A Bookworm’s Guide to the North Shore: Where to Buy Books and the Best Places to Read Them
Is there anything better than grabbing a large cup of coffee or tea, cracking open a new book, and settling in for a few hours with fictional friends? As the season changes — and spring break arrives — it’s the perfect time to do just that. Fortunately, Chicago’s North Shore is filled with local bookstores brimming with books, both the hottest new reads that everyone is talking about and can’t-miss classics. Plus, the North Shore is filled with coffee shops where you can not only indulge in some reading material, but also a hot drink (and maybe a treat, too).
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Where to Buy Books
The Book Stall
811 Elm St., Winnetka
This bookstore has been a fixture in Winnetka’s downtown shopping district for almost 80 years. With more than 68,000 titles on hand, you’ll find plenty of material to catch your eye, but you can also ask the knowledgeable staff to help you find the perfect read. If you’re a regular reader, consider joining the Adult Book Club, Children’s Book Club, or 10 Percent Discount Club. You can also stop by for regular events like book discussions and storytimes.
Book Recommendation: “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
“Combining a murder mystery, a coming of age tale, a love story, and gorgeous descriptions of the marshes of North Carolina, Delia Owens has written a spellbinding novel,” staffer Kathy Riley says. “The book opens with a dead body, discovered by two local boys out riding their bikes. Alternating with this murder investigation is the life story of Kya Clark who is abandoned, one by one, by her parents and siblings, to raise herself among the flora and fauna of the swamp. With the help of Jumpin’, his wife, Mabel, and the friendship of Tate, the ‘marsh girl,’ as she is known in Barkley Cove, manages a life in the backwaters. Through her extensive exploration of the swamps, her keen observation of nature, and her artistic talent, Kya becomes a renowned naturalist. Owens’ background as a nature writer enhances the beautiful prose describing coastal North Carolina. ‘Where The Crawdads Sing’ is a Book Stall favorite and my choice for one of the most engaging reads of the year.”
Save the Date: You can meet Delia Owens at The Book Stall on April 20 at 2:30 p.m.
Bookends & Beginnings
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens - Buy at The Bookstall, Winnetka
1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1, Evanston
If you didn’t know where to look for this bookstore, you might never find it — but that would be a shame. Tucked away in an alley off of Sherman Avenue in Downtown Evanston, this shop is all about community. You’ll find a fascinating selection, especially in the children’s section, where books from all around the world have made their way to the North Shore. Regular events take place throughout each month, and if you join the Bookends & Beginnings membership program, you’ll receive $5 for every $100 spent.
Book Recommendation: “Daisy Jones & The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
“This fictional oral history of a rock band called The Six and its charismatic lead performers is absolutely enthralling,” Owner Nina Barrett says. “Taylor Jenkins Reid gets every detail right; within a chapter or so, you’ll swear you actually remember this band for real. But she also plays with the familiar clichés of a rock band’s meteoric rise to fame and seemingly inevitable self-destruction, offering a more nuanced view of the rewards and temptations of the rock’n’roll life, especially from a woman’s point of view. If you loved ‘Almost Famous,’ you’re guaranteed to love this.”
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid - Buy at Bookends and Beginnings, Evanston
2651 Navy Blvd., Glenview
On your next trip to The Glen Town Center, stop by this bookstore. Young bookworms can read in the cozy kid’s corner or play games as adults shop for that book they now regret not reading in high school or that brand new novel that’s all the rage. Keep an eye on the store’s website for the latest on upcoming events.
506 Main St., Evanston
This shop is not only about creating the next generation of readers, but also the next generation of informed global citizens. Through a “carefully curated, diverse selection of new titles and classics,” as well as events like storytime, concerts, author events, and more, your kiddos will be hooked on reading in no time when you visit this bookstore.
Book Recommendation: “New Kid” by Jerry Craft
“So many wonderful books have already come out in 2019, SO MANY,” Owner Chelsea Elward says. “One that has consistently been on my mind since I read it last month is ‘New Kid’ by Jerry Craft. This new graphic novel is about a 12-year-old boy who starts the 7th grade at a new posh private school where diversity is low and expectations are very high.”
New Kid by Jerry Craft - Buy at Booked, Evanston
Where to Read Books
Hometown Coffee & Juice
700 Vernon Ave., Glencoe
If you haven’t visited this coffee shop yet (it opened in late 2018), you must. The bright space is inviting, and you can’t go wrong with menu items like Apple Almond Toast and Bagel & Lox paired with an espresso drink, tea, cold pressed juice, or smoothie. If it’s open, be sure to snag a spot on the couch at the back of the shop.
2006 Central St., Evanston
This Evanston spot is all about community, offering a space to make new friends or find a spot to settle in with some fictional ones. You’ll also find Instagram-worthy drinks (like the Lavender Matcha) and tasty treats from partners like Hewn and Amanecer Taco Shop. So grab a window seat and stay awhile.
Backlot Coffee, Evanston
1837 Glenview Road, Glenview
When the weather’s nice, you might find yourself wanting to read but also feeling pulled outside to enjoy the sunshine. Why not enjoy both? Head out to this Downtown Glenview coffee shop for coffee, tea, or even gelato and then take your book outside on the patio. You can also easily read inside on a rainy day thanks to a cozy, relaxed environment.
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