BEST BOOKSTORE (NEW) - 2008
Common Good Books
In a perfect world, good books and great coffee would always be found together. Just when the Barnes & Noble/Starbucks pairing seemed like the closest thing to reader's utopia, along comes Common Good Books. Unique, homey, and accessible, this Garrison Keillor-owned spot, located right beneath the stylish Nina's Coffee Café in the hip St. Paul Cathedral Hill neighborhood, seems too good to be true. Little bits of Keillor speckle the store, from his official director's chair to the lines of poetry he composes on a chalkboard when he stops by every so often. His quirky humor can also be found in some of the section titles, such as "Quality Trash," "Lives," and the simple yet overarching "God." The store hosts several readings each month at Nina's and also has started up a new book club. Unlike Barnes & Noble, Common Goods has already weeded out the bad and the ugly. The prices are reasonable, and the collection, especially given the shop's small size, is more than admirable. Sunk-in couches and random armchairs utilize all potential corners and invite shoppers to stop browsing, pause, and act out the maxim that graces one wall: "Make haste slowly. There is luck in leisure."