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Literary Friday: For the {bookish} Armchair Traveler

Friday, February 9, 2018

Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  

Footnotes* from the World's Greatest Bookstores by Bob Eckstein is the perfect book for the bookish armchair traveler.  Eckstein's illustrations of the stores along with brief descriptions, histories,  and anecdotes from booksellers make this not only a fun read, but also a travel guide.

My oldest daughter Shanley Belle and I have been on a few road trips, most of them instigated and planned by me.  In order to give the trip a little "you appeal" to her, I'd always tell her about a really cool indie bookstore either on the way to or in the locale I wanted to visit.

It worked every single time.  Her first question was always: "What's my limit?  How many hardbacks will you buy me?"  Yes, I was expected to pay for her company on the trip, and the cost: books.

We've visited some beautiful cities, and we've shopped at some lovely bookstores with the most helpful booksellers.  Some of our favorites:  Sundog Books in Seaside, FL; Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, KY; The Book Loft, Columbus, OH; Volumes Bookcafe, Chicago, IL; Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA; and Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.  I can remember all the books I've bought at the indies, and even some of the books my daughter bought.  Most of the them were recommended by the booksellers, and I've never been disappointed.  One common denominator in our favorite indies is a recommendation shelf.  I always see who's recommending books I've already read and liked, and then I find that person and talk to him or her about new releases and what I should read next.  This system has never failed me.  

While reading Footnotes* from the World's Greatest Bookstores, I found a few stores that I really want to visit one day here in the United States.  The first one is Word Bookstore in Brooklyn.  I would love to visit Brooklyn because there are so many unique and talented artisans who live there, and I enjoyed the sweet blurb about the store in Footnotes*.  The second bookstore is in Ojai, California:  Bart's Books.  It's outdoors, and they have an honor system.  Plus, there have been several documentaries made about this unique store.  The third one is here in the South:  Burke's Book Store in Memphis.  I like the story about the current owners that's shared in the book. 

Luckily for me, the only bookstore in the world that sells only signed books (many are first editions) is here in Birmingham:  The Alabama Booksmith.  Oh, how I do love that store!  I get happy whenever I see an email in my inbox from The Alabama Booksmith because I know my library is about to expand with a signed book I'll cherish.  

It's signed, so you can guess from where I purchased this little gem of a book...

I feel both proud and blessed having this bookstore a mere 12.3 miles from our home.  YAY!

Our daughter lives two states away now, and she's a PhD student and research scientist who doesn't get much vacation time.  Although I no longer have to bribe her to go on vacations or road trips with me when she's off, she still asks: "Mom, I wonder if there're any neat indie bookstores on the way?"  I can't break the tradition; we still include in our itinerary a visit to an indie bookstore or two.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. When our son was about 3, a fabulous children's bookstore opened right next door to our local grocery store. The owner was a former children's librarian who lost her job when library funding was cut. She encouraged moms to drop their kids in the store while we shopped and we rewarded our kids with books. It speeded up our shopping and of course Jody made a lot of sales. But sadly, Adventures For Kids was pushed out when Barnes and Noble came to town.

    1. One goal I have for my blog is to promote indie bookstores. I have nothing against Amazon (I'm a prime member) or other large bookstores, but our local stores need our support, too. I always try to "buy local."

  2. Oh RJ, this is a great post. First, I enjoyed reading about you and your daughters fun visiting the book stores on your road trips. What a great way to pay your daughter! And, as you already know Sundog books is one of my favorites. I've never read a book from there I didn't enjoy. I have to make a list of these book stores to visit if we get to these locations. Jim and I need to get to the bookstore in Bham. I think we've been there already but it's off our beaten path and I forget to go. I have to get World's Greatest Bookstores......Thanks RJ..

  3. I have thoroughly enjoyed the copy you gave me! I like to find the little bookstores, too, when I travel. I plan to look into many more, especially now that I have this book to guide me.

  4. I love it- no matter what it takes mother daughter time is worth it. You will both remember those road trips for years. Once they get married and have families of their own your time with your kids changes and then you have those wonderful memories to look back on. The bonus, if you are lucky, is that you form relationships with the grandkids and can take them along for the ride. We have had a deal with our grands that the year they turn 13 we take them to the beach all by themselves.

    Have a wonderful weekend- xo Diana

  5. What a sweet story about you and your daughter! The book sounds adorable!

  6. What a great road trip activity! And how wonderful she loves to stop there and wants the books too. And even better it has lasted into adulthood. Bravo, good mom! Building a reader who loves it like you do!

    This sounds like a terrific book. You HAVE read "84 Charing Cross Road," "Duchess of Bloomsbury Street" and "Q's Legacy" by Helene Hanff, haven't you? Very short reads, all of them (do in that order) but oh, talk about a love of books! The first edition note in your post reminded me of that!

  7. Love this post..
    How awesome to get paid in books, lol!


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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