Books can take you anywhere— and that cliché only scratches the surface. The way books can show you new perspectives, inspire you and move you is nothing short of magic. I think part of what makes Missoula so special is the way so many Missoulians can appreciate the power of a good book.

For an explanation as to why Missoula is such a literary town, you have to start at the University of Montana. UM provides so many careers here that education is part of the character of this city. The faculty and the alumni that live here, who I'd guess are more likely to be readers than not, help build a scholarly culture.

Fortunately for Missoulians, there's no shortage of literary resources in town. No one who lives here thinks, "I'd read more but the nearest bookstore/library is so far away." To name just a few of our book stores, Shakespeare and Co., Fact and Fiction and The Book Exchange. The Missoula Public Library even won the International Library of the Year Award from the International Federation of Library Associations in 2022, and here's a short list of other times Missoula was recognized for being awesome.

Missoulians don't just read, they write too, with the help of groups such as Missoula Writing Collaborative, Free Verse Project and the creative writing program from the UM. There are often events that highlight different kinds of writing by Missoulians, such as poetry readings or stand-up comedy shows. If you'd like to connect with other book lovers in the Garden City, the Missoula Public Library has this list of book groups.

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We asked, and you answered, and then we brainstormed a little bit too. Here are 10 businesses that we think should open a location in Missoula, Montana.

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