Seattle has a well-earned reputation as a city that loves books. It deserves a great bookstore to match.
Even though the new Elliott Bay isn’t finished yet, it might be just that bookstore.
Take, as evidence, this view from the second story:
It has several elements that remind me of other bookstores I love. Wooden shelves and creaky floorboards, similar to the Book Mill in Montague, Mass. Tables of unusual choices, good for making new discoveries, like Paris’ Red Wheelbarrow.
Elliott Bay used to be located in Pioneer Square, a historic (but run-down) district in Seattle, and plenty of people were unhappy when they moved to their new location on Capitol Hill. But I don’t begrudge a bookstore doing what it needs to do to find clientele in this economy.
That said, their cafe is missing (and their old location had a great one). Their travel section is fine, but feels equally unfinished (and has a few too many copies of guides from the Travel Company That Shall Not Be Named, and not enough from non-US publishers). Even so, there were some gems to be found.
I’ve just started At Home in Japan, which I found on an endcap in the store. It’s the story of an American woman who married a Japanese man and moved into his family’s 350-year-old farmhouse (more on the book on the Japan Times Online). It’s the start of my June reading list.
So far, Elliott Bay, so good.