About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Sweet Store

23 East Illinois Street
Chicago, IL 60611

What's better than experiencing two great Chicago bookstores (Sandmeyers and Open Books) and one fabulous Chicago library? Well, a third great bookstore, of course. After a special weekend with my husband during which he had agreed to accompany me to the aforementioned establishments, I had a day to myself while he attended a work seminar. As luck would have it, a brief Google investigation turned up a potential shop within walking distance of our hotel. It looked like my nice weekend might be followed by a promising solo trip afterwards. So Monday morning I set out into the heart of Chicago to a bookstore appropriately named after-words.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Power of Books

Open Books
651 W. Lake St.
Chicago, IL 60661

Ask avid readers about the value of reading, and you may get varied answers, but I guarantee they will have no trouble rattling off a few advantages: reading reduces stress; reading adds to your knowledge base; reading broadens understanding of the world; reading is a way to relax and escape. Ask an educator, especially an English teacher or a librarian, and you will likely get even more compelling answers: reading improves memory; reading boosts vocabulary; reading improves focus and concentration; reading improves writing. And did you know that reading can reduce your rate of cognitive decline? You probably won't find it surprising to also learn that books in the home have been linked to academic achievement. I think most of us can agree that literacy is not simply important; it is transformative.

There is a bookstore in Chicago that is taking book selling to a whole new level—helping to improve literacy in an innovative and impressive way. The third stop on my Chicago adventure, Open Books, is built on a remarkable concept, the non-profit bookstore.

Monday, May 29, 2017


Harold Washington Library
400 S. State Street
Chicago, IL 60605

Well, I wasn't anticipating a visit to a library on our weekend in Chicago. (See previous post) But a truly fabulous one sort of fell in our laps. While I was making my purchases at Sandmeyer's, Ellen happened to mention that the bookstore sometimes works in cooperation with a library only a couple of blocks away. So when we found ourselves back out on the sidewalk, I asked my husband if maybe we should stroll a couple of blocks to check it out before catching a cab to our next bookstore destination. “Why not?” he said, and off we went in the direction of the city. Upon inquiry, a friendly passerby assured us that we were headed in the right direction, and within a few minutes, we stood gazing at the imposing edifice that is the Harold Washington Library.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Historic Neighborhood Icon

Sandmeyer's Bookstore
714 S Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60605

I loved my job as a high school librarian; don't get me wrong. But when my husband traveled for business, I was rarely free to tag along. Now that I'm retired, I am more able to accompany him, a perk of retirement that I have enjoyed on a few delightful occasions. (See Hong Kong, Washington, and San Francisco.) Recently a business conference presented me with the possibility of three days in Chicago, a prospect I could not turn down.

Since the conference was on a Monday, we decided to head out on Saturday and spend the prior weekend in the Windy City. Saturday evening was filled with a leisurely stroll along the Riverwalk followed by a delicious meal and terrific music at the House of Blues. (I highly recommend the Voodoo Shrimp and Loretta's meatloaf.) And Sunday? Well, that turned out to be a perfect bookstore day, and this time my husband decided to tag along with me. First stop: Sandmeyer's Bookstore in Printers Row.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Great Idea!

To wrap up my posts about San Francisco, I must include a brief note about this little gem. When I think about the main places that I see people reading books, there are two that immediately spring to mind: the beach and the airport. A tip of the hat to the folks at KDL, Kent District Library, who apparently think the same way. At our local airport on the way to our gate as we headed to San Francisco, my husband and I spotted this free book exchange right on the concourse. Brilliant!! Hmmmmm, I wonder if they have one on a beach somewhere.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Big Apple in San Francisco

506 Clement St. @ 6th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118

“Content: pleased and satisfied, not needing more.” Webster's definition aptly describes my state of mind after two and a half lovely days and three great bookstores in the remarkable city of San Francisco. (See City Lights, Russian Hill, and Alexander.) I had taken full advantage of some delightful weather to venture forth within a reasonable radius of our hotel. With decidedly gloomier conditions forecast for the remainder of our time in the City, I was indeed content with the bookstore experiences I had enjoyed. But in the back of my mind was a recommendation I had received from Bonnie Stuppin during my visit to Alexander Book Company. “You must go to Green Apple,” she said. Perhaps on my next trip to San Francisco, I thought. But as luck would have it, I awoke the next morning to a sky with just enough blue to give me hope that I might be able to sneak in one more bookstore, and off I went. After all, when a bookstore owner recommends another store, I take that very seriously.