9 best indie bookstores
Mon, Wed–Sat 10am–10pm; Sun, Tue noon–6pm.
The Book Cellar
When it comes to bookstores, this place defines class. Not only can you browse books while sipping wine, but the staff recommendations are usually just what you want them to be: varied and idiosyncratic
Women and Children First
Don’t be fooled by the store’s name; though the Andersonville shop has a definite feminist slant, any and all can find something here.
You’ve probably heard of Quimby’s as the place to buy small-press books, zines and comics, but it’s also the place to catch their writers. McSweeney’s writers often stop in, as do indie darlings such as Kelly Link, Michelle Tea and the revolving cast of the Perpetual Motion Roadshow.
57th Street Books
This Hyde Park landmark is a great place to buy based on the employee selections and to check out some more intellectual fare. Many readings here fall into the academic-nonfiction category, though the shop often features authors who have written about local history.
Mon–Fri 9am–9pm; Sat 10am–9pm; Sun 10am–7pm.
The big independent in town, this shop on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus varies its selection, but a large back room for readings has made it a draw in town for big-name authors.
Local poet Larry Sawyer has booked one of the best free poetry series in the Midwest here for years, and in Myopic’s new third-floor space, the readings are even sunnier.