A Southwest Bookstore Road Trip

I love the chance to spend a few hours in an independent bookstore. The selection of books is always a testament to the store’s ownership, and the spaces that house the shelves are always cozy. I especially love how these stores bring communities together by hosting author readings and other events. This summer I want to take a road trip consisting of stops at various bookstores. I’m going to share with you five bookstore stops that I’d like to make starting in Albuquerque and ending in Hollywood.

Stop 1. Bookworks in Albuquerque.

If you’re starting in Albuquerque, then obviously you want to stop at Bookworks before heading west. I love this little store. They have a great selection of both classics and contemporary works. They have great events throughout the week. Plus, the bookstore rubs shoulders with a coffee shop. So you could stop by, purchase the book you’ve been eyeing for weeks, and then devour the first thirty pages or so with a cup of coffee. You’ll have your literary and caffeine fix until the next stop.

Stop 2. The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Arizona.

I heard about The Poisoned Pen from friend who was out touring his new book. He revered the friendly the staff and community. Apparently, the staff has plastered the ceiling with book posters. It sounds right up my alley. If timed right, I could make it into town during one of the author readings and nab a signed book.

Stop 3. The Bookshop in Phoenix.

Sometimes I think of books like they’re baseball trading cards. Of course, there are those you could never part with, but others you might want to use to trade up. The Bookshop seems to be the perfect reason to bring a box of trade worthy titles along for the ride! I could come home and add some gems to my own shelves.

Stop 4. The Writer’s Block in Las Vegas.

This is another bookstore that visiting writers speak highly of. Yeah, you could walk in and buy a book. You could also adopt an artificial bird, visit the resident rabbit, or wander into the craft lab to learn about printmaking and create some art of your own.

Stop 5. Book Soup in West Hollywood.

The bookstore is a favorite of mine. I’ve found the staff to be very knowledgeable, and they offer great recommendations. This bookstore also has one of the biggest selections of poetry I’ve ever seen. So grab a book, and then head to Santa Monica for some relaxation in the sun.

I’m hoping that I’ll make this trip before summer’s end, but if you’re looking for some places to stop between New Mexico and California then you should check out these bookstores. You’ll get more bang for your buck if you check out their event calendars ahead of time.

Aaron Reeder is the Poetry Editor of Blue Mesa Review