Critical Linking: January 10, 2015

This summer, my husband and I took a 5,000-mile drive that began as work—my book tour—and ended up being one of our best vacations. The itinerary was dictated not by the locations of national parks or can’t-miss restaurants but great indie bookstores. To our delight, that meant stops in some very appealing towns. Places with flourishing bookshops, we found, have vibrant arts scenes, innovative restaurants and prospering local businesses. Here, six of the most notable stops.

An indie bookstore tour is a great idea, and the shops highlighted in this piece are neat.

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Sukyi and Patrick McMahon are taking their love of science fiction books to a new dimension.

The Austin married couple has taken advantage of the new mobile retailing ordinance passed by City Council last summer by opening Fifth Dimension Books, is a science-fiction focused bookstore in a bus that is parked most of the time at 43rd and Duval streets in the Hyde Park neighborhood.

A bookstore on wheels in Austin, Texas!

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Over the course of seven books and eight movies, the Harry Potter series has transported readers into a magical world. Universal Studios has sought to make at least part of that world into reality with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida (and soon in Los Angeles as well). The first park, within the Islands of Adventure, opened to the public on June 18, 2010, and allows park guests to walk throughout the shops of Hogsmeade and into the Hogwarts castle. Four years later, a second immersive park opened: Diagon Alley, which is connected to Hogsmeade via the iconic Hogwarts Express. Both parks have been massive feats of creative and engineering innovation, built to replicate the Harry Potter universe in the movies to a staggering level of detail—and they’re filled with Easter eggs for fans to discover.

Next time you’re heading to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, keep an eye out for some of these treasures.

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Whether to immerse yourself in the settings of your favourite books, to get a better perspective on what made the authors tick or to engage with a community of like-minded literature-lovers, you will definitely find something to write home about in these ten bibliophile-friendly cities.

Some of these best cities for book lovers are surprises.

Looking for your next great audiobook? We recommend Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. Get it or one of 250,000 other audiobooks free when you begin an Audible 30-day trial. audible_scifi_570x147
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