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Livin' la Vida Lacy - Bookstores are my happy place

What are your thoughts on bookstores? If you’re reading my column, you must enjoy reading books too, right … or am I the exception? If it’s the second thing, I’m super flattered.

Fun fact about me – I’m an avid reader. Sure, there may be some days that my mind is tired after spending my day writing, but I love adding new words and phrases to my vocabulary. Unlike my husband Ross, I tend to lean more toward fiction. I love this definition of the word “writer” – a magical creature that converts coffee into other worlds.

For me, there’s no better way to discover these worlds than browsing in a bookstore. Yes, I do order from Amazon, but I still just buy the hard copy. If I love the book, it goes into my personal library.

If not, I’ll write a little something on a sticky note, stick it somewhere between the book’s pages, then add it to one of our local Free Little Libraries for someone else to read. I’d like to believe those books wind up in the hands of someone who can connect with the story… someone who needs a little Post-it note of encouragement to uplift their spirit.

Back to bookstores, when I lived in Nashville, my favorites were close to Lipscomb’s campus – Parnassus Books and Rhino Booksellers. While I once bought Zoe an awesome pop-up of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by Robert Sabuda at Rhino, Parnassus is my favorite. With a thoughtfully curated selection, knowledgeable staff and warm atmosphere, Ross and I drop by whenever we’re in Nashville.

Even when Ross and I travel, I’d drawn to bookstores. In fact, since my niece was a toddler, any time we’d go to a new state, I’d find a special bookstore, search for a children’s book and choose one especially for her. On the inside, I’d date it with the location, name of the bookstore, and write an inscription for her. She loves them and has a pretty great collection so far.

It’s not just the books though. It’s a combination of the coffee, stationary, journals and other random book-related items that make it so wonderful. Here’s a look at the top three I’ve enjoyed during my explorations.

Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar – While visiting Asheville, N.C., Ross and I stumbled upon this store. It’s such a neat place full of aisles of used books organized by subject matter, nooks with comfy leather chairs, and an excellent coffee bar. I purchased a fabulous leather bound travel journal there.

Sundog Books – I adore this bookstore in Seaside, Fla., and it’s my favorite part of every trip to the beach with the fam. It’s so nostalgic and quaint with a record store upstairs. Who doesn’t read on the beach? I mean, what else is there to do if you’re not in the ocean?

Alexander Book Company – Discovered this three-level bookstore in San Francisco, Calif., which was perfect for browsing. The children’s selection was great and I bought Zoers a book called “Zoe Gets Ready” by Bethanie Murguia. Zoe was convinced I’d had the story written for her, especially since the illustration had a red-headed little girl.

Standard reporter Lacy Garrison can be reached at 473-2191.