It reminds me of the first bookstore I fell in love with in my hometown where my Aunt Peggy brought books into my life as manager of the store. At Duck’s cottage, the very same ambience and excitement for books exists.
“They’ve a great mix of old and new titles and the owners post notes of recommendations on their shelves. I’ve never been let down when I’ve selected one of these books for my beach read.
“There’s a little sitting area inside and a porch to relax on outside where you can order coffee brewed from beans supplied by a local artisanal roaster and choose one of their house drinks – Coconut Crunch, Nutty Duck, Mucky Duck or the Swan. It’s wonderful.”
Find them online or head to 1240 Duck Road, Duck, NC 27949
Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights
Voted one of the ten most popular bookshops in the world by readers of The Guardian newspaper, Mr B’s is a real treasure. Delights include their eclectic range of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books, and their renowned selection of reading gifts for book lovers.
Choose from Reading Bundles (five carefully selected, thematically linked books), Reading Subscriptions (bespoke monthly parcels, beautifully wax sealed and gift wrapped) and Reading Spas.
Bookshop blogger Erica Jones tells us about her spa treatment. “In the Reading Spa, you sit down in Mr B’s bibliotherapy room with a cup of tea and a piece of cake and enjoy around an hour of dedicated bookseller attention.
“Bold book recommendations are a vital book selling skill, and the staff of Mr B’s have that talent in spades – which meant all I had to do was relax and enjoy my spa with Naomi who, after a long chat about my preferences, found me about 20 books to choose from, most of which I’d not seen before. The shop felt great to be in, from the striking booky furniture to the thoughtful decorative details.”
Discover more online or enter the emporium at 14/15 John Street, Bath, BA1 2JL
Politics and Prose
Launched in 1984, Politics and Prose has been an institution in Washington DC ever since. British/ American writer and resident of the city, Fiona J Mackintosh, says: “The store is the hub of all literary life in DC. What I most like is their non-stop series of readings – pretty much 365 days a year. They host some of the biggest literary names in the world but always find time to promote local writers.
“The store also publishes District Lines, an annual anthology of writing about Washington DC – I’ve had short stories in two of these – and holds readings for those published in the anthology.
“They even have their own print-on-demand machine for those who wish to self-publish. And Barack Obama used to do his Christmas shopping there every year! Politics and Prose really is the model for enterprising independent bookstores who wish to thrive and prosper in the 21st century without losing the personal touch.”
Find the popular shop online or visit 5015 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington, D.C. 20008
The American Book Center
A go-to community for writers and readers in Amsterdam, this shop has built quite a following. British ex-pat writer, Jennifer Harvey, says: “The American Book Center in the heart of Amsterdam, established in the 1970s, is a go-to venue for anyone who loves books and storytelling.
“For me, I love that the ABC is more than just a bookstore. It is a vibrant, exciting community for writers and readers that regularly hosts readings and Q and As with famous and local writers. Their events page is always bursting with a great line-up of speakers.
“Their commitment to books is clearly genuine from their book trade-in days, to schools outreach to the curation of a great range of magazines and books.
“The staff are exceptionally knowledgeable. I especially like their blog which details what the staff are reading. Their store in The Hague also has a dedicated space for writing workshops and events for local writers. It’s great, as a writer, to have a warm and welcoming space to meet other writers in the ex-pat, English speaking community in The Netherlands.”
Have a look online or head to Spui 12 1012 XA Amsterdam, The Netherlands
This article was first published in Project Calm, issue two. Find a back issue here, or you can find offers and order the latest issue here.
Photos by Bethany Laird, Darwin Vegher, Thought Catalog, Fabiola Penalba, Florencia Viadana, Jessica Ruscello and Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash