By Katy Kelleher
Photograph by Sean Thomas Photography
01 Longfellow Books
With local author readings and multiple monthly book clubs meeting in the roomy space, Longfellow Books is a hub for the Portland literary community. But bookworms from out-of-town won’t feel out of place; Longfellow boasts a staff that is both kind and well-read, ready to recommend thrilling beach reads, instructive gardening tomes, nearly forgotten classics, and any other type of work one could want. Longfellow has a long history of promoting local writers, so be sure to check out its selection of books by Maine authors.
02 Hello Hello Books
Thanks to a pitch-perfect selection of literature, Hello Hello is much mightier than its size would suggest. Those seeking adult contemporary fiction will have particularly good luck at Hello Hello; books are chosen by owner Lacy Simons, who has a great eye for what’s up-and-coming in the literary world. With a prime location at the back of the popular Rock City Cafe, it’s a wonderful spot to linger over coffee and a novel.
03 Friends of the Library Used Bookstore
Forget about Amazon—you don’t need to go online to get dirt-cheap books. What once was a beautiful residence is now home to thousands upon thousands of secondhand titles. Overflow from the shop spills out onto the wraparound porch in stacks and shelves. This copious collection is managed entirely by volunteers, which means funds generated by the shop are funneled right back into the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library.
04 Artisan Books + Bindery
There is something wonderfully romantic about a bookstore on an island, and Artisan Books plays to our bluestocking fantasies perfectly. When you step through the door, you are greeted by several high-back antique chairs, which practically beg readers to stop, sit awhile. If you choose to browse the aisles, take a moment to breathe in the perfume of old books, sharpened by the salty air, while running your fingers over the aged leather spines.
05 Gulf of Maine Books
In a time when screens have nearly defeated paper, Gulf of Maine stands as a hopeful reminder that books—physical, pulpy, glue-bound and ink-stained books—will not easily fall out of fashion. For over 30 years, this shop has been selling everything from adult contemporary fiction to birding guides. The landmark shop hosts events throughout the year, including poetry readings and book signings.
06 Books, Lines + Thinkers
Most people who own bookstores adore the written word, and Wess Connally, proprietor of Books, Lines and Thinkers is no exception. But Wess takes it a step further than most business owners—not only does he write reviews on the inside cover of his favorite books, he also invites shoppers to hang around for rousing discussion and debate. The shelves of this store are packed full of great reads from Maine and beyond, and if you ask nicely, maybe Connally will read you one of his lovely poems. Of course, this avid bibliophile is a writer, as well.