I have been rewatching Gilmore Girls in anticipation of the new episodes being released in November. I love how present books are in the show, and it is always fun to see what Rory is reading. Fans of the show know that the townspeople and their businesses feature prominently in Gilmore Girls. Add the small Connecticut town of Stars Hollow to the list of fictional places I would like to live. I was recently watching an episode from season one where Rory wandered into Stars Hollow Books with her dad when he is visiting. The cute, little bookstore features in other episodes of the show, and I started daydreaming about walking down the aisles and picking out a few books. It got me to thinking about other fictional bookstores I would like to visit.
Black & White & Read Bookstore, Gilmore Girls
Add this to the list of reasons that Stars Hollow is an awesome place: they have two bookstores even though it is a small town. Black & White & Read hosts regular screenings of old movies. I would gladly pull up a chair, bring some snacks and watch a movie among shelves of books with my favorite residents of Stars Hollow.
Flourish & Blotts, Harry Potter Series
Being the Potter fan I am, I cannot forget to mention Flourish & Blotts, the bookstore in Diagon Alley where Hogwarts students have been buying their school books for years. During Harry’s first visit there in Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone, the store is described as a place, “…where the shelves were stacked to the ceiling with books as large as paving stones bound in leather; books the size of postage stamps in covers of silk; books full of peculiar symbols and a few books with nothing in them at all.” The bookstore pops up throughout the series, including being the site of fight between Arthur Weasley and Lucius Malfoy during a Gilderoy Lockhart book signing in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. We also see the poor bookseller struggling with his stock of The Monster Book of Monsters in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I will take a moment here to imagine wandering the aisles with Hermione and checking out all her favorite titles.
Sempere & Sons Bookstore & the Cemetery of Forgotten Books (Cemetery of Forgotten Books Series)
Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s series starts out with The Shadow of the Wind, which is our first introduction to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a vast, old library of winding shelves, full of titles that have been forgotten. The books are lovingly preserved there for the few that are allowed access to the library. Tradition dictates that anyone initiated into this place must take one title and protect it for life. The novel unfolds when young Daniel Sempere selects The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax. Daniel’s dad runs a bookstore called Sempere & Sons, so, needless to say, bookstores and libraries play a prominent part in Zafón’s series. Added bonus: the series is set in Barcelona, a city I visited and loved back in 1996. I will gladly accept a trip back to Barcelona that includes a visit to Zafón’s fictional locations.
Women & Women First, Portlandia
I would love to visit Toni and Candace at the fictional feminist bookstore, Women & Women First. They do not get a large number of customers, and their behavior toward their customers often leads to customers leaving the store without buying anything, but I can’t help but love Toni and Candace’s dedication to keeping their bookstore going, despite the fact that feminist bookstores in the U.S. are becoming more and more rare. It is not just the awesome selection of feminist books and merchandise that makes this store appealing, but it is also the way that Women & Women First allows us to laugh at feminism without resorting to the mean insults normally used. Even with my MA in Women’s Studies and my feminism, I am not sure I would be able to please Toni and Candace enough to have the chance to buy something in their store, but it would be worth a try.
What are your favorite fictional bookstores? Share them in the comments.