Top 10 Tuesdays: Bookstores/Libraries I’d Love to Visit

When I first saw this week’s prompt, my immediate assumption was that it needed to be real libraries or bookstores, which is something I would have really struggled with. I’m not much of a traveler, and when I do travel, bookstores and especially libraries are not really high on my priority list in terms of something I must visit. I always end up going to the bookstore every time I go anywhere, but I can’t say there are any that I know of off the top of my head that I’d love to visit. For libraries, although I might like to see them, it kind of seems silly for me to visit a library that I won’t be able to take a book out of! I decided instead to focus on some of the fictional libraries or bookstores that I would love to visit instead, if they were real.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) Belle’s Library from Beauty and the Beast – I think this is the first fictional library that I ever really got attached to. Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favourite Disney movies, and I think giving someone an entire library full of books is one of the most amazing gifts ever!

2) The Sunnydale High library/The Magic Box from Buffy the Vampire Slayer – I would have loved to hang out with Buffy and her friends in the library and read up about demon lore (although maybe I’d leave the fighting to those with superpowers). The Magic Box is not strictly a bookstore, but books seemed to be a huge majority of the shelves and I think it would have some fascinating things to read.

3) The Hogwarts Library/Flourish & Blotts from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – The scene early on in the series where Harry sneaks into the Restricted Section of the library has always been one of my favourites, and I think the library in general at Hogwarts would be such an interesting place to visit. Flourish & Blotts, where Harry first got his textbooks for school also sounds like a lot of fun.

4) The Baudelaire family’s library from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket – I don’t think we really get much about this library in the series since the Baudelaire’s house was destroyed, but I’ve always loved the way the children remembered their family’s library. There are actually many kinds of libraries throughout the series, but some of them are so specific that they’d be hard to have much interest in unless I liked the particular topic they focused on. The Baudelaire’s library sounded like a very comfortable place with plenty of books of many different kinds.

5) Lea’s Antiquarian Booksellers from The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – I absolutely loved this book, and I think a huge part of that for me was the way the main character, Margaret Lea, described books and reading. Margaret works at her family’s bookstore which sells (if I recall correctly) second-hand books, and it sounded like such an interesting shop. I also remember Vida Winter’s home having quite a huge library of its own too, so that might also be interesting to visit.

6) The Lunae Libri from Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl – To be honest, I’m remembering this one more from the movie than from the book, and I’ve only read the first book in the series. The Lunae Libri is the Caster library which is kept hidden and underground, and contains many books about the Caster world that can’t be used by mortals. I guess in that sense it would be pointless for me to go since I wouldn’t be able to touch any books, but it would be very cool to at least see it.

7) The Newberry Library from The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – I’m pretty sure this is a real library in Chicago, but I think that just goes to prove my point about not seeking out libraries. I was in Chicago a couple of years ago for a vacation, and never even thought of visiting this library. Partly, I’d want to visit it because it seems huge, and partly it’s because I think it would be really interesting to meet Henry.

8) The Letter Library from Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley – Although I loved this book in general, one of the best parts for me was reading about The Letter Library, which was a section of the bookshop where books are not for sale, but customers are encouraged to write, underline, highlight, etc. in them or leave letters in them for other people to find. As much as I hate writing in my books and I don’t really like reading books with lots of extra writing on the pages (I find it very distracting), I think this is such an amazing idea and so creative!

9) The bookshop from The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald – To be fair, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book but it is one where the opening of a bookshop played a major role. The book is about a woman named Sara who decides to open a bookshop in a small town in Iowa and give the people around her personalized recommendations for books that she thinks would be a good fit for them. I thought the book itself got a little boring toward the middle, but the concept of a bookstore where you can go and get specific and personal recommendations is theoretically amazing (even though I tend to hate asking for recommendations).

10) The public library from Matilda by Roald Dahl – Again, I’m thinking more of the movie version than the book. This is one of my all-time favourite movies, and I remember being absolutely fascinated by a very young Matilda walking to the library alone and spending hours there devouring books — and her sense of wonder when she learned that she could actually take books home too! It definitely inspired me to visit my own local library more often.


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