Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Barnes & Noble Oakbrook Center

Bookstore: Barnes and Noble Oakbrook Center

Location: Oak Brook, Illinois

Why I Love Them: The Barnes and Noble at the Oakbrook Center is a pretty typical Barnes and Noble for it's kind. Meaning for a Barnes and Noble attached to a shopping mall and having an outdoor entrance leading to the parking lot and an indoor entrance leading to the mall. It's pretty cookie cutter; two stories, rather narrow, and could be a Barnes and Noble basically anywhere. In fact it really looks like the one outside Milwaukee. Not that there's anything wrong with that! Sometimes it's nice to go to a foreign town and be surrounded by the familiar. Why do you think that when you're traveling so many of the restaurants you see along the road are ones you could find in your own backyard? To some it's depressing, to others it's comforting. For me, it is how it is and it's nice to know that I can at least count on the layout and the signing protocols to be the same. Because let's face it, there's only a few reasons I stop at a Barnes and Noble while traveling, I'm there for a signing, there's something particular I'm picking up, or I'm going from point A to point B and I know I can be assured a restroom and a Starbucks. So thank you Barnes and Noble for your events and for a safe space to pee. What is so nice about this particular Barnes and Noble is that right around the mall is a restaurant, Mon Ami Gabi. The restaurant is basically your mall version of a French Bistro, but somehow, unlike Barnes and Noble, it doesn't feel like a chain. There's lovely crunchy warm bread with jam to spread on it! Scallops that are to die for. And just so much food that I want to order that I wish there was one in Wisconsin! Perhaps one day...  

Best Buy: As for why I trekked south to a Barnes and Noble in Illinois? Well that's all due to my best buy, Patricia Briggs's Frost Burned. Patricia Briggs rarely comes to the Midwest. In fact, since I've been a fan of hers I think this is the ONLY time she has set foot within a few states radius of me, and believe me this is something I pay attention to. For years I had relied on Murder by the Book with a few outlier bookstores, Mysterious Galaxy, and The Bookworm, for signed editions, but I finally had a chance to get one signed in person! Patricia Briggs might just be my favorite Urban Fantasy author out there... or at least a solid tie with Charlaine Harris, because I really love Charlaine and her books were my gateway drug into this genre. I think I'd have to meet Patricia a second time, because I've meet Charlaine twice, so she does have a competitive edge... But what I loved so much about seeing Patricia Briggs is that she really knows her readers. She knows they are shy introverts for the most part and when you get up to see her in the signing line she asks you what color pen you'd like your book signed in. She told me it's a way to get the ball rolling, because color choice is a very personal decision, notice my pink? After that the conversation flowed more easily and I got to tell her about my all time favorite creature in the Mercyverse, the Otterkin, who appear in River Marked. She then told me the inspiration for those evil water dwellers and how it oddly tied into the Chicago area. This just made me love those evil Otterkin even more, if becoming even more wary of Otters! 


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