Here’s one such place: Town House Books, thirty miles west of Chicago near the Fox River in St. Charles, IL. Now, I realize my far-flung readership is unlikely to pass through St. Charles anytime soon, but after all, isn’t that what Dorothy said about Oz?
This isn’t an ad for Town House Books specifically anyhow. I offer the place as an example of the sort of bookshop which should be in the life of every reader — and my Niceworkaholics are an unusually literate bunch. Put it this way: It’s the sort of book store that makes you want to read every book ever printed; as opposed to those convenient but soul-chilling big box book stores that make you wonder why you bothered staying up late when you were five swotting the alphabet.
I mean, just look at the place, folks:
Ain’t she a beaut? And believe it or not, the attached café is good. You can snarf up flourless chocolate cake while greedily pawing the loot you’ve gathered book-hunting in the shop proper. Weather permitting, you can do all your snarfing and greedy pawing in this narrow outdoor area between Town House Books and an antique store:
I tried to get a shot from inside, but I’m not photographer enough to capture both the sunny outside and the bright interior without either making it look like a nuke has gone off in the street or the interior is crypt-like. Here’s the photo I managed, but please trust that it’s not really so dark inside as my simple-minded Kodak makes it look:
In Chicago, we had Barbara’s Bookstore (which used to be a dinky operation). In Hudson, OH, we had The Learnéd Owl. Here in Elmhurst, we used to have Anderson’s Book Shoppe, until they closed that branch (one of three) — a black day. Deep sigh…
Well, that’s all I’ll say about Town House: if you have such a bookstore in your life — independent, quirky, filled with nooks, slightly dishevelled — you know what I mean; if you don’t, you are probably one of the poor lost souls forced by bitter circumstance to buy your books through Amazon.
Apropos of Nuthin’: You will enjoy this photo essay by Up Hill and Down Dale on a Falconry Exhibition near her home. I especially like the 6th photo down of the falcon perching on a young woman’s leather glove.
UPDATE: Here are two more pictures of Town House Books, these taken by my daughter.
She was unsatisfied with the interior with the chair because of the imperfect focus. Well, maybe it’s not National Geographic quality, but I think it captures something about the place. If the worn carpet irks you, stick with Waldenbooks. To me it just says comfy and casual.
The other shot — the one of the carved door, taken from inside the store — was a happy accident: She sneezed just as she pushed the button and got a nice sharp, well-framed image. Is that the secret of the great photographers? Did Ansel Adams have allergies?