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11 of the Coolest Bookstores in the US

11 of the Coolest Bookstores in the US

You don’t have to be a bookworm to appreciate what this assortment of bookstores has to offer! They have anything from interesting architecture to niche reading materials to a unique attraction. You’ll want to start buying all your book-related goods from these shops—or at least plan a road trip to check them out. Here they are, in no particular order: The Coolest Bookstores in the US.

1. McNally Jackson Books

McNally Jackson Books in New York City seems to have every book and magazine in print! As a fun twist, they arrange their books according to nation! Don’t worry, they have a knowledgable staff to help you if you get lost in the wrong country. In addition to a killer cafe, they also boast an Espresso Book Machine, which prints library-quality paperbacks in minutes!

2. The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles started in owner Josh Spencer’s loft, but it was basically just an online store. After several moves, the store is now called a “cathedral of books” and takes up almost 20,000 square feet!

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3. The Montague Bookmill

The Montague Bookmill in Montague, Massachusetts will pique your interest with its catchphrase alone: “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find.” Challenge accepted! Located a few miles north of Amherst, Massachusetts, this bookstore is housed in a gristmill built in 1842! It overlooks the Sawmill River, and you can sip coffee or beer while watching the nearby waterfall.

4. Quimby’s Bookstore

Quimby’s Bookstore isn’t your typical shop—you won’t find the latest on the bestseller list here! Quimby’s has a wide selection of what they call “unusual publications,” which includes zines, underground comics, and small press releases.

5. Square Books

Square Books calls Oxford, MS home. This shop is located on, you guessed it—the town square! It’s a small, quaint shop—so small, in fact, that it has a few spin-off locations elsewhere on the square! Square Books Jr. has a huge selection of children’s books, and Off Square Books, which has front windows that roll up.

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6. Powell’s Books

You can’t talk about bookstores without mentioning the king of them all, Powell’s Books in Portland, OR. This is quite possibly the world’s largest bookstore, selling both new and used books. They have a wide variety of strange and contemporary books, as well as a strong online presence that ensure you don’t have to be in Oregon to shop at one of the best!

7. Bart’s Books

Bart’s Books in Ojai, California is—get this—an outdoor bookstore! It started when owner Richard Bartinsdale realized he had too many books for his house. He built a few bookcases to put outside, and encouraged people to stop and look and leave money in coffee cans on the shelves.

8. Rizzoli Bookstore

Rizzoli Bookstore takes up six stories of a townhouse in New York City. It has been called “the most beautiful bookstore in New York,” and for good reason! It has vaulted ceilings, chandeliers, and a Diocletian window that lets in loads of natural light to ensure the books’ natural beauty is on display.

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9. Magers & Quinn

Magers & Quinn started as a small bookstore—so small, the books were laid out on tables instead of displayed on shelves! It’s now the biggest bookstore in Minneapolis, MN. The collection includes current releases, but also rare and hard-to-find books—all at discounted prices!

10. Maple Street Book Shop

New Orleans isn’t all about voodoo and Bourbon Street—Maple Street Book Shop has been around since the 1960s and is still going strong. It started as “five rooms of paperbacks,” but expanded as the owners special ordered books for customers and allowed people to hang out on the side porch sharing avant garde ideas.

11. Blue Bicycle Books

Blue Bicycle Books has a lot of volumes about its hometown of Charleston, SC. Their 50,000+ volumes, however, also include history, science, philosophy, and literary fiction, just to name a few. An extra cool thing about this bookstore is that they host a creative writing camp for kids every summer—this year marks the 11th anniversary of this workshop!

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Featured photo credit: Germán Póo-Caamaño via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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