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Many of us are very fond of visiting beautiful libraries during our travels, present company included.


Fodors just released a slide show of 20 its favorites which I think is worth a look.  You can find it at this link.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

Last edited by DrFumblefinger
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And I thought you weren't a fan of "best of" lists, DrF.


There are as many of these lists as there are opinions, I think.  Here's another:


I think the Bodleian in Oxford may be my favorite, not because of the Radcliffe Camera, shown, but the interior of the old library proper, which can be seen on tours.  It isn't as ostentatious as some on the list, but it's ancient and intimate, which appeals to me infinitely more than huge open spaces built to impress.





Even more than institutional book repositories, I admire beautiful bookshops, most often the vision of 1 person and consequently a more pure vision.  I find the same true of gardens, those designed by a talented individual, far more satisfying than large ones conceived and executed by "committee", that seek to impress but so often end up looking like uninspired city parks.


Two of my personal favorite bookshops are Atlantis Books in Oia, Santorini...





...and Daunt Books (Marylebone High Street location, London), beautiful and probably not coincidentally, a travel bookstore.






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  • item17.rendition.slideshowVertical.libraries-18-bodleian
  • 56-1606988-atlantis-books2
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Technically speaking, it's not a "best of..." but a "world's most stunning" list.  I understand I may be splitting hairs with that argument.  In any event, one needs to make an exception for really valuable lists, like libraries or books.  There's something special about a great book and a great bookshop.  The smells, the textures, the visual stimulation -- always work wonders for me. 


Thanks for these additions.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

I'm a fan of the Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington in Seattle. It was designed to be a cathedral to Science, and in addition to the states of the muses shown below there are others of great thinkers such as Issac Newton, Johannes Gutenberg and Charles Darwin.


Exterior At Night:

Suzzalo In The Evening


Some of the statues on the outside:

The Three Muses



Library Interior




A followup to attractive libraries are great bookstores.


Fodors just released 16 of their favorites in the USA, which you can find here.  I've visited a number of these and enjoyed them.  I would like to add two other stores that I know of.  


1) Univ. of Washington bookstore.  While mostly a student store aimed at textbooks and supplies and such, it has an excellent collection of fiction and non-fiction as well as frequent author readings and book signings.

2) Auntie's books in Spokane, Washington.  Excellent quality bookstore no one outside of eastern Washington state has ever heard of.


Anyone know of others?

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

There's always more to know about libraries, so 2 interesting items noted in this morning's Bookmarks from The Guardian:

1.  A book, The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders, by Stuart Kells . . .
2.  and his item in The Guardian, From Bag End to Babel: top 10 libraries in fiction.

I hope to get a copy of the book when the price of used copies comes down (if ever)!  If you look at The Library, scroll down the page for more things library and also click on "Source notes" for a long list of fun stuff.

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