Book Heaven in Evanston

We are so glad that we returned to Evanston, Illinois to scout for books!

Our first stop in the morning was Howard’s Books, at 2000 Maple Avenue in Evanston.

Howard's Books, Evanston, Illinois

Howard’s Books, Evanston, Illinois

Howard Cohen runs this shop, and he had a sale going that meant 50% off all books that have been in the store for one year or longer.  His store is clean, well-organized, and had a lot of interesting titles.  All of his books were in very good, clean condition.  We made some nice purchases here, and had fun talking with Howard!

Howard Cohen and Cathy inside Howard's Books

Howard Cohen and Cathy inside Howard’s Books

He gave us directions to Amaranth Books and Bookman’s Alley, our next scheduled stops in Evanston.

Amaranth Books is owned by Joseph Warnick and is located at 828 Davis Street.

Amaranth Books, Evanston, Illinois

Amaranth Books, Evanston, Illinois

This store has antiquarian and scholarly used books, modern first editions,  literature, and more.  We found several beautiful decorated bindings here, as well as some other interesting books to add to our stock.   Another really well-organized store, with clean solid books and a lot of breadth in selection.

Cathy and Joe Warnick, owner of Amaranth Books

Cathy and Joe Warnick, owner of Amaranth Books

We hopped back in the car and found a parking place at Bookman’s Alley (1712 Sherman Avenue).  This place actually is in an alley off Sherman Avenue, and you get the feeling you have arrived at a great secret place!

Bookman's Alley, Evanston, Illinois

Bookman’s Alley, Evanston, Illinois

From the photo above, you may think the place is small, but it is HUGE…a long and rambling brick building (all one floor) that a person could spend an entire day exploring.  The owner, Roger Carlson, has been in the book business for a very long time and is a knowledgeable and thoroughly charming man with a cute little sense of humor.  The selection and quality of books was superb.

Roger Carlson, Proprietor of Bookman's Alley, and Cathy

Roger Carlson, Proprietor of Bookman’s Alley, and Cathy

Ron and I spent splendid hours here hunting for books and saying “wow!” to each other as we shared our finds and built a towering stack of books at the front counter.

After talking a bit, Roger and I figured out that we grew up in the same area of Minnesota (he in Edina, Minnesota; me in Mound, Minnesota).  Our high school sports teams used to compete against each other!

Roger’s son Greg was on hand to help us with our book hunt, and was kind enough to bring us coffee.  We had a wonderful visit here, and obtained some fabulous books, including decorated bindings, first editions, and author-signed books.

Greg Carlson, Roger's son

Greg Carlson, Roger’s son

This book shop will not be around too much longer, as Roger has been reducing his inventory to eventually close up his business.  Sad to even think about watching this great store disappear.   One of the last great used & rare book shops in this country, in our opinion.  This magical place was the high spot of our whole trip!

Our fourth and final book stop in Evanston was the Chicago Rare Book Center at 703 Washington Street.

Chicago Rare Book Center, Evanston, Illinois

Chicago Rare Book Center, Evanston, Illinois

This store consists of the combined inventory of four book dealers, mostly in locked glass cases on the main floor with a few on open shelves, and a lower level with all books on open shelves.   There was a good variety of books here…a little harder to shop because of the locked cases.   We looked at books on both floors and came away with two books.  Prices are a little higher here than the shops we visited earlier in the day.  The quality was good, and there were quite a few interesting titles.

Our vehicle is getting quite full, and we feel like we are driving a rolling rare book library as we proceed East.  Parnassus on Wheels!  There are still a few nooks and crannies into which we can fit some books, though.

More to come soon!!


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