Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Callin' Baton Rouge ... A City of Readers?

In a recent ranking of "Most Literate Cities" by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, my home city of Baton Rouge ranked #30 of 79. We're in the top half, beh-bih! The other two Louisiana cities ranked are New Orleans (43) and Shreveport (50). (Only cities of 200,000 or more people were studied.)

The study, conducted "to measure the public's propensity for reading," draws from a variety of sources, including U.S. Census data, newspaper circulation rates, magazines published, library resources, booksellers, and educational attainment level.

Of course, who knows how accurate these things are. Still, it's nice to see that our Louisiana cities aren't at the bottom of the barrel. That spot is taken by El Paso, Texas.

Here are the Top 10, plus a few that are of interest to me personally:

1. Minneapolis, MN

2. Seattle, WA

3. Pittsburgh, PA

4. Madison, WI

5. Cincinnati, OH

6. Washington, DC

7. Denver, CO

8. Boston, MA

9. Portland, OR

10. San Francisco, CA

11. Columbus, OH

28. Charlotte, NC

30. Baton Rouge, LA

43. New Orleans, LA

50. Shreveport, LA

53. Greensboro, NC

Cities are also ranked by education, publications, newspapers, libraries, and booksellers.

By the way, the cities with the most booksellers (retail and rare/used) per 10,000 population are San Francisco, Cincinnati, Seattle, Madison, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Louisville, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Scottsdale, AZ.

My favorite bookstores are Cottonwood Books (Baton Rouge), Maple Street Book Shop (New Orleans), and Malaprops (Asheville). My all-time favorite is Elliott's (Baton Rouge), which unfortunately had to close down in the 90s (thank you very much, B&N). Cottonwood is great because they have a mix of used and new (and the new books are all GOOD books), and they have Danny, who is so friendly and helpful, and obviously has a love for books himself.

Anyone want to practice using the comment feature? (See my "Be Anonymous" post of earlier today.) What is your favorite bookstore?


Anonymous said...

My favorite bookstores are used bookstores. I love them. There's this one place on Chartres in the Quarter that had a very fair trading policy. If you give them 5 paperbacks, no matter the size, they'll give you a book. And all of their paperbacks were less than $5. So I'd buy a book once a week or so to read at work (I worked in tourist information booths) and trade when I got enough. I LOVE the smell of used bookstores, I don't know what it is... just a great, old book smell.

Thanks for letting me post that one :)

Cousin Stacey

Waterfall said...

I love the smell of used bookstores, too! That's one reason I love Cottonwood ... the front of it is new books, but the back is a bunch of narrowly spaced shelves overflowing with used books. And it has "the smell"!

Hiking at Stevens Creek Heritage Preserve

This weekend, Dan and I went on a two-mile loop hike at Stevens Creek Heritage Preserve. It was a pleasant little hike with a couple of smal...