My bookstore addiction

Do you like bookstores? I do, and apparently, many other people do too. Why? A bookstore is a place full of wonder and imagination. Each book can be a window into a different world, a unique story, perspective, or something new to learn. Walking around bookstores feeds my motivation to continue reading, learning, discovering, and writing. Books and magazines are, for me, more interesting than social media. There’s something about its staticity; it’s a written memory or thought captured and shared via a book or a moment captured in time via a photo in a magazine.

Bookstores are a place of happiness for me. The problem is, it is also a place where I can compulsively buy books and magazines and then not read them in a while—why? Is this a problem for you too? I do read a lot, and I mean a lot. Since late last year, I started the idea of reading a book per week, and I’ve been able to do it for the most part. Of course, I have skipped a few weeks here and there due to having a great time on holiday with the family. But even with all that reading, I still have a reading queue that keeps increasing due to buying books and magazines almost every time I walk into one of these beautiful, magical places we call bookstores.

The good news is I am balancing my reading with writing and note-taking. Reading without the writing or note-taking part is just entertainment, which is OK too. Most books I read have something in them that I want to remember or use in my daily life, and that happens even with fiction books. I am learning a simple way to develop my second brain to help me memorize pieces of information that I want to refer to later. I’ll share more details about this in a future post.

One of my current projects is to create a photo book showcasing bookstores from around the world, displaying photos of the outside and the bookstore interiors. I want to capture their essence as much as possible. And while one picture is worth a thousand words, I plan to write a few paragraphs describing each bookstore, my experience, and other information about its location, history, etc.

I have been taking photos of every bookstore I visit around the world, and already have a nice collection of pictures. I will continue to visit bookstores whenever I have a chance. This project was and will continue to be an excuse to visit as many bookstores as possible.

This photo book project will probably be done by the end of this year and depending on how I feel about it, I might continue working on it one way or another. A website where I keep adding bookstore photos and description is also an option.

Maybe one day I will satisfy my hunger for bookstores by opening my own, but it is perhaps the experience of traveling and visiting different bookstores that I enjoy.

A photo of McNally Jackson Books

The Bookstore Project

I have liked books for a long time since I was a kid. I remember getting Jules Verne’s book Journey to the center of the earth when I was around 8 years old, and I loved it. My uncle Carlos had a small bookstore in Guadalajara, Mexico and my Dad used to bring me when he visited the bookstore to exchange his books and get a few magazines. And since then, I was always thrilled to go to this bookstore and look at all these book covers, magazines, etc. It was magical to me.

Verne’s book was a treasure for me, and while I don’t remember what happened to that book, it definitely was essential in awakening my interest in reading books. So as I am writing this, I did a quick search and found that the book is still in print, and I will definitely buy it – but not online. So instead, I will aim to get it at a small bookstore.

Like many people, I have many books around the house that I haven’t read yet. For me, it’s hard not to buy a book every time I go to a bookstore. While I don’t read all books immediately, I do read them. But the experience of visiting a bookstore, looking at all the books, decorations, and everything about them is very romantic.

A few years ago, I watched a video on YouTube where Max Joseph visited beautiful bookstores in Portugal and Argentina. In his video, he travels to Portugal to visit what’s considered the most beautiful bookstore in the world, while also talking about how to read books faster, and create a habit of reading. It’s a great video, and it’s very inspiring too.

I decided to watch the video again, and since my son had asked me to go with him to a Barnes and Noble near hour house, I was excited to go. While visiting the bookstore with my son, I found a book titled “Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores,” it is as if the universe had a plan, and was laying it in front of me. I bought the book.

With newly found inspiration and ideas from the YouTube video and the book about the world’s greatest bookstores, I decided to try a new project. The idea is to visit the most unique and beautiful bookstores worldwide and take some videos and photographs of these bookstores. This isn’t going to be a single trip around the world, but instead, I will try and visit at least one or two bookstores in every city I land. And since I travel often, this should be doable, and also very fun.

This summer, we are traveling to Europe, and one of the first places we’ll visit is Porto, Portugal. And guess what? Porto is home to what is considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Yes, the same one featured in that YouTube video. This bookstore is also where it is said that J.K Rowling got the inspiration for some of the Harry Potter decorations. This bookstore will mark the beginning of this project, and I am really excited about it.

I don’t know what this project will be like in the end. Maybe it will be a collection of photos, videos, or both. Perhaps it will be a collection of essays where I write about each one of these bookstores, their story, etc. I don’t know, but having a specific project like this to focus on is exciting to me. It also gives me yet another excuse to find and visit more bookstores everywhere I go.

Do you also like visiting bookstores? Do you have any recommendations? One of the coolest bookstores I visited recently was in downtown Brooklyn, NY. The bookstore’s name is McNally Jackson Books, and it is beautiful. They have a large collection of books, and the place is amazing. The photo featured in this blog post is from that bookstore which I visited in May of 2022.