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Before the Summer Runs Out: A Road Trip Proposal
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Blog Entry
Before the Summer Runs Out: A Road Trip Proposal
Cali Kopczick
August 19, 2014

Summer is turning into autumn and vacation season is dwindling. With that in mind, we’ve thrown together a national road trip route that would, in theory, take you through most of the U.S. bookstore hubs. We also added some potentially obscure stop-offs to make the connect-the-dots more interesting, and though I personally interpret the resulting beastie as the head and forelimbs of a joyous anteater, we’d love to get your interpretations. The list of bookstores that we’d take you through is not exhaustive, but that’s not the point; efficiency and cost-effectiveness isn’t the point either—when we completed the circuit, the route was a meandering 9,500+ miles; the point is to launch a discussion: what are your favorite bookstores—the ones you’ve visited, the ones nearby, the ones you’ve only heard tell about? What would this kind of trip mean as an experience - of America, of literature, of space and taste and genre?

The point is also to open the possibility of a strange, messy route and draw unexpected connection - literally and figuratively - between bookstores. These bookstores are connected by a common function, a common purpose, yes; no doubt they’re connected by many of the same market demands and distribution channels; but they’re also connected by you, me, us—readers who discover new favorite bookstores everywhere we go. We may notice commonalities (and differences) that no website blurb or market report could capture, things like the smell of the neighborhood and the doodles on the staff recommendations and the little hidden jokes in themed displays.

So offer us your suggested amendments to this route. Offer us your joy, your analysis, your outrage that we could overlook this lovely city or that little gem. Please, offer us a name for this strange shape we’ve made! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Ed. Note: we're already hearing back from you, so we'll compile the reader suggestions below the roster. Keep the debate going in the comments, folks!


Find a more detailed, interactive version of the Google map here.

Route roster (starting with our hometown of Seattle and proceeding by metropolitan hub; reader suggestions are at the end):

Seattle, WA: Portland, OR: Boulder, CO and environs: San Francisco, CA: Los Angeles, CA: Santa Fe, NM and environs: Denver, CO: Austin, TX and environs: Houston, TX: New Orleans, LA: Atlanta, GA and environs: St. Louis, MO and environs: Asheville, NC and environs: New York, NY: Boston, MA and environs: Manchester, VT and environs: Cleveland, OH and environs: Chicago, IL and environs: Iowa City, IA and environs: Madison, WI and environs: Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN: Reader suggestions:

Number of comments: 2
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Sue-Ni DiStefano
Love your road trip proposal! On your way to/from the wonderful indies in NY, please stop by our independent used book shop, Broad Street Books, located in Branchville, NJ. We love visiting, supporting, & encouraging our fellow indies, so much thanks for this list! Sue-Ni DiStefano Broad Street Books

Ellen Smith
I love that you have included the fabulous Learned Owl Book Shop in Hudson, Ohio. It's both vibrant and charming.