Best Bookstore 


READERS' PICK: Borders is everything a public library should be. In fact, it's much more peaceful than any public library we've visited. It's well lit and spacious with enough comfy chairs and quiet nooks so that you could really disappear into the pages of the latest Oprah book. They even have those tall ladders with wheels on a rail for getting to those high shelves while showing off your calf muscles. You'll find the audio-visual section festooned with headphones so that you can preview new releases just like on Napster. Or wire your kids up to a kiddy viddie while you check nearby to see if O Brother, Where Art Thou is out on DVD yet. We'll never forgive ourselves for not snagging that Being John Malkovich gift box complete with cast-member nesting dolls. There's a lot more than books, too; we found journals, notecards, recycled stationary, mini fountains, bookmarks, calendars, road maps and tarot cards. And the impressive children's section has kid-friendly carpeted platforms for little ones to peruse their favorite picture books. From flannel boards, puzzles and finger puppets to a giant storytime copy of Owl Babies, it's all here to be touched and tot-tested. And those without kids (i.e., with free time) can grab an espresso and relax with the 2001 Tucson Weekly Best Of. Sweet!

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Bookman's. (See Best Books--Used)

OF MYTHIC PROPORTIONS: Barnes & Noble, 7325 N. La Cholla Blvd., 5130 E. Broadway Blvd. We know we're supposed to hate big chains because somebody told us to. We think it was Joan Baez. But, doggonit, Barnes & Noble is addictive. Tons of books, new titles, reference books, computer software, kids' stuff, music, the bookstore equivalent of cutout bins. It's real hard not to like. No, wait! It's impossible not to like. Sorry, Joan.

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