Culture + Style

Best Bookstores in Houston to Satisfy the Literary Geek Inside All of Us

It’s tempting to cozy up with the classics at Houston’s independent bookstores. (Photo: Dee Zunker)

American author John Steinbeck has famously described the Texas state of mind as being more like a mystique or religion, and we can’t disagree with his take. Texas has one of the strongest characters of any state in the nation, evident even beyond the books it inspires. In fact, Houston is an unexpected respite for book lovers, and you can tap into your literary leanings at three exceptional independent bookstores. Grab a cup of tea and your favorite blanket; you’ll definitely want to cozy up with classics from these bookstores in Houston.

Brazos Bookstore

Brazos
Check the events calendar at Brazos, or simply roam the aisles of books. (Photo: Corby Kelly)

With Houston roots dating back to 1974, this bookstore’s reputation has been solidified as one of the best in town. But don’t be fooled, this place is more than your average bookstore. Featuring literary critique, dialogue, book readings, seasonal events and book tours, Brazos Bookstore keeps it fresh with an ever-updating calendar of events. Specific genres that the store specializes in are fiction, poetry, history, crime, children’s books and indie literature. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask one of their friendly staff for a recommendation—all are happy to gush about their favorite works!

The Lift

The Lift
You’ll find so much more than books at The Lift. (Photo: Courtesy of The Lift)

If you’re looking for something a little different than the traditional experience of bookstores in Houston, The Lift is the place for you. Located in the Heights neighborhood, this bookstore also serves as a boutique shop and gift store that always offers up the freshest finds. From local souvenirs like the children’s book Goodnight Houston, to funky socks, mugs and Texas organic soaps, you really never know what you will find here. Open daily, this gem is one you won’t want to miss.

Murder by the Book

Conveniently located just down the street from Brazos Bookstore, Murder by the Book is hands-down one of the best mystery bookstores in Houston, if not the entire country. Specializing in thrillers, murder mysteries and crime dramas, this is a haven for the mystery lover. Featuring both classic and contemporary writers, the store keeps over 25,000 titles stocked and has been in business for over 30 years.

One of the best parts? The staff is as passionate about the genre as you are. If there is a particular story arc or plot points you like to read about, they can recommend a book catered to your specific interests. Now that’s what we call case closed.