The Earliest Bookstores I Remember

An episode from 3/22/22: Soon after this podcast started, a listener wrote in and just asked me to talk about my favorite bookstores. But my mind approaches bookstores the same way it approaches childhood, and so it’s the earliest ones that made the deepest impression: the first Waldenbooks where I understood what a brand new hardcover was, where I first chose to go to books instead of video game magazines, or where (this being a mall in the early nineties), I first saw where bookstores stood, alongside toy stores and Foot Locker. Fast forward to late high school, and the story of me buying Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, on a Friday night when everybody else (that’s how it felt, anyway) was at a high school football game, feels like the origin of so many things.

Email me at with your own bookstore stories. I’d love to make a future episode out of them.

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