not to mention Thomas Jefferson), it is not surprising to find that Charlottesville citizens have a deep-rooted love for books. This love for literature has manifested itself in more than 20 local bookstores that will tug at the heartstrings of every kind of bookworm. Amidst the hectic stretch of restaurants, bars and shops that make up “The Corner” at the University of Virginia is Heartwood Books, a white building on Elliewood Avenue that is so modest that you might walk by it without a second glance. But don’t be fooled by this used bookstore’s simple exterior—the inside of Heartwood cozily shelves hundreds of books ranging from “The Diary of Anne Frank” to medieval literature to “Birds of South Africa” and everything in between. Although dozens of bookshelves containing books of every shape and size may seem daunting at first, Heartwood’s owner, an older gentleman with as much character as his store, is always more than happy to help (seriously, I don’t know how I would have found “The Picture of Dorian Gray” without him). For the college student Heartwood is a haven of reasonably-priced books that will undoubtedly show up on the syllabi of English courses, but for the book lover Heartwood is simply perfection. —Maureen
Subterranean Books—Saint Louis, Mo.
Located on the amazing Delmar Loop, Subterranean is everything you want in a local bookstore. The small storefront is packed with titles, many of which are obscure or uniquely covered classics. The diverse selection makes browsing a wonderful way to spend some time, while also setting bookworms up to spend some serious dough. But no worries! Subterranean has a great rewards program. By signing up as a frequent customer, you are entitled to store credit equal to 10 percent of your total purchases, redeemable after your eighth visit to the store. —Bridey
Books of Wonder—New York, N.Y.
This quaint little shop in NYC specializes in children’s and young adult books, but there’s plenty of selection and both new and old books to choose from, as well as rare and out of print books in the back for the connoisseur. They also have frequent events with many different types of authors there and bonus!: They don’t charge extra for signed copies of books. —Courtney
A Novel Idea— Lincoln, Neb.
Complete with two loyal cat staff members, Padric & Eddy, A Novel Idea is exactly what you think of when you picture the quintessential neighborhood bookstore. They feature a wide variety of used, rare and out-of-print books. The best part? Just when you think the selection is over, you are escorted to the back behind shelves of books, revealing a book lover’s childhood dream—a hidden basement of books, an entire floor of treasures to browse! A must-see if you plan to visit Lincoln. —Kirstie [divider][/divider]