For a while, clutter wasn’t cool. Spotify and Netflix had come for our media collections. Books were heavy, and so ceded their reign to a plastic thing filled with all 3,000 pages of A Song of Ice and Fire. And The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up said to throw out 90 percent of your house and leave only the items that bring you to enlightenment, or something.
But it’s time to get messy again. After all, without a shelf of books, what would your date—invited upstairs for the first time—browse in anticipation while you pour wine in the kitchen? And how good it feels to thumb through records or a CD booklets to find the right tempo for a party (it’s almost always Sam Cooke, by the way) instead of drowning in the bottomless well of music options provided by streaming services. Even board games are making a comeback. People want excuses to be in the same room together, scribble down scores with dull pencils, throw real-life dice.
Seattle might be the seat of Amazon, great eradicator of inefficiency. But it’s also home to some world-class bookstores and record shops welcoming analog enthusiasts with stacks on stacks of beautiful, tangible stuff.
Pick up a pile of new reads recommended by these esteemed Seattle booksellers.
Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 10th Ave, Capitol Hill, 206-624-6600; elliottbaybooks.com
Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdich: “For over 30 years, Louise Erdrich has graced readers’ lives with award-winning novels set largely in Ojibwe country of the north-central U.S. She does so again in Future Home of the Living God, but in a future that feels close to our present with devastation by flood, fire, and shifting political ground.” —Rick Simonson, Bookseller
2414 N 45th St, Wallingford, 206-633-0811; openpoetrybooks.com
Supply Chain by Pimone Triplett: “We’re really excited about Pimone Triplett’s newest collection, Supply Chain. Either as part of a longer series or a stunning short piece, Pimone builds luscious poetic landscapes of time and place, family and self.” —Billie Swift, Owner
Ada's Technical Books
425 15th Ave E, Capitol Hill, 206-322-1058; seattletechnicalbooks.com
Artemis, by Andy Weir: “We absolutely adored The Martian and are eagerly awaiting Andy Weir’s follow-up novel, Artemis—a heist thriller set in the first lunar colony—for more hard science fiction and playful humor.” —John Sepulveda, Bookstore Manager
1408 NE 42nd St, University District, 206-633-1800; magusbooksseattle.com
A Rare Edition of Your Favorite Classic: “At Magus, we see many hard-to-find editions of perennially loved classics. It is really cool when an old favorite like Jane Eyre or a novel by Charles Dickens comes through the door in a beautiful old binding with leather or marbled endpapers.” —Hanna McElroy, Owner
4252 Fremont Ave N, Fremont, 206-397-4271; booklarder.com
Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman:“Deb strikes the perfect balance of witty writing and delicious, doable recipes. If you enjoy reading your cookbooks as much as cooking from them, you’ll love this.” —Lara Hamilton, Owner
Drop the needle on a classic LP, a new release from your favorite artist, or a diamond in the rough pulled from a bargain bin at one of these record shops in a neighborhood near you.
Bop Street Records
Floor-to-ceiling record library. 2220 NW Market St, Ballard, 206-297-2232; bopstreetrecords.com
Cozy neighborhood shop for vinyl heads. 4308 Fremont Ave N, Fremont, 206-268-0702; daybreakrecordstore.com
Easy Street Records
Indie-rock haven with adjoining cafe. 4559 California Ave SW, West Seattle, 206-938-3279; easystreetonline.com
Historic location that doubles as a music venue. 1201 S Vale St, Georgetown, 206-762-5638; georgetownrecords.net
Light in the Attic Records
KEXP’s very own record store. 472 First Ave N, Queen Anne, 206-359-5284; lightintheattic.net
Rat City Records
Throwback to Seattle’s grimy alternative past. 9632 16th Ave SW, White Center, 206-432-9537