rating every english-language bookstore in the entire world

This page tracks my quest to visit, rate, and review every single english-language bookstore in the entire world (current status: 55 / ???).

Ratings and rankings are a fundamentally fraught way to interact with the world, but I think fundamentally worthwhile. They're a way to take something that is important to you seriously, to make space to really deeply consider what exactly it is that brings you joy.

I visit bookstores primarily to discover books that I wouldn't otherwise see, so the main thing that I care about is curation — that a bookstore consistently has interesting books, and ideally ones that I don't already know about. I prefer small well-curated stores to large expansive ones. My ratings here reflect that, but also consider other things like the aesthetic, decor, clientele, and other more nebulous qualities. While I mostly rate based on how interesting a store is to me, bookstores that do not have many books that interest me may rate highly anyways, if I think what they're doing is important and they're doing it well. The star ratings are inexact and may fluctuate without notice. Ordering of bookstores with the same star rating is arbitrary.

Despite being a ordered list, this is not "the best bookstores", or any such similar thing. I visit different stores at different times depending on the mood I'm in, and I'm always happy to be in a bookstore and happy that these bookstores exist, even the not-very-good ones.