There’s really no bad time to spend time with a good book, but this time between the holidays and spring feels like a particularly good time—and what could be better on a dreary day than browsing in a cozy bookstore?

In a perfect world (well, my perfect world anyway), every small town would have a bookstore and people would support those bookstores. The predictions that independent bookstores would go the way of the dodo in the age of Amazon and downloadable audio and e-books aren’t coming true for now, which is a good thing, because those locally owned bookstores are an important part of a vibrant community.

Alas, every town in the Upstate does not have a bookstore, but there are a handful of great independent bookstores in the area that are well stocked with a curated selection of books and staffed with knowledgeable booksellers.

In Easley, Poor Richard’s Booksellers occupies the building where the original public library was housed and has been serving the Easley community for more than 30 years. Their Facebook page is worth a follow for the quirky book-related memes mixed in with the announcements of new releases and other book news.

M Judson, situated in the thick of things in downtown Greenville, right on South Main

An author event at M Judson

Street, a block away from the Peace Center and across the street from Soby’s, is a book lover’s oasis. Billing itself as “more than a bookstore”—“a literary hub, a cultural lifestyle,” M Judson hosts a variety of events, from book signings to story hours to regular songwriters’ showcases.

Contrary to its name, Fiction Addiction offers a full range of books—yes, there is plenty of fiction, but also children’s, business and finance, biography and memoir, art, Christian fiction,

Fiction Addiction’s “Book Your Lunch” event

and more. Tucked into a strip mall off of Congaree Road in Greenville behind the Haywood Mall, it might be easy to miss, but it’s worth the trip to check out their large selection or one of their events.

A different kind of book proposal inside Hub City Bookshop

In downtown Spartanburg, there is Hub City Bookshop—one of a very few nonprofit bookstores around, housed in the Masonic Temple building on West Main Street. It, along with Hub City Press, is under the parent organization of Hub City Writers Project. The Hub City Press books are on display in the front of the store, but it is very much a full-service bookstore with a wide selection of titles. They, too, have a variety of events for readers and writers.

Is a good used bookstore more your thing? There are plenty of those in the Upstate too! Here is a sampling:

by Sharon Purvis