Friday, June 22, 2018

Myopic Bookstore

Bookstore: Myopic Bookstore

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Why I Love Them: Whenever I go somewhere I try to find a bookstore nearby to visit. One November I was headed to the Chicago area to go to a Lauren Willig event and the whole day would oddly, aside from Lauren, have been a book bust if not for the Borders on Michigan Avenue having a going out of business sale. Because earlier in the day I had decided to take a chance on a bookstore that everyone raved about but that left me oddly cold. You might be wondering why I would profile a store that didn't bowl me over... well truthfully, I just want to say my two cents on a store that so many people rave about and secondly, all bookstores deserve a second chance and I haven't been there a second time and everyone in this day and age needs to support brick and mortar stores. Let's get to the point, I'm talking about Myopic Bookstore. Myopic looks exactly like what you'd expect a used bookstore in Chicago to look like. The "L" is right behind the store and creates that clackity whooshing sound that is the lifeblood of the city. The building is old and the top two stories have a wonderful bay window. But inside the store feels tenuous. Some landings feel as if they'd collapse with too much weight on them. Ceilings are occasionally really low as you look through old crates that have been lashed together to create shelving. As for the basement? The least said the better, although it could easily have been in The Silence of the Lambs. But for all that, they had great marketing graphics, and for that I'm willing to forgive a lot.

Best Buy: For all it's rickety and temporary feel, some sections felt homey, like there was a glow about them, most likely from the 80s desk lamps strapped to shelves so you could see. It was in one of these comfortable nooks that I found my best buy: a few Angela Thirkell books. Now most people probably don't know her, but to those of use who crave things to be even more British in our lives, she is a comfort read. Anthony Trollope wrote a series of books set in Barsetshire. They were famous, loved, and memorable, and not just because of the miniseries starring Alan Rickman. Though Alan Rickman is sheer perfection so you should check out The Barchester Chronicles as soon as you can. In the 1930s, almost fifty years after Trollope's death, Thirkell started to write books set in Barsetshire. They were contemporary, much like Trollope was in his day. They were funny and satiric, and just lovely, making it no surprise why Virago Press finally got around to republishing many of these classics. This book buying excursion was before Virago got involved. At this time the only editions were pricey copies published by Moyer Bell, the same publishers as Helene Hanff if you're into those kinds of weird facts. In fact many of the editions I found that day at Myopic were never released and don't appear to be in the pipeline at Virago, no matter how many times I email them! So this proves that even in the most odd of stores I can still find a best buy... but in truth, I can always find an excuse to buy a new or new to me book.    


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