I love bookstores! That’s probably not a huge revelation for you today. The thing is I’d forgotten just how much I love them until this past weekend, and that reminded me of the mental picture I have of my dream bookstore. More on that in a bit.


My family and I crossed over Lake Pontchartrain on Saturday to explore some of New Orleans’ bookstore gems. While most of the country celebrated Independent Bookstore Day last month, we were busy dancing along to Jazz Fest here. That’s why New Orleans declared its own bookstore day on May 12 instead.

We visited four of the city’s book shops. I did have three more on the list. Now, I could blame the kids for not making it to more but it was totally my fault. I prefer to sink in to a good bookstore and stay a while. No quick passes for me! Honestly, I could have spent hours in each of them.

Each one offered something different, and I can’t wait to go back and visit them again. Do you have a local bookstore in your town? I hope you support them! Sure it-that-must-not-be-named-but-shares-a-name-with-a-river is often cheaper, but … you can’t interact with authors and fellow readers or touch and feel and smell those glorious books online.

When you support your local bookstores and libraries, you’re supporting the literary soul of your community.


Back to my dream bookstore … two of my favorite movies are “You’ve Got Mail” and “Notting Hill.” The little book shops in each capture my imagination and leave me wistful for a little corner shop full of books and a window seat. If I could design my own book shop, it would be incredible. The store part would be similar to The Shop Around The Corner that Meg Ryan’s character reluctantly locks up for the last time thanks to that doggone Fox Books.

I think a book shop should be small and quaint with ornate moldings and wooden fixtures and some interesting bit of history tucked away in its walls. It should feel homey with cushy couches and chairs that you sink into when you sit down. A children’s section with little tables and lots of inspirational paintings and quotes from all the classic tales is a given. And, somewhere in the shop, I would have to have a window seat … a wide, comfy, fluffy seat overlooking a garden or pasture full of horses or something equally picturesque. My store would sell only the best literature, and I’d smile over my book at all the readers who stop in for a bit but settle for a spell.

That’s not all my dream bookstore would have, though.

For the true lovers of literature, the voracious readers, the ones who just can’t get enough of the written word—I would present a special card to a secret library. The hallway to this special section would, of course, be hidden behind a bookcase. The hall’s wooden panels would be decorated with passages from books, photos of great authors and beautiful book covers. At the end of the soft red carpeted way, a simple door would open into a library to rival the one the Beast gifted to his Belle. Sliding ladders would reach all the books covering two towering walls, while a spiral staircase would lead to a platform above the entrance with even more of the greatest classics of all time. The fourth wall would be solid windows, of course, to give readers all the light they need.

Members of this exclusive society would be part of the Classics Club. Much like Fight Club, the first and second rules of Classics Club are you DO NOT talk about Classics Club. (Unless readers are in the secret library and want to discuss a book they’ve read.)

Soft and squishy sofas and chairs would take up all the floor space, and—you guessed it—this library would have several comfy window seats to choose from.

Both sides would have dogs and/or cats because the best book shops have at least one furry resident. My cat Tolkien has offered his services for the Classics Club Library in exchange for an extra cushy window seat of his own.

Since this is my DREAM bookstore, I’m thinking magic will be involved (so no one sees the GIANT secret library attached). Like the books themselves (and a very special blue box), it’ll be much bigger on the inside!


Thank you for dreaming along with me today! I want to hear all about YOUR dream library! What are your gotta-have-it books? Would your shop be small and quaint or big and open?

I love bookstores! That's probably not a huge revelation for you today. The thing is I'd forgotten just how much I love them until this past weekend, and that reminded me of the mental picture I have of my dream bookstore. www.joyerancatore.com