Independent Bookstore Day: The test of J’s “restraint”


indiebookstore day

I didn’t intend to make a blogpost out of this, but my friend Pai from back home had mentioned wanting to know about the bookstores I’d visited, so I decided to chronicle it here. Plus, the day turned out to be so great, and although D insists that I’m now her book-pusher, I was the picture of restraint (well, as much restraint as a booknerd can show at bookstores, anyway).

I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to make a game-plan for the day, organizing my route based on events, parking availability, travel times, etc., which of course got so overwhelming so fast that I dropped all of it and decided to go with my three favorite Chicago bookstores. We ended up going to four, because D was going to the live-recording of a podcast in Hyde Park, and it made sense to finish up there and drop her off before heading home. We didn’t end up at any of the actual bookstore events, but we did get some pretty sweet deals at all the stores, so it all evens out. 

img_20160430_203706.jpgWe started off at Women And Children’s First in Andersonville. This is probably my favorite neighborhood in Chicago. WCF is primarily a feminist bookstore, one of the largest in the country, in fact. It is one of the few bookstores I’ve visited that has a bountiful queer lit section. Started off with some coffee and doughnuts, and some books, of course. I’m glad I didn’t do Bookstore Day by myself because restraint would have been nearly impossible. I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn’t the only store I was going to be visiting, and therefore needed to pace myself throughout the day. Purchased: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel,  Persepolis: The Story Of A Childhood by Marjane Satrapi, “For a richer, fuller life—> READ” refrigerator magnet, and a book clip

img_20160430_123956480.jpgNext we made our way to Roscoe Books in Ravenswood, which is where the monthly Book Riot Read Harder meet-ups happen. Solidarity, always. W was working the store, and some of our book club pals also showed up around the same time we did, so unsurprisingly, it turned into a books/bookish/currently reading/book recommendations/bookcon discussion for a solid hour. Roscoe’s was doing a 1 free ARC for $50 purchase, and 3 free ARCS for $100 purchase, so D and I pooled in our purchases together to snag that $100 purchase offer, of course. They were also doing a customer-shelf-talker thing where customers could write shelf-talkers for their favorite books and they would put all of these customer-recs oa table together sometime next week. Of course, given that we’re there all the time, most of the books I’d read already had shelf-talkers, but W insisted I write one, so I ended up writing it for The Queen Of The Night by Alexander Chee, because nobody working at the store had read the book yet. Apparently, even bookstore people have a hard time keeping up with new releases. Purchased: Before We Visit The Goddess: a novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, and a ‘Time To Stock Up’ tote by Seltzer Goods

Onwards, outwards. Our next stop was The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square, which is the first indie bookstore that I’d visited in Chicago. I love this place. We got ourselves the Alice In Wonderland tattoos, courtesy Litographs, which by the way is a really cool project that you need to check out. At this point we were both starting to fade, and there were so many people in the store, so we stepped out for some lunch at a restaurant nearby and came back, refueled. The store was relatively less crowded and therefore, less overwhelming, which felt good. D had never been here before, so this was her first time going through all of their stacks and checking out their literary swag. We didn’t drink any wine, but we did checkout with great books, an ARC each, and a sweet 50% discount from their discount hat. Purchased: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfield and a travel book-rest

Our last stop was at 57th Street Books in Hyde Park. I’d never been here before; it’s a mezzanine-level indie with a solid book collection. They had an author event underway when we were there, but we were definitely more interested in the books. They even had some books out that had publishing dates only in May! This bookstore was also doing a free ARC with every purchase and free calendars to anyone that walked into the store. They also had fresh coffee, bless their hearts, so more caffeine was ingested before browsing the shelves. The store is deceptively large, and has four different rooms other than the main one, with various sections. They have a cute bench in one corner as well (pictured below). I was definitely frazzled at this one, because I kept asking the people that were working there about all of these books that I wanted before ultimately settling on two, none of which were the ones I’d asked for. Shocker. Clearly, I had gone just a little book-crazy towards the end. Oh well. I will definitely be visiting them again in the future. Purchased: Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett and Capitalism: A Ghost Story by Arundati Roy.


I came back home and started looking at all the bills from today, decided it wasn’t information I really wanted to know, and sat down to write this post instead. Here’s the haul, folks: 



<< The books







The swag>>






>> The ARCs




That’s all I’ve got, my dear booknerds. I’m off to go read before bed. How did you guys celebrate Indie Bookstore Day?


Author: Janani @ The Shrinkette

Speed reading aficionado. Unapologetic book pusher. Point me to the nearest bookshelf. My blog is dedicated exclusively to supporting and promoting marginalized voices. Pronouns: They/them

8 thoughts on “Independent Bookstore Day: The test of J’s “restraint””

  1. Janani, I can’t wait to visit these places. Like I mentioned earlier, I am going to be in Chicago for a few days in June. Shall we go on what I usually call a bookish date? Like bookstores-hopping? It will be fun. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wasn’t able to celebrate this Saturday, but I will heading to a couple of bookstores on Sunday to make up for it!

    Chicago has some pretty great bookstores, it seems. I will be sure to explore as many of them as I can if I find myself there this year.

    Loving the haul. Blackass and Before We Visit the Goddess were recently brought to my attention and I am intrigued. Can’t wait to read your thought son them!
    Thank you for sharing this. No one ever has to know how much you spent on these books. It’s for a good cause. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yay your book ban has finally ended! I can’t wait to see what you pick up tomorrow! I did make sure I was picking up books I really felt like reading in the moment, even though there have been several books on my list that I’ve been wanting to read but I wasn’t feeling any of them today. I will definitely post reviews as I read them.



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