Sure it's great that you can visit one store or Website and pretty much be assured that the book you want -- say, Jimmy Buffett's A Pirate Looks at Fifty or Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter -- is available. But atmosphere counts too. We'd rather not spend all our book-shopping time in a crowded, noisy, book-lined version of Wal-Mart; and unfortunately the librarylike Books & Books is located in Coral Gables. The next best thing is Liberties: The selection is damn good (we saw two poet laureates, Robert Hass and Robert Pinsky, on the shelves); the layout provides enough nooks and crannies for quiet browsing; the help is friendly; and the wood-paneled café is set behind glass, so as not to disturb hard-core browsers. Admittedly the place gets crazy with Boca types on the weekend (a smaller version of the store just opened on Las Olas); but we understand that, even before Barnes & Noble and Borders came along, bookstores catered to all types: the Jackie Collins and Cormac McCarthy lovers alike. At Liberties they live in peace and harmony.
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