Five Fictional Bookstores You Won't Want to Miss

It’s a poorly-kept secret that many librarians deep down really love– gasp – a really great bookstore. While I love libraries so much I try to visit a new one every time I travel, I’m no exception. I love inhaling that new-book smell while wandering past stacks of pristine, never-touched books. Ditto for the slightly musty scent of a well-stocked used bookstore, with shelves of hidden treasures waiting for the discerning browser.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that I also can’t resist a great fictional bookstore. Who wouldn’t want to walk in wonder through J.K. Rowling’s Flourish and Blotts or pop into Portlandia’s Women and Women First? Take a stroll through this eclectic collection of fictional bookstores and you’ll be a fan as well.


The Storied Life of A .J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Grumpy, disillusioned A.J. Fikry is more than ready to leave his woes and his failing bookstore on Alice Island far behind. He’s even willing to sacrifice his most prized possession – a 1st edition copy of Poe’s Tamerlane – to do so. It takes a midnight theft and a surprise package to help A.J. see his life, love, and yes, his bookstore, in a whole new light.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
When unemployed website designer Clay Jannon takes a job working the night shift at San Francisco book store, he agrees to honor the odd stipulation he never to open a single book. Intrigued by the quirky shop’s odd design and eccentric customers, he embarks on an adventure using technologies old and new to solve an ancient mystery.

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron
As a young boy in post-war Barcelona, Daniel Sempere’s father took him to a secret bookstore called the Cemetery for Forgotten Books and allowed him to choose just one book to take home. Daniel found solace and wisdom in his chosen book as a boy. As an adult, however, he encounters secrets and tragedies as he attempts to track down the author of The Shadow of the Wind.  


The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
Jean Perdu doesn’t just sell books from his bookshop on a Paris barge; his customers go home with books to cure their bodies and souls. Monsieur Perdu, however, has never found the written words to repair his own broken heart. A shocking revelation from his past causes him to flee Paris on his floating bookshop on a journey to reconnect with life.  

The Bookshop On The Corner by Jenny Colgan
When British librarian Nina Redmond loses her job due to budget cuts, she picks up the pieces of her life and relocates to the Scottish Highlands. There she uses her skills in literary matchmaking to run a bookshop from a refurbished van. While exploring the wide beautiful vistas, she finds new friends and a few matchmaking opportunities of her own.

-Rebecca Wolff, George Mason Regional Library

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