The Crossroads 500 is our ever-growing list of the coolest, most interesting, creative and inspiring people, places and things in the big ol’ world of storytelling. You can nominate someone or something by clicking here.
So maybe we shouldn’t have started this right before the July 4th holiday because we kinda got to partying and one thing led to another, and well… we got behind. But we’re back and we’ll get caught up. No worries, right?
Let’s start by turning our attention to those awesome, indie places that sell the books we love to read, those local shops that give local writers a chance to have their first reading and still bring in established pros. This time, we focused on those east of the mighty Mississippi and south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Others will come.
Note: Macon’s Golden Bough Books was featured in the first installment of the Crossroads 500. It’s a must-visit bookstore.
In no particular order, here are 14 great bookshops. Find them online and follow them on Twitter, but experience them in person:
A Capella Books, in Atlanta’s Little Five Points, has hosted a host of amazing writers and partnered with the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library – Atlanta - www.acappellabooks.com - @acappellabooks
The Book Tavern in the birthplace of James Brown shows its soul (and some funk) there in beautiful downtown Augusta, Ga., befriending local authors and being a small business booster – www.booktavern.com - @booktavern
Little Shop of Stories in the heart of Decatur, Ga., where thousands and thousands gather every year for the Decatur Book Festival – www.littleshopofstories.com - @lilshopostories
You’ll find another of Georgia’s great bookstores, Avid Bookshop, in Athens, where indie music and college football usually steal the stage – www.avidbookshop.com - @AvidBookshop
If you’re on a tour of the literary South, you’ll have to stop in Oxford, Miss., which was home to William Faulkner, Larry Brown, Barry Hannah and John Grisham, a legacy fortified by the three buildings of Square Books - www.squarebooks.com - @SquareBooks
Speaking of Oxford’s former postmaster, N’awlins pays homage to the writer’s time in the Cresent City at Faulkner’s House of Books - http://www.faulknerhouse.net/
One of the best and biggest bookshopping experiences you’ll have in the Wordy South will be found at one of the three McKay Books in Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville. - www.mckaybooks.com - @McKayBooksKnox
Music City, USA could be Indie Bookstore, USA because Nashville is also home to both Bookman/Bookwoman in historic Hillsboro Village (www.bookmanbookwoman.com) and Parnassus Books, run by the one and only Ann Patchett, author of “Bel Canto” and “State of Wonder” (www.parnassusbooks.net).
Crossroads alums Kevin Maurer and Mitch Weiss recently had a reading at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Fla., so you know they have great taste in writers! – www.booksandbooks.com - @BooksandBooks
Church Street Coffee & Books in a suburb of Birmingham, Ala., took up a home in a place where Starbucks lived for ten years, and they seem to be pretty successful there too! - http://www.churchstreetshop.com/ - @81churchstreet
Charleston, South Carolina is beautiful enough and historic enough to warrant visits there on those grounds alone, but if you find yourself looking for the best in Young Adult writing, don’t miss its YA’LL Fest and Blue Bicycle Books – www.bluebicyclebooks.com - @BlueBikeBooks
After you go see the massive Biltmore Estate, swing by Malaprop’s Bookstore in downtown Asheville, a magnet for great writers, big time and small – www.malaprops.com – @malaprops
No, filmmaker John Waters does not own Atomic Books, but this great indie bookstore in downtown Baltimore will take your fan mail for the quirky auteur. www.atomicbooks.com - @atomicbooks
So… you’re wondering why Strand, Powell’s or City Lights make the list? Because you don’t need us to tell you they’re awesome. Technically, you don’t need us to tell you anything. But, we like being helpful so we hope you got something out of this.
If you think we missed a great bookstore, nominate them here.