It's official: Central West End's Left Bank Books is the best bookstore in Missouri, according to Real Simple.
The national lifestyle magazine recently enlisted the help of Yelp to research the best bookstores in every state. An algorithm sorted out the businesses by the number of reviews and their star rating to find the state's top bookseller — and when in Missouri, Left Bank Books came out as king.
The magazine tells readers that St. Louis' largest and oldest independent bookstore has become a cultural institution since it was started by Washington University grad students in 1969.
"They produce more than 300 local events featuring a large variety of guests— notable authors, local poets, and even state dignitaries (both Hillary Clinton and Jimmy Carter have made appearances) — per year," the magazine notes. "But their community focus goes beyond the store, too. The shop started the Left Bank Book Foundation dedicated to promoting literacy and the literary arts for all St. Louis residents in 2008."
also asked each state's winning store for — what else? — book recommendations. Left Bank Books recommended A Piece of the World
by Christina Baker Kline, a novel inspired by the true story of the subject of Christina's World
, Andrew Wyeth's iconic painting.
For bibliophiles looking for a road trip, Real Simple
names a plethora of other interesting bookstores across the country. Who knew that a store in Georgia has a room that brings Goodnight Moon
to life, or that both Maine and Denver have shops that merge books and booze?
For a look inside Left Bank Books and other independent bookstores around St. Louis, check out our list of "8 Magical Bookstores That Every St. Louis Book Lover Should Visit."