I knew I was in for a good time when, upon entering the Book Loft in Columbus, Ohio, the desk clerk handed me a map because I was a Book Loft virgin. Thus began my two-hour foray into this labyrinth of an independent book store.

The Book Loft resides in a series of historic buildings that date to pre-Civil War days, and once housed things like a general store and a saloon. This set-up makes for many narrow hallways and alcoves, all filled to the brim with literary goodness.

Each little room in the store has a theme, from history to art to local authors and everything in between. It is organized chaos in the best of ways. After five minutes there, I started to think that the Book Loft seems like a physical representation of how my brain organizes information. Slightly messy, not fully logical, but full of surprises.

If you are looking for author-signed copies of books, the Book Loft is a good starting place. Signed best sellers seem fairly common in the store. It also has a delightful selection of bookish merchandise, including t-shirts, bags, and socks. And it sells some unique and hilarious greeting cards.

The only thing I kept wanting to see was a sitting area, because I love to sit for a few minutes in a cozy chair and drink a hot cuppa. Though there were wooden chairs in some of the larger rooms, I did not find any place to curl up with a purchase and relax.

But, that all changes based on the season. On my way in, I did see a beautiful courtyard, lined with flowers and benches. The cold fall rain did not allow me to sit there and enjoy the space, but on a summer night, armed with a cup of coffee from the adorable shop next door, my need for a reading space would be perfectly met.

Although I could go on for many more words, pictures are the best way to get a feel for this fantastic book store. I made sure to take plenty.

What’s your favorite bookstore? Have you been to the Book Loft? Is there another bookstore that I simply must see? Let me know in the comments!

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