To take a break from recommending books, this soapobox article is about brilliant bookstores around the world: bookstores sometimes even more interesting than the books they sell. Per usual, I will only report on the bookstores I have personally been to, as opposed to ones I have only heard about.
Paul's Books in Madison, Wisconsin
Wedged between Walgreen's and another nameless store on the main street of University of Wisconsin-Madison, Paul's Books is a breathe of fresh independently-owned air. This is a true used bookstore: music chosen by the sole employee of the day fills the shop; new customers flip through the vintage and just plain old postcards box; if you turn a bookshelf corner too fast you're likely to stumble on another patron perched on a footstool, reading a book. It is tranquility itself. To not be confused with Paul's Club, a bar at the other end of State Street, though a great presence itself.
Booked For Murder in Madison, Wisconsin