Five Exceptional SFF Bookstores and Libraries

Super fun list about about fictional bookstores and libraries. Earlier this year my kids (finally) moved out of the destructive phase and we now can rent library books on the regular. I had forgotten the magic of these spaces and it’s been such a joy to rediscover them through a different lens. Each library has its own distinct character and feeling, enough so that my almost four-year-olds are discerning enough to request to visit different branches depending on the day. It doesn’t take much to transform a regular library into a fantastical one, which is why the setting of a library is so ripe for sci-fi and fantasy stories. Still, of course, some stories do it better than others! I was happy to see the library (of the Neitherlands) from Lev Grossman’s The Magicians included here. Though, as the author of the post Cole Rush notes, it’s not exactly the most peaceful or charming place.

Readers can never truly get enough of books, and the proof is in the pages: Even when we’re reading to escape to another world, we love when we encounter the familiar sights, sounds, and smells of places packed with shelves of old and new books. Bookshops and libraries tend to make appearances in many of my favorite sci-fi and fantasy tales, and they’re always a welcome addition to any fictional world. I never pass up a chance to explore a bookshop, even when I’m right in the middle of a story!

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