What better way to prepare for a predicted snowstorm than to check out the larders for provisions, run errands, return library
books (and check out a few more), fill up the car with gas, go to the bank . . . you know the drill. Wherever you live, there are sometimes seasonal weather conditions that you have to prepare for.
With a new batch of library books, and some audio books as well, I headed to the doctor’s office in Elmwood Park. It’s not really that far, but, all routes are heavily trafficked, and just about any of them requires crossing railroad tracks, which inevitably means being stopped by freight trains. As I was driving, I realized I had veered too far east. That little misstep provided me with a great opportunity to stop in Forest Park.
Forest Park is a western suburb of Chicago that borders the windy city and has made a come back from despair in recent years. It’s main street, Madison, is now alive with a wide variety of eating establishment, a bevy of Irish pubs, gift and antique shops, cooking and knitting shops with schools, and Todd and Holland Tea Shop. Since it was a cold and blustery day, not that I needed an excuse, I decided to stop at this pleasant shop, where I knew several teas would be ready for testing as I browsed.
Nourished with tea, I wandered, a bit further down Madison to a small, intriguing bookshop, specializing in “histories and mysteries”. These are the only genre they sell. I don’t get to Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore as often as I would like, but, each time I do is a thrill.
A compact shop, it is lined with oak bookshelves. Upon entering, you step onto a Bruce plaid rug. A Holmesian cape and hats fit for the noted detective and his assistant, Watson, hang, like clues, from a clothes tree. Among the well-displayed rows of books are a church pew, a rocker and a few Windsor chairs for sitting a spell. It is a cozy, charming, atmospheric bookstore filled with books specifically about history and mysteries. Most books are new, but, there are some smaller table-sized shelves of used books, nothing more than $7, where I picked up two wonderful Agatha Christie reference guides. In the back is a banquet table, piled with short stacks of books bound with cords, each a stack of assorted, gently used mysteries and histories selling for $5 per stack. There are also tempting bundles of Ellery Queen mystery magazines.
The proprietor is a charming chap, eager to help and courteous enough to just let one browse. Making my purchases, which included Death a Hull House by Frances McNamara, a local writer and librarian at the University of Chicago, he slipped the usual establishment type bookmarks and an itinerary of store events into my bag. I couldn’t believe the extent of the activities sponsored at Centuries and Sleuths; a G.K. Chesterton Society, a mystery discussion group as well as a history discussion group and an author discussion group, not to mention the many book signings and lectures.
Sure did make my trip to the doctor less daunting!
I don’t seem to have any more luck with my book diet as my caloric one!
Are there any specialty bookshops you like to visit?
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