Best Of Tucson®

Best Bookstore

Barnes & Noble Booksellers

READERS' PICK: The two locations of this national chain are not cluttered or claustrophobic: plush chairs into which you can dump yourself; intimate, quiet corners; and a Starbucks to get your nerves jangling like The Byrds' guitars. Cruising teen-agers on weekend nights make the place feel a little like a sock hop, but we're glad to see that reading and books (or at least being around them) have not gone out of fashion.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave. If you want to be surrounded by women's culture and strong feisty women in comfortable shoes, go to the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. If, however, you can't leave Tucson, go to Antigone Books. There are many reasons to love Antigone. It is a women's bookstore (men are welcome) with a good solid selection of books, magazines and women's music, and the friendly and helpful staff will special-order anything they don't have on the shelves. It also has kids' stuff, T-shirts, toys, art, greeting cards, jewelry, journals, address books and lovely gift items. Local and independent, it is a center for community, offering readings, performances, special events and book groups. Antigone Books is a great place to browse, and an even better place to buy.

B-SIDE: Bravo to the hardy staff at Readers Oasis, 3400 E. Speedway Blvd., for offering an independent alternative to the chains that bind us. Tucked back in a corner of the same midtown bazaar that's home to Zia Records, Presidio Grill and Wild Oats, this shop is stocked with a books both quality and quirky including a great regional selection. If they don't have it, they'll order it for you, and regular customers are rewarded with the mighty Powercard, which earns a $10 gift certificate for every $100 spent at the store. Lots of local authors drop by for book signings on weekends; you should too.