I was delighted to gather yesterday that finished copies of THE GIST - something I've been working on since before my son was born, and he's now eight, for the love of god - are on their way. There's a guest blog coming out a week on Friday detailing the project's tangled road to existence, so I won't go into it now. Let's just say... it took a bloody long time.

There's information on the book here. The story concerns, in part, an antiquarian bookstore in London's Cecil Court, a 'book street' of the type that barely survives these days. This gives me an excuse to ask a question I've wanted to pose for ages: what's your favorite bookstore?

I've got a few. Bookshop Santa Cruz heads the field at the moment, as it's not only great but a mere fifteen minutes' walk from my front door. Logos downtown is also excellent, especially for second-hand and ephemera. Then there's the lose-half-a-day-in-it Elliot Bay Book Company in Seattle (which, were it closer, might well top the list), Powell's in Portland, the Strand in NYC, one I can never remember the name of but is right by Café de Flore in Paris, and the Barnes & Noble on 3rd Street in Santa Monica, in which I've beguiled many a happy hour. Oh and Hennessy and Ingalls, obviously, also in Santa Monica. And the Mysterious Bookshop in Tribeca, and Goldsboro (which actually is in Cecil Court), and Colin Page Antiquarian in Brighton, and the Waterstones in Brighton is very decent, and also Brighton Books, and Small World Books in Venice Beach, and ... okay, there's lots, and that's just off the top of my head.

But these are the ones I already know. I want, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, to know about the bookstores that I don't even know that I don't know. Tell me their names. Tell me where they are. Tell me why they're great. Do it now. Don't feel they have to be chi-chi independants that only sell pert little volumes by David Sedaris and Michael Chabon, either. If you love a bookstore that's part of a huge chain, that's just as good. Snobbery has no place when it comes to the love of books. If we want to be able to walk in off the street and touch and peruse and buy these things, charmed by serendipity and happenstance, we need to support the places that sell them.

And we need to know where they are. I'll be honest. My motivation here is to glom a list of great bookstores to hit when I happen to be in the relevant area. But hopefully it'll also be of use to anyone else who reads the comments, and I'm going to throw in another incentive, too:

Anyone who adds a suggestion - preferably backing it up with a list of reasons to schlep to wherever the bookstore may be - will be entered into the Grand Prize Draw for a signed copy of THE GIST, which will happen a week today, on the 30th of May.

Seriously, what are you waiting for?

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