No matter how much people may love their electronic reading devices, nothing beats perusing the neighborhood bookstore’s shelves for the perfect literary treasure. These cozy corner shops have always been the best places to dig through stacks for buried treasure, and to befriend smart, eccentric folks. Reading clubs, live music, book signings and readings are the glue that holds book-loving neighbors together. Here are five of St. Louis’s best independent bookstores helping to build community in our neighborhoods.
Left Bank Books
399 N. Euclid Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63105
This gem in the Central West End has been a book buyer’s destination for years. Left Bank coordinates eight reading groups that meet downstairs, including groups for teens, authors, gay and lesbian reading groups, Shakespeare festival reading and more. The store’s website maintains a hefty calendar of events, including in-store groups and signings as well as offsite events like poetry readings, Indie Bookstore Alliance events, and other literary events throughout the city. You can also be a member of the community as a member of the Friends of Left Bank Books and through the loyalty program for frequent customers.
The Book House
9719 Manchester Road
Saint Louis, MO 63119
The Book House sells new, used and collectible books from an old home on Manchester. Warning: This is not a store for the claustrophobic! Each small room of the house is stacked floor to ceiling with books, the entire space is stuffed to the gills. The store is a major funding source the Second Chapter Life Center, a community organization for young adults with special needs, so you can feel good about spending your money here. The store hosts a number of events on a regular basis, including an Open Poetry Night and book signings.
6275 Delmar Blvd.
Saint Louis, MO 63130
One of the Indie establishments that keeps the U City Loop cool is Subterranean Books. The store is divided into a fiction-packed lower level and an upper level brimming with nonfiction and how-to books. Subterranean is known for their interesting and ecclectic selection, and it’s a great space for people watching. You can make friends over a favorite novel and wander off to a nearby coffee shop together! The store hosts a number signings each month, keep an eye on the calendar page for upcoming events.
Related: Top Poetry Events in St. Louis
The Archive Bookstore
2903 S. Jefferson Ave.
St Louis, MO 63118
The Archive is Benton Park’s neighborhood used bookstore, and it’s everything you’d expect to find in this offbeat neighborhood. Rack after rack of books, mismatched chairs for events, and eccentric but vaguely hip staff combine to create a homegrown, unpretentious ambiance. The Archive is home to the Exquisite Corpse Reading Series, which features a variety of readings, snacks, beverages, and sometimes a musical interlude.
3111 S. Grand Blvd.
St Louis, MO 63118
Dunaway has a reputation for being the best-organized used bookstore anywhere. The first floor, basement and mezzanine level are all as neatly arranged as any library. Dunaway specializes in unique items, like illustrated vintage travel books and science fiction magazine. Celebrate Musical Second Saturdays here from 5-7 p.m. by gathering around the baby grand piano with a glass of wine and some local musicians.
Lauren Haas is a writer who specializes in finding the fun! Lauren was the publisher of the St. Louis Area Family Gazette for eight years, and now writes freelance articles on St. Louis events and attractions, budget travel, arts and entertainment and fitness topics. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.