BEST BOOKSTORE (NEW) - 2007
Readers' Choice: Barnes & Noble
David Copperfield's Wilkins Micawber was an eternal optimist who, like Charles Dickens's father, wound up in debtor's prison. He is thus the perfect namesake for an independent bookstore. At this point, to say that these are hard times for indie bookstores is like suggesting that something seems to be amiss with the ozone layer. Our latest local casualty was Query Booksellers, which shuttered this February. But Micawber's endures in St. Paul's comely Saint Anthony Park neighborhood. Taped to the store's shelves are index cards with handwritten testimonials to W.G. Sebald and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and even a few living writers who don't use initials. There's a section devoted to historical fiction, just because someone on staff loves historical fiction. Smart but not snooty, the store's collection ranges from Jodi Picoult to poetry chapbooks, kids' books and tiny literary journals. You'll find lots of Patrick O'Brian titles, which isn't unusual, and something by Flann O'Brien, which is. Best of all, the store's log-cabin coziness encourages hours of browsing and sampling.