For us bookworms, happy memories are built browsing traditional bookstores. The smell of old paper and leather, the long corridors of bookcases, the closeness and quiet are unforgettable experiences. Online browsing for books has its place when you are after information, but it can’t replace being physically lost for hours among stacks of bound books. There is nothing like the combination of pleasures that is a morning to relax while browsing a bookstore, then sitting down with a cup of coffee in the midst of books and fellow book lovers and getting acquainted with a new writer or an old friend. Here are a few places in the North Bay to go hunting for the unique kind of joy that only books and coffee can provide.
87 Throckmorton Ave.
Mill Valley, CA 94941
This popular store is located in the quaint historic train depot in downtown Mill Valley. The cafe (which doubles as a gallery for local artists) serves locally made baked goods and light breakfasts and lunches to go along with your espresso or cappuccino. It regularly hosts readings where you can hear authors discuss their books.
51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Corte Madera, CA 94925
Book Passage describes itself as “the Bay Area’s liveliest bookstore,” and it would be hard to argue with it. Not only does it host author readings several times a week, but it also has writing classes, marketing classes for authors, book clubs and occasional writers’ conferences. Book Passage is truly a writers’ haven at the center of a vibrant literary community. On any visit, you are likely to find several published writers enjoying a cup of coffee or browsing for books. Book Passage is especially well known for promoting local work. And its cafe has great coffee, a fine selection of snacks and comfortable seating.
Related: Best Hidden Museums In North Bay
775 Village Court
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
This large independent bookstore has a huge selection of both fiction and nonfiction titles. It is well known for its unusually extensive selection of mystery novels. Located in the Montgomery Village Shopping Center in Santa Rosa, it is adjacent to an outdoor patio which is used for author readings al fresco during the summer months. Both the bookstore and the cafe are open seven days a week.
2419 Larkspur Landing Circle
Larkspur, CA 94939
Diesel, a bookstore is admired for its excellent author events, often including local writers as well as those with national reputations. The store is also known for its extremely literate staff who publishes its own newsletter with reviews of the group’s favorite books. Recently, Diesel, a bookstore has established its own publishing imprint and begun publishing titles of its own. Although this spot does not have its own coffee shop, its location in the Marin Country Mart assures ample coffee opportunities for anybody wishing to sit down and read their newly found treasures.
Related: Best Art Walks In North Bay
11315 State Route 1
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
A visit to Point Reyes Books will take you to one of Northern California’s loveliest beach towns, home of the Point Reyes National Seashore. For a small town business, Point Reyes Books conducts a remarkable program of literary events. Its website boasts that it sponsored 46 author events in 2012. It also sponsors study groups, occasionally led by the authors of the books being read. And for coffee, it is right next door to the popular Bovine Bakery.