|Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore, Forest Park, IL|
Bookstore owners, like bookstores, come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. By and large, they are all a very likable group of people. I'm not sure whether the best part of my visit here was the bookstore or Augie A., the affable owner. Rarely have I met someone who is so enthusiastic about his store, so conversant and knowledgeable about his subject and inventory, and so friendly and welcoming. And when you meet and visit with him you'll undoubtedly hear his wonderful infectious laugh. But never have I been to a bookstore that has so embraced its unique niche of mysteries and history (disclaimer: Ok, I've been to bookstores with specialized books so "never" may be an inaccurate comment).
This store has exactly what it says. Lots of mysteries including many by international authors, historical fiction, and historical non-fiction. Doris Kearns Goodwin? Check. Jo Nesbø? Check. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? Duh. Augie makes a point of curating an inventory of books that you can't get in an airport or at a Walgreen's. You'll also find a good selection of books by local authors and local interests. The store is not only huge for author events but also offers historical presentations. For example, the store has presented the trial of Richard III as well as an event with Joan of Arc. These events/reenactments are great ways to bring people in and are also a good source of income since the history events cost $10 to attend. As there are no sidelines here to speak of, this is a nice "extra" for the business. The store is also host to several groups including The Historical Discussion group and the Sisters of Crime, which was originated by author Sara Paretsky.
Centuries & Sleuths has been around for 16 years and even though things are going ok, they could always be better. I'm sure other indies can identify with what Augie shared with me about customers who wander in and say, oh my, how nice, a bookstore and then turn around and walk right out. Augie's response? "Buy a damn book!" I couldn't agree more.
This is where you come in, citizens of Forest Park and Chicago suburbs. You have a great bookstore with an owner who could teach history and present seminars. These stores need to be a part of the fabric in every community. So may I suggest you visit Centuries & Sleuths and buy a damn book. Once you see this store and meet Augie, you'll be a regular. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
JUST FINISHED: Seinfeldia, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong. This book is an absolute must read for anyone who was a fan or fanatic of the Seinfeld TV show. You'll find out about the actors that could've been cast as the regulars, the fringe players, trivia, the theme song, and the Seinfeld events staged all over the country (like a herky-jerky Elaine dance contest!). I love this book. Highly recommended and a must for the Seinfeld fan.
CURRENTLY READING: Unexpectedly, Milo, Matthew Dicks.
RECENTLY PURCHASED: The Daughter Of Time, Josephine Tey.
|Another exterior view.|
|Looking into the store from the front entrance. Astute readers may recognize the celebrity in the foreground. Yes, that's my mom.|
|View looking to the right from the front entrance.|
|Just inside the front door and to the left you'll find mysteries by international authors.|
|Events are held in this area located near the front of the store.|
|Some great places to have a seat and try a book.|
|Sherlock Holmes will be watching over your visit. Lots of very cool things at the top of the bookshelves throughout the store.|
|This store has some very fascinating genres.|
|Underneath this shelf display you'll find Civil War books.|
|A portion of the children's section.|
|An overview of the store looking from the back toward the front entrance.|
|Make sure you find this table. Bundled books at a great price.|
|This might come in handy if you're trying out a book with big words.|
|A very large and fascinating diorama of a war scene that Augie let me see in the back room, currently not on display.|
|Just a partial listing of the mysteries up for discussion here.|
|You'll find Sherlock Holmes' coat and hat hanging in the store.|
|There are very few sidelines but you will find Sherlock Holmes greeting cards.|
|Make sure you check out the bathroom. It is like a museum and this picture doesn't do it justice. You won't get an experience like this on Amazon!|
|With Augie on the right, the fine owner at Centuries & Sleuths. Thanks for a great visit.|