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Shopping on Amazon is certainly cheap and speedy, but I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had a moment that approached the sacred while visiting an online bookstore.

Actual bookstores? Absolutely.

I’ve gotten happily lost (physically and otherwise) in bookstores and libraries dozens of times, if not more. Ya know those magical moments when time stretches, or you stop sensing its passage altogether? Yeah, those. They happen, for me at least, in actual places (if we use the old-fasioned definitions of “actual” and “places”) such as bookstores and libraries — even ugly bookstores and libraries.

But when you get lost in a great book, in a beautiful building, the power of words printed on paper is pulpable — I mean, palpable.

Here are a few destinations to add to your literary bucket list, courtesy of the folks at Flavorwire:

The 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world

The 25 most beautiful public libraries in the world

The 25 most beautiful college libraries in the world

What’s the best library or bookstore you’ve ever been in? How about your favorite local book haunts? Let me know in the comments section below.

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Chris Robley

About Chris Robley

Chris Robley has written 570 posts in this blog.

is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."

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