Exploring Chicago: “I Am Booked”

Exploring Chicago: “I Am Booked”

As I mentioned in a previous post, Chicago is a diverse city, full of unique neighborhoods. Each, has its own culture, identity, and vibe.

Now, imagine this scenario. You are sitting in an antique arm chair with a freshly brewed cup of ground coffee on a side table while you cradle an anthology of the poetry of Jorge Luis Borges in your left hand. The ambiance is relaxed and you can quietly savor the text and the beverage. The following description is how many unique and quaint bookstores around Chicago. While some are more formal bookstores like a Barnes & Noble, others tend to be hole in the wall places that reminds a customer of something similar to a place from the magical world of Harry Potter. Many of these stores tend to be cheaper and a have an array of uncommon texts. To enter one of these bookstores is an experience in itself. From the smell of paperback books to the bookshelves that never seem to end to the sound of rustling paper; your senses are heightened during your visit.

Here are some bookstores that I would recommend near Loyola:

  1. Armadillo’s Pillow: 3 blocks from Loyola’s Campion Hall is Armadillo’s Pillow. While the store serves its primary function to sell books, they also sell little trinkets, small scale art pieces, incense, and sometimes accessory jewelry. Throughout, rocking chairs and comfortable seats are available to those who wish to sit and read a book. Often, music is heard and features either local artists, opera arias, or solely instrumental pieces. Many of the books are reasonably priced with some shelves selling for $1 or a box in the corner for free books. While it is smaller compared to other bookstores on this list, it is still a treasure of Rogers Park. (http://www.armadillospillow.com/)
  2. Unabridged Bookstore: Found in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood , Unabridged, is personally, my favorite bookstore in the city. Like Armadillo, the prices in the store are very well priced with a bargain section that can easily rival Barnes & Noble. Several times a year, the store hosts various authors to come and talk about their books at either the store or the Music Box Theatre. Last year, I got the opportunity to attend a talk from my favorite author, David Mitchell, on his new text Slade House. He was accompanied by Lana Wachoski, who directed a movie off of one of his books, Cloud Atlas. I greatly enjoyed my experience as I was able to have a quick conversation with the both of them but also got both to sign my books. The store is also renowned for its extensive collection of classics, particularly Penguin Classics. Likewise, the shop feels almost like a maze with its varying collection through each twist and turn, similar to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (http://www.unabridgedbookstore.com/)
  3. Myopic Books: Found a few blocks off the Blue Line at Damen, in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, this bookstore is unassuming at first glance. Compared to other bookstores, the store is more tall than it is wide. When entering the shelves are overwhelming as they tower over you, as if the Eye of Sauron (Lord of the Rings) was daunting you. With over four levels, the place confuses you on where your adventure should start. Here, the shelves are packed closer together, to the point that one person can walk down the aisle at a time. Even the basement, where one can find biographies and science fiction, is reminiscent of a catacomb or a prison. Regardless, this is a place not worth missing whether you come for the slam poetry or for the beautiful books. (http://www.myopicbookstore.com/)


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