The beautiful summer weather is calling for you to grab a blanket, something cold to drink, and a good book to relax with on the beach: Whether you’re all about the forbidden romances, true crime, or science fiction, you deserve to treat yourself and get lost in a bewitching story.
To help you find that perfect paperback, stop at one of these fantastic local bookstores where you’ll discover cozy nooks, well-read staff, maybe some friendly four-legged furballs, and of course, plenty of great books.
This small bookstore seems to continuously expand as you turn down new undiscovered corners with countless books lining the walls. When I visited, the tiniest little dog lazily followed me around the stacks looking at me for extra scratches. But whether you come here to browse or know exactly what book you’re looking for, Sixth Chamber believes in book serendipity – letting the book find the reader – especially in the New Arrivals section. Though if you can’t find the book you want, Sixth Chamber will put the title on a ‘Wish List’ and let you know whenever a copy of your book shows up.
One of the largest independent bookstores in the Midwest, this new and used bookstore calls Uptown their home. With a huge collection covering all subject matter, you’ll be able to find new releases as well as unusual and rare books. And be sure to check out their collectible section where they showcase “beautiful, one-of-a-kind editions” they’ve collected throughout the years. While most come for the books, you should also stay for the many events hosted at Magers & Quinn that include author readings, discussions, and even free workshops.
Midway Books is not your shiny, glossy bookstore. Rather, the store feels like the well-worn copy of your favorite forgotten novel. Midway houses over 100,000 books that include eclectic subjects ranging from folklore to the military, vintage comic books and magazines, and boasts the largest selection of art books in the Midwest. I browsed all three floors of Midway finding a seemingly endless selection to choose from. You’ll definitely want to set aside some time to properly explore all Midway has to offer.
This is not your ordinary bookstore. When you walk in the door, Wild Rumpus transforms as if you had stepped directly into the narrative of a children’s book with the ceiling painted like open clear waters and cozy chairs strewn throughout the store. And the unconventional decor matches the unusual occupants. You literally find a dozen animals wandering the book stacks nestling in for a nap or scurrying towards customers looking for extra attention. Cats, rats, birds, a tarantula, fish, and chinchillas all call Wild Rumpus home. Did I mention they also sell books? Granted, the books sold are children’s books, but Wild Rumpus is definitely worth a visit that will transport you back in time to your own childhood.
With a large collection of over 25,000 books you’ll be sure to find the one you want in this cozy and charming bookstore. As they say on their website, “Our collection includes nearly every category you could want and few you have no interest in.” Their books range from old and rare editions with their oldest dating back to 1787 to new releases written by local Minnesotan authors. Eat My Words loves showcasing local artists with small concerts, readings, and signings. Keep an eye out for new events like Open Mic night where you can share your own poems and stories or join in on the monthly Society of Puzzling People to piece together a jigsaw puzzle as fast as you can.
Located in a beautiful and historic high-rise in downtown St. Paul (it’s also downtown’s first bookstore in over thirty years), Subtext is that special kind of store that knows the experience is just as important as the things you buy: Of course you could be ordering literature from Amazon, but with a friendly and knowledgeable staff always on hand with spot-on recommendations from their well-curated selection of modern masterpieces and timeless classics, great conversation with other book lovers, a colorful and lively vibe, and that undeniably fantastic smell of paper when you walk through the door, there’s nothing quite like an in-person visit.
And, if you’re truly still stumped for what to read, check out the New York Times recommended summer reading list.