Alta’s Favorite Bookstores: Update 2

Another dozen bookstores for (and from) our readers to explore!

alta journal's 2022 favorite bookstores, round 2

We continue to receive amazing nominations from Alta Journal readers far and wide. Here are 11 shops, and one lending library, that we’re adding to Alta’s 2022 Favorite Bookstores across California and the West. Drop us a line after you visit them and let us know what you think. And please keep the recommendations coming with this form.

page against the machine, long beach, alta journal's 2022 favorite bookstores
Page Against the Machine

Long Beach, California

Named in honor of Los Angeles–based rock band Rage Against the Machine, Page Against the Machine opened in 2019 and thrives as a home to books on subjects such as activism and political movements, socially conscious theory, and sustainability. This one-room shop, just four minutes from Long Beach City Beach, is where revolutions begin. —nominated by Anna Boudinot, Long Beach

pages a bookstore, los angeles, alta journal's 2022 favorite bookstores

Manhattan Beach, California

Located just a couple of blocks from the water, this woman-owned bookstore hosts author events, weekly story times, and book clubs for all ages. With its signature blue walls and the sea breeze drifting through the shop, Pages is a great place to find your next beach read. —nominated by Eileen Kohan, Manhattan Beach

libros schmibros, los angeles, alta journal's 2022 favorite bookstores
Libros Schmibros

Los Angeles, California

Across the street from Mariachi Plaza stands Libros Schmibros, a bilingual lending library in the historic Chicano neighborhood of Boyle Heights. Since its opening in 2010, this local institution has focused on providing books to the surrounding community, regardless of readers’ means. Libros Schmibros also hosts podcasts and community events and runs a fellowship program for high school students. —nominated by Ellen Sandler

leigh’s books, sunnyvale, alta journal's 2022 favorite bookstores
Leigh’s Favorite Books

Sunnyvale, California

Nestled on historic Murphy Street in downtown Sunnyvale, Leigh’s Favorite Books arranges hardcovers in a vividly eclectic manner, with female and LGBTQ voices, immigrant narratives, diaspora fiction, and chart-toppers on prominent display. Offering a 20 percent discount on hardcover bestsellers and 50 percent on buybacks, Leigh’s seeks to make book buying affordable. Its companion shop next door, Bookasaurus, is a children’s book mecca. —nominated by Rose Cullenward

orinda books, orinda, alta journal's 2022 favorite bookstores
Orinda Books

Orinda, California

A light and airy space with lots of room to sit down and relax, Orinda Books makes everyone feel welcome. Owner Pat Rudebusch and his staff go the extra step to find the book you need to read. You’ll never visit without engaging in a conversation, because Orinda Books fosters connections—it’s that place “where everybody knows your name.” —nominated by Andrea A. Firth, Orinda

east bay booksellers, oakland, alta journal's 2022 favorite bookstores
East Bay Booksellers

Oakland, California

Formerly a location of Diesel, a Bookstore, East Bay Booksellers is a hip staple of Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood where you can buy new books, planners, and stationery—and have them gift wrapped. The store has a large children’s corner that feels like a secret garden, plentiful staff picks arranged on dedicated shelves, and magazines. It also supports the Prisoners Literature Project, delivering books purchased by customers for incarcerated people. —nominated by Lisa Espenmiller, Oakland, and Aaron Bady, Oakland

mrs dalloway’s literary and garden arts, berkeley, alta journal's 2022 favorite bookstores
Mrs. Dalloway’s Literary and Garden Arts

Berkeley, California

Mrs. Dalloway’s is a spacious bookstore in the Elmwood neighborhood, with two rooms and several nooks that serve as thematic display spaces for a large (and prominent) gardening section, art books, titles by Virginia Woolf (whose character Clarissa Dalloway inspired the store’s name), and more. —nominated by Joyce Akiyoshi

alibi bookstore, vallejo, alta journal's 2022 favorite bookstores
Alibi Bookshop

Vallejo, California

Within Vallejo’s historic district, behind a green storefront, under an awning of angled wooden shingles, stands Alibi Bookshop. This literary beacon sponsors a variety of in-store book clubs (including one for young adults), coordinates to support local arts events, and operates at the center of an effort to revitalize the Vallejo business community. Alibi maintains a lively Facebook page with frequent updates. —nominated by Kim Freeman, Vallejo

arches bookhouse, portland, oregon

Portland, Oregon

In a residential neighborhood in North Portland, a small and beloved bookstore recently changed ownership and its name, but maintains a similar inventory of thousands of used, rare, and antiquarian books. Adam McInturf—a longtime bookseller and store manager at the former Windows Booksellers—took over ownership this summer and rebranded the shop as Arches Bookhouse, which focuses on “across-the-board humanities.” —nominated by Santi Elijah Holley, Los Angeles

op cit books, santa fe, new mexico, alta journal's 2022 favorite bookstores
Op.Cit. Books

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Op.Cit. is a bookhunter’s dream: 30,000-plus volumes—mostly used, some new—stacked and shelved in the flagship Santa Fe store (the Taos location is smaller and tidier). Prices range from free to over a thousand dollars for collectible titles. Author events are starting up again post-pandemic, and the Taos Op.Cit. hosts a monthly mystery book club. —nominated by Hilary Schaper, Santa Fe

garcia street books, santa fe, alta journal's 2022 favorite bookstores
Garcia Street Books

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Over 30 years in business, this cozy eastside shop has focused on community connection. Staff will happily place special orders, offer curbside pickup, and provide home delivery. Discount tables guard the portal leading to an eclectic selection of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books plus cards and book-themed merchandise. —nominated by Hilary Schaper, Santa Fe

under the umbrella bookstore, salt lake city, utha, alta journal's 2022 favorite bookstores
Under the Umbrella

Salt Lake City, Utah

More than two dozen volunteers keep the wheels of Under the Umbrella turning. The store sells only titles by or about queer people and features a “give and take” wall, stocked with gift cards, concert tickets, prepurchased books, and more; a gender-affirming closet from which folks in need can take up to five clothing items per day; contraceptives in the bathrooms; and meeting spaces that can be reserved for events. —nominated by Krystal Smith, Salt Lake City; H.B. Hadfield, Salt Lake City; Cam Leavitt, Salt Lake City; Salem Najera, Salt Lake City; and Jaron Fox, Salt Lake City

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