Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Unabridged Bookstore

Bookstore: Unabridged Bookstore

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Why I Love Them: Now the story of Unabridged in Chicago is going to be a little back to front, in that I went to one of their offsite events three years prior to making it to their brick and mortar. By back to front I mean that I'm going to talk about the store first and the event second. It was a freakishly cold April day, snow virtually blinded us all the way to Chicago with unseasonal whiteout conditions. After seeing the musical, Matilda, it seemed only right to go to a bookstore as Matilda herself would have done. So we headed up to Unabridged in Boystown and eventually secured parking. The store is about three rooms jammed with books. But it's the special touches, the subsections you wouldn't expect that make Unabridged a wonderful bookstore. The first place to hit is their discount section in the back left of the store, which amazed me the first time I saw it, full of so many books I wanted I didn't know which ones to buy, and yes, I was TRYING to be frugal. I did pretty good grabbing only three books from this section, two of which were ones I'd been eyeing for a few years. Yet this section, despite how epic it is, wasn't what made me love this store. What made me forever want to visit Unabridged whenever I'm in Chicago is that they had a jaw-dropping section of just New York Review Books Classics, which print so much British and Mitford goodness that I squealed with joy. And then I found their section of special edition Penguin books and it looked like my friends might not be able to get me out of there to go eat dinner. Specialty sections are easily the quickest way to my heart! As for the wall of black penguin classics, I might have developed the vapors. 

Best Buy: Though my best buy was my first brush with them resulting in me meeting Neil Gaiman. In 2013 Neil was embarking on his last signing tour promoting The Ocean at the End of the Lane. One of his stops was the Music Box Theatre which was hosting a reading and signing put on by Unabridged and about a mile and a half away from their brick and mortar. Seeing as it was 100 degrees outside we weren't in any mood to walk that distance twice therefore it would be three years later and the polar opposite in weather when I would finally walk through their door! But back to the day at hand. I have talked before about everything coming together to make a perfect day... well this wasn't perfect, it was too hot, the wait was very long, but there were moments that were perfect, and the whole day was memorable, especially the coconut sorbet I had after the event. But the highlight was sitting in the second row of a cold theatre and listing to Neil Gaiman speak. While The Ocean at the End of the Lane will never be my favorite of Neil's books, it will always take me back to sitting there and listening to him read. I can never thank Unabridged enough for getting a chance to not only meet Neil but to tell him how I found him as an author and how reading Neverwhere, after a gruelling several month ordeal reading East Asian Literature to finish my Bachelor's degree, made me actually like reading again. I didn't actually tell him all that, what I told him was that it was the first time ever my cat sat on my lap while I read an entire book. This was something Spot NEVER did. He didn't like me having my attention divided. So here's to stories about cats and Neil. If you really want to read about this day in more detail I wrote about it previously during my Gaiman Gala.


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