|The Dial Bookshop, Chicago, IL
Readers, have you ever had the joy of seeing a newborn baby? The happiness of the baby, the parents, and all who come into contact with them is something that washes over everyone. How fitting it is this time of year that I was able to experience this joy by seeing a one-month old baby bookstore that sparkled and shined just like a real new-born baby (minus the drool!). I will remind you all again, the independent bookstore IS returning and I see it just about everywhere.
Like all babies, this one is beautiful. A one-level, multi-room store packed with books floor to ceiling. Each room has wall-sized windows allowing lots of light in as well as a great view of Michigan Ave. The store can be found on the 2nd floor of the historic
Fine Arts Building. History and architecture buffs will love visiting the building in addition to the bookstore. Because the store is so new, it is difficult for the owners to know how to curate the book inventory and sidelines. The summer tourist season will play a huge part in their direction and this stretch of Michigan Ave typically has streams of tourists in those months. I think this location is super to take advantage of those customers. For now, the store offers mostly used books with a few new and some sidelines including greeting cards, stationery, journals, and unique pens and pencils. They also have some collectable and vintage books available. The store is fortunate that the building it is in is owned by a man who is a supporter and patron of the arts allowing the store to be here with a very reasonable lease. Events are in their future and boy do they have a great set-up. Right across the hall is a 750-seat newly refurbished auditorium. For smaller events, they have access to a 100-seat auditorium in the same building. I think the store is positioned (and located) perfectly for a long, successful run.
Aaron L. along with his partner Mary G., co-own this store and the Pilsen Community Bookstore (haven't been to this one yet, but definitely on my list to visit). So far, so good. This is one of those places that will be easily discovered in downtown Chicago. Keeping this store a secret would be like trying to hide a St. Bernard behind a handkerchief, it won't work! As Aaron told me, the store will continue to evolve, expand, and grow. Get there now so you can see this beautiful baby and follow its success and changes through the years. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
JUST FINISHED: Brave Deeds, David Abrams. Story of six American soldiers who go AWOL in Baghdad to go to another base for their sergeant's memorial. Things don't go as planned and life and death challenges emerge. This is a work of fiction that I'm sure has some threads of truth. Excellent account. Recommended.
CURRENTLY READING: The Farm, Tom Rob Smith.
RECENTLY PURCHASED: A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra.
|The Fine Arts Building is absolutely beautiful, worth a visit just by itself. If you look up to the 2nd floor from the outside, you'll see rooms of books. That's the bookstore.
|The beautiful entryway of the Fine Arts Building. It feels hallowed. Go through the doors and take a left to the elevator. One of the few elevators you'll ride that still has an attendant.
|The bookstore is on the 2nd floor and this is the entrance.
|The hallway outside the bookstore. An eager customer catches her breath before entering.
|It's hard to see from this picture but the art design on the window is fantastic. Behind the window is Aaron, the co-owner.
|View looking into the store and slightly left.
|View looking to the right after entering.
|Beautiful display of new books in the front room.
|The store was named after a literary magazine, The Dial. The magazine for a period of time had its offices in the building that now houses the bookstore.
|You'll find this room to the far right in the store.
|ALWAYS ask your independent bookstore about gift cards. These make great gifts and are no-brainers.
|This case has a few of the vintage and collectable books available.
|Looking out the windows and to the left (north) you can get a great view of part of the Chicago skyline. The traffic you see is on Michigan Ave.
|These bookshelves look like any other but they have a history. Aaron got these from the bleachers of a high school gym in Dixon, IL, home of President Ronald Reagan. It is probable that Reagan's rear end sat on these bleachers that now support books.
|Just a few of the items of local interest.
|These shelves are in the middle room, specializing in art and architecture among other things.
|A few of the greeting cards available.
|A nice display of journals, stationery, and unique pencils.
|An overview of the general fiction room. The higher shelves contain many books already shelved at reasonable heights. At some point, they may add some ladders on rails.
|This is the view from the general fiction room looking toward the front entrance and checkout desk, barely visible.
|If you want to see some unique pens and pencils, checkout this shelf display near the checkout desk.
|With Aaron on the left, one of the fine co-owners at The Dial Bookshop. Thanks for a great visit.