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BEST BOOKSTORE (NEW) Minneapolis 2001 -

Readers' Choice: Barnes & Noble

We won't lie and say we've never curled up in the overstuffed furniture at our local Barnes & Noble and happily whiled away precious hours in relative tranquillity, reading short stories and paging through gorgeous photo books we had no intention of purchasing. But we could never quite reach the comfort level that one immediately feels upon walking in the door of this St. Paul institution. The unassuming physical qualities of the store ensure that the actual reading materials are the focus here, not corporate insignias, calendars, and gimmicky "Chicken Soup" book displays. Proximity to Macalester College doesn't hurt, nor does the friendliness of the neighborhood. We must also mention the competitive prices, expansive selection, and the enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff. And they also sponsor a variety of readings, recently hosting Dave Eggers and Louise Erdrich. For all these reasons, we again give the nod to our now-annual winner, the store formerly known as the Hungry Mind.

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