Worlds 19 Most Stunning Bookstores

Worlds 19 Most Stunning Bookstores By Laura Itzkowitz September 25,2017          How many have you visited?

After all, nothing can replace the feeling of getting lost in a beautiful bookstore. Whether you’re looking to pass the time on a rainy afternoon or see what the locals are reading, these spots demand a visit if you happen to be nearby. From an opulent former theater in Buenos Aires to a secret location in a New York City apartment, here are 20 of the world’s most stunning bookstores.


PHOTO: M R / Shutterstock
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Selexyz Dominicanen Bookstore

WHERE: Maastricht, Netherlands

Selexyz Dominicanen (Dominicanenkerkstraat 1) is not only a gorgeous bookstore; it’s also one of the main attractions of Maastricht, a small Dutch city near the Belgian border. Originally a 13th-century cathedral, the building was converted to a bookshop in 2005. Inside, a mezzanine with sleek black shelves lines the nave and you’ll find the wings where once there were pews. In addition to Dutch titles, there’s a great selection of books in English.

PHOTO: London Bookstores – DAUNT BOOKS # 02 by jmm Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License
2 OF 19

Daunt Books Marylebone

WHERE: London

Daunt Books has six locations in London, and its Marylebone shop is undoubtedly the most spectacular. With herringbone floors, a huge stained glass window, and a skylight fit for a greenhouse, the Edwardian bookstore is a lovely place to buy a novel by Jane Austen or Oscar Wilde. Ascend the balcony for a great view of the charming space. The well-curated travel section has travel-themed literature and poetry in addition to useful guidebooks.


PHOTO: photography / Shutterstock
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El Ateneo Grand Splendid

WHERE: Buenos Aires

When you walk into El Ateneo Grand Splendid (180 Santa Fe Avenue), prepare to be awed. This stunning bookstore in Barrio Norte was built in 1919 as a theater, and the bookshop retains its opulent Beaux-Arts décor. A red curtain hangs across the stage, where you can have a coffee, hunker down in the club chairs, and read for as long as you want. Head upstairs to take in the view from the balcony, where posh Argentines once watched tango performances and the country’s first movies with sound.


PHOTO: Courtesy of Azienda Speciale Palaexpo
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This super sleek, all-white bookstore occupies the lower level of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, one of Rome’s largest exhibition spaces. At Bookàbar, you’ll find all the art and design books you could ever want—especially those related to the current exhibits—spread out in three large rooms. The shop also sells the latest must-have art and design objects by leading brands.

PHOTO: Luciano Mortula / Shutterstock
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Shakespeare and Company

WHERE: Paris

American expat Sylvia Beach originally opened Shakespeare and Company in 1919 and lent books to Hemingway when he couldn’t afford to buy them. When James Joyce was banned from publishing Ulysses in English-speaking countries, Beach published it. The original bookshop/lending library closed during the German occupation, but George Whitman opened its current incarnation overlooking the Seine in 1951. This Parisian institution is just as active as ever, hosting many literary readings, workshops, and an annual festival that brings together some of the world’s best contemporary writers.

PHOTO: CristinaMuraca / Shutterstock
6 OF 19

Libreria Acqua Alta

WHERE: Venice

Where in the world can you find a bookstore perched on a centuries-old canal? Venice, of course! With old stonewalls and books piled all over, the Libreria Acqua Alta (Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa) has a back door opens right onto a canal. An old gondola piled high with books in the center of the shop nods to its maritime location. Grab one of the used books and watch the gondolas pass by while cats curl up at your feet.

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Livraria Da Vila

WHERE: São Paulo

The ultra sleek Livraria Da Vila in São Paulo is composed of many drool-worthy design elements. The most exciting is undoubtedly the series of pivoting bookshelves that function as doors. Lined in glass, the shelves are illuminated, so even at night passersby can take a peek at the books. The black and white interior is just as gorgeous, making this place a local favorite.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Cook & Book
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Cook & Book

WHERE: Brussels

If the sleek black and red color scheme isn’t enough to lure you into Cook & Book, just look up at the ceiling, where 800 books are suspended above your head. The store’s whimsical attitude is announced as you enter, with the large comic book section front and center. A refurbished vintage Airstream stands as an invitation to travel, and the café features lights made of Campbell’s soup cans. Don’t miss the store’s gastronomy section, designed as an ode to the Italian trattoria, complete with a Fiat 500.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Plural Bookshop
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Plural Bookshop

WHERE: Bratislava

Opened in 2010, this fun and whimsical bookshop has a coffee bar, making it a great place to hang out. Plural Bookshop‘s oversized steps create an ideal atmosphere for concerts, lectures, readings, and projections. The shop’s ingenious design makes it feel much larger than its 1,800-square-foot footprint. Bratislava is only about an hour from Vienna, making it an easy side trip on a visit to Austria’s capital.


PHOTO: Shutterstock
10 OF 19

The Last Bookstore

WHERE: Los Angeles

The Last Bookstore opened in Downtown L.A. in 2005 despite the decline in print sales. Found in the Old Bank District, the 10,000-square-foot store is painstakingly organized by genre and subgenre, with a whole room full of science fiction and fantasy titles, a section of L.A.-centric literature, and more. To get to the crime and mystery section, you have to cross the threshold of a former vault.

PHOTO: Courtesy of The Bookworm Beijing
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WHERE: Beijing

Always growing and expanding, Bookworm has five locations in three Chinese cities. Its lovely Beijing location caters to the Anglophone expat community, with lectures, live music, and quiz nights in English. Every year, Bookworm hosts a literary festival that brings together contemporary writers from all over the world.

PHOTO: Siraanamwong |
12 OF 19

Daikanyama T-Site

WHERE: Tokyo

PHOTO: Paris, librairie “Le Pont traversé” by Frédérique PANASSAC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
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Le Pont Traversé

WHERE: Paris

PHOTO: Cafebrería El Péndulo
14 OF 19

Libreria El Pendulo

WHERE: Mexico City

If you decided to cross a bookshop with a greenhouse, you might get something like Libreria El Pendulo. In this remarkable bookstore in Mexico City, trees hang over the shelves. The Polanco branch has a dramatic, curving staircase leading up to a mezzanine filled wall-to-wall with books. Sit down with a coffee and start reading.

PHOTO: Courtesy of 10 Corso Como, Milan
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10 Corso Como

WHERE: Milan

Former Vogue editor Carla Sozzani opened 10 Corso Como in 1991, creating an aesthete’s paradise in a former garage near Milan’s stylish Brera neighborhood. The complex includes a bookshop, gallery, garden café, and concept store for fashion and design. The clean, minimalist bookshop has a strong emphasis on photography and fashion books.

PHOTO: Icefields |
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The Academic Bookstore

WHERE: Helsinki

Designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto—one of the most important members of the Scandinavian modernist movement—the Academic Bookstore‘s flagship location in central Helsinki is a modern masterpiece. Sunlight pours in through the glass skylights, illuminating the white marble and blond wood interior. The shop carries around 450,000 volumes, with a large selection of books in English and other foreign languages. Architecture and design buffs should check out the Designmuseo (Design Museum) nearby.


PHOTO: Brett Childs
17 OF 19

Bart’s Books

WHERE: Ojai, California

Bart’s Books holds the distinction of being the largest independently owned outdoor bookstore in the United States, and the only one on this list. Richard Bartinsdale founded the store in 1964, when his book collection became too large to keep at home. He constructed bookcases along the sidewalk so passersby could peruse his collection, and placed coffee cans on the shelves, allowing people to pay by the honor system instead of at a cash register. Today there’s a real register, but you can still buy 35-cent specials by dropping your coins in the coffee cans.

PHOTO: Will Brady/Atlantis Books
18 OF 19

Atlantis Books

WHERE: Santorini

Atlantis Books soaks up its charm from its surroundings on the picturesque Greek isle of Santorini. When two American students vacationing on Santorini couldn’t find good books in English in the local bookstores, they decided to open their own shop. They built the bookshelves themselves and filled them with literature they love. Stop by for a pocket paperback or a rare first edition of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. The shop hosts many events, from book readings to dance parties. The terrace overlooking the sea is also a great place to take in the sunset.

PHOTO: FXEGS Javier Espuny / Shutterstock
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Livraria Lello e Irmão

WHERE: Porto

Old-World splendor reigns at Livraria Lello e Irmão in Porto, opened in 1906. A majestic double helix staircase lined in scarlet forms the centerpiece of the Neo-Gothic shop. Leather-bound books rest on the wrap-around wooden shelves, which are carved with Portuguese literary figures. A stained glass skylight filters light down onto the café.

This article was originally published on March 25, 2017.

Bolognese Sauce

Foodist Approved: Super Healthy Bolognese Sauce Recipe

by | Jan 19, 2016

Healthy bolognese with extra vegetables

Healthy bolognese with extra vegetables

As winter drags on you’ll find yourself craving hearty food—I know I do this time of year. Sometimes nothing will satisfy that hunger except a classic bowl of spaghetti topped with a rich meat sauce.

I prefer to make bolognese sauce with 85% lean grass-fed ground beef, but any ground meat will work (just not the really lean stuff). Try making the sauce with ground bison, lamb or turkey, or go meatless and swap in tempeh (grind the tempeh in a food processor).

This sauce is memorable served on top of pasta, but you can also serve it on top of spaghetti squash for a lighter meal. The gluten-free crowd will love it spooned on top of brown rice or a baked potato.

I highly recommend making a double batch and freezing half so you get two family dinners for the time-commitment of one.

Super Healthy Bolognese Sauce

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients ( Use organic Vegetables)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 (32-ounce) can whole tomatoes
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional, if you like spice
  • 12 ounces spaghetti or 1 cup rice, cooked according to package directions (or baked potatoes or spaghetti squash)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, optional
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, torn, optional

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the beef and cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently while breaking up the meat into bite size pieces, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes (along with their juices), spinach, basil, red pepper flakes, if using, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, until the sauce thickens, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta or rice according to the package directions (or bake 4 potatoes or 1 spaghetti squash).

Taste the sauce and add more salt and red pepper, if needed. Ladle generously over the pasta (or rice, potatoes, or spaghetti squash) and top with Parmesan and fresh basil, if desired.

Butternut Squash & Turmeric Soup

Butternut Squash and Turmeric Soup

Coconut milk gives this butternut squash soup recipe a rich and unique flavor.



  • 2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable bouillon base (we used Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 1/2 lbs.), peeled (seeds reserved), cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. light coconut milk


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the bouillon base with 6 cups boiling water, stirring to dissolve.
  3. Add the squash, carrots, 2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, 18 to 22 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat oven to 375°F. Toss the reserved seeds (about 1/4 cup with the remaining teaspoon of oil, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and roast until golden brown and crispy, 9 to 11 minutes.
  5. Using an immersion blender (or standard blender, working in batches) purée the soup. Sprinkle with the toasted seeds and swirl in the coconut milk.