Maybe you already have a long book wish list. Maybe little stacks of memoirs and non-fiction already sprout, seemingly out of nowhere, in corners throughout the house. Whether you’re up to your eyeballs in literature or looking for another tome to let collect dust on your nightstand, well, we have news for you: Today is Read a Book Day. Crack a spine, and get to reading!
Need a recommendation? Here are some suggestions from nine local authors. And here we have five books by Dallas writers you should read. As for where to source such titles, look no further than your local bookstores.
Filled with rare, special titles you might not find anywhere else, this Bishop Arts bookshop is a literal house of lit. In a small Craftsman, find works by local authors and publishing houses lining the artfully organized shelves. By day, sip espresso and read poetry. In the evenings, The Wild Detectives hosts events from book talks to live electro-folks duos, their banjos duetting with the birds as the sun sets behind nearby high-rises. Grab a negroni and chill.
This full-service independent bookstore on Lovers Lane stocks something in the realm of 20,000 titles in a space that’s also fit for plenty of author visits, readings, and other events. Interabang specializes in contemporary literary fiction and nonfiction, with a sizable children’s books section, but its big tent approach means you’ll also find plenty of classics, sci-fi, and everything else in between.
As a publisher, Deep Vellum cut its teeth on translations of innovative international writers before widening its scope to release original work with a special emphasis on homegrown literature. There’s more overlap than you might think. (Look for Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River, a meandering reverie that spilled from Korean novelist Jung Young Moon’s time at a Corsicana writers’ residency.) As a bookstore, Deep Vellum reflects these preoccupations with a fiercely independent ethos. You’ll find chapbooks with names like Dallas Spleen alongside Croatian novels translated from Esperanto alongside an “illuminated alphabet.” Try getting all that together on Amazon. —Alex Macon
This artfully curated bookstore is inside the lobby of The Joule. Here you’ll find a selection of beautiful coffee table tomes from German publisher TASCHEN, from a limited edition collection of Annie Leibovitz photos to a title that explores fashion through the decades. For an extended experience, book Tea at TASCHEN to enjoy freshly brewed tea, savory snacks, and a glass of Champagne as you flip through a book or two. —Emily Heft
You visit either of Lucky Dog Books’ two branches—Jefferson Boulevard in Oak Cliff and Garland Road in East Dallas—not to find a book, but to let a book find you. That’s because the best used bookstores are all about the joy of discovery. Or rediscovery: Try picking up a used copy of one of the classics you were supposed to read in school. Find out what you’ve been missing.
In Duncanville, Enda Pemberton Jones’ journey in education—from ministry to teaching GED prep—led her to open a reading room for her students that grew into a modest loaning library. Now it’s a fully fledged bookstore, stocked with myriad titles, many of which are written by women or people of color.
Now a national secondhand lit-slinging chain, Half Price Books was born in Dallas in 1972 in a former laundromat by Ken Gjemre and Pat Anderson, who stocked that first store with 2,000 titles from their own libraries. Today, you can shop books, CDs (!), vinyl (!!), and more that have come from plenty personal libraries. If you’re lucky, you score a marked-up book with someone’s annotations, which feels like reading two books at the same time.
Local poets should feel at home here. Poets Oak Cliff owner Marcos Cavazos is himself a writer and, befitting its name, this Bishop Arts bookshop gives prime placement to Dallas poetry. A selection of new literary fiction and nonfiction—broad, but with the charming kinds of idiosyncrasies that make a bookshop independent—fills out the rest of the space. —AM
Comic Book Store Lighting Round
Look, we’re not here to start an argument, but comic books are books too. Here are some of your best bets.