Brick and mortar bookstores are increasingly a relic of the past, yet Connecticut still boasts a number of independent sellers that attract die-hard devotees of the more traditional – and more intimate – book-browsing experience. Some readers’ favorites:
Atticus Bookstore Café, 1082 Chapel Street, New Haven. A New Haven institution for more than 40 years, this combination bookstore/café offers a curated selection of books along with a cozy café that not only makes its own bread, but sources its beer from Connecticut breweries, and much of its produce from local growers, including the nearby Yale Landscape Lab.
Bank Square Books, 53 West Main Street, Mystic. Operating in the heart of Mystic for 25 years, this locally owned bookstore offers an array of adult and children’s books, from bestsellers to indie titles.
The Hickory Stick Bookshop, 2 Green Hill Road, Washington Depot. Named “Best Country Bookstore” by Yankee Magazine, this 60+-year-old bookseller offers readers an extensive collection of books and gifts, for both adults and children, along with local artisanal goods. Situated in the Litchfield Hills, which is rife with literary talent, the shop often hosts local authors for readings and signings – William Styron, Arthur Miller, Dani Shapiro and Candace Bushnell have all made appearances.
House of Books, 10 North Main Street, Kent. Located in an historic building and situated on the Appalachian Trial, this upscale bookstore sells cards gifts, music, stationery and, of course, books, many related to the trail. They are also a good source of maps, trail guides, and local lore.
R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Rd., Madison. One of the perks of this book-lovers’ nirvana on the shoreline: the handwritten reviews tacked onto the bookshelves below staff-recommended books. The bookstore hosts more than 300 events each year, including appearances by literary luminaries from near and far. R.J. Julia recently partnered with Wesleyan University to open a branch on Main Street in Middletown; visitors to Wesleyan R.J. Julia can take a break from book browsing to taste the organic fare at Grown, its in-store café.