Spending Your Book Dollars in Chicago

When I lived in Brookline, I had a favorite public transit route I would take on my days off. Starting at Coolidge Corner, I would take the 66 bus to Harvard Square, follow that with the 1 bus down Mass Ave to Newbury Street, and finally take the Green Line back to Brookline. Each stop afforded multiple bookstores to stop and spend hours at. Many of my meager dollars were spent on these roundbooktrips.

After moving to Chicago, it became clear that a) there were fewer bookstores (that I was aware of, oh naive youth that I was) and b) the buses ran in straight lines and didn’t make snake paths to all of the best bookstores. So after much exploration and four years of living in a giant city with no car, I present to you the four best bookstores you can get to if you are lazy and live in Logan Square.

1.  Quimby’s Bookstore

  • Great selection of zines, lit mags, and all kinds of weird literary ephemera
  • Interesting readings and classes on offbeat or lesser known artists and art
  • Very independent
  • Carry GS!
  • A LOT of LGBT literature, music literature, small press journals, and hard-to-find political writing and biographies

2.  The Book Cellar

  • Lots of local artists and writers do readings and events
  • Lots of events throughout the city and onsite
  • Lots of support for local authors and artists
  • Carry a good amount of fiction, including most of the Dalkey archive, lots of anthologies, and a lot of larger lit mags and journals
  • Feature Chicago based literature and authors

3.  City Lit Books

  • Very active in the neighborhood, with a lot of community and children’s events
  • Large cooking and hobbies section, which is really nice since they’re right next door to the weekly farmer’s market
  • Have a super up-to-date stock of both national and local authors
  • Beautiful restored building and shelving

4.  Uncharted Books

  • Huge selection of used books across a crazy amount of genres
  • Carry local lit mags/journals (hopefully GS soon!)
  • Event space for local artists
  • Very dark and quiet inside

So anyway, there is a pretty comprehensive look at the bookstores that are easily accessible to someone who is lazy and lives in a very specific part of the city of Chicago. You could also check out Myopic Books, but sometimes there are so many books in there that it is very overwhelming (although my brother and I did once wait out a flash Midwestern rainstorm in there). So,

5.  Myopic Books

  • An overwhelming amount of used books
  • Tend to have rares or oddities available to drool over
  • Good for waiting out storms

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