Best Bookstores in the Midwest?

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Best Bookstores in the Midwest?

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Apr 21, 2010, 6:23am

We've got libraries, now why not bookstores? I'm thinking of the ones that aren't simply businesses but show a real love for books with reader-friendly spaces, book groups/clubs, knowledgeable staff, well-run author events, etc.

Apr 21, 2010, 2:43pm

One of my favorites is Prairie Lights in Iowa City. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and they often have books I haven't seen anywhere else. Another thing I like is that they showcase a lot of local and regional authors, not to mention being a big supporter of the Iowa Writer's Workshop. I try to make it down there when I can.

Apr 22, 2010, 3:14pm

I Love a Mystery in Mission, KS, is a great place. Next time you're in K.C. pop over to Mission, just a very short drive across the Missouri line.

Apr 22, 2010, 6:37pm

Does it just sell mysteries? What a great name for bookstore.

Apr 23, 2010, 12:29am

I second the vote for Prairie Lights! Great selection, great staff, and great readings. I'm lucky to have it as my "local".

Apr 23, 2010, 8:50am

Good to hear about Prairie Lights. I'll be doing a reading (The Quickening) there on July 26 if anyone wants to stop by. Would love to meet people in person.

Don't they also hold Iowa Writers summer writing program classes then? I've heard good things about that program as well (in fact, my own mother has taken several such classes).

Edited: Apr 23, 2010, 9:07am

Yes, the Iowa Summer Writing Festival goes on throughout June and July -- a mix of week-long and weekend sessions. I'm hoping to attend at least one session myself this summer -- the hard part is narrowing it down to one topic among the many interesting ones offered!

Anyway, if anyone else is interested in checking it out, here's the home page:
Iowa Summer Writing Festival

The workshops are a mix of advanced, intermediate and beginner, so there really is something for everyone!

ETA: I forgot to say that I'll try to make it to your reading at Prairie Lights, Michelle!

Apr 23, 2010, 5:59pm

Michelle, I'll try to make it your reading as well. :)

Edited: Apr 26, 2010, 5:16pm

I sure do miss the "Live from Prairie Lights" prgram on Iowa Public Radio. They ended in 2008 after 18 years on the air. At least the archive has been donated to the UI library and can be found here:

Apr 26, 2010, 5:19pm

The best ever bookstore is actually three: the Seminary Co-op Bookstore. There's the mothership, which is currently housed in the basement of the Chicago Theological Seminary, 57th Street Books, an excellent general bookstore, and they also run the A.C. McClurg Bookstore at the Newberry Library.

Apr 27, 2010, 8:52am

That is interesting, over the years I have picked up more than a few books stamped A.C. McClurg on the inside of the cover. Now I know where it is.

Apr 27, 2010, 9:03am

> 11

How old are those books? Perhaps they belonged to the original A.C. McClurg!

Apr 27, 2010, 9:16am

Early to mid 20th century, if my memory is working at the moment I am seeing a small foil sticker, rectangular with scalloped corners?

May 10, 2010, 4:09pm

My favorite mid-west bookstore is DreamHaven in Minneapolis. It has by far the best fantasy and SF selection I've ever seen. Not that I've seen hundreds of bookstores, but other people often agree about DreamHaven. And they certainly have readings and signings by lots of authors! I wish it was closer to Madison.

May 11, 2010, 4:51pm

>4 MichelleHoover: Michelle Hoover -- Yes, they pretty much just sell mysteries. But, they do sell used as well as new books.

Jul 8, 2010, 3:18pm

I'll put in a vote for Centuries and Sleuths in Forest Park, Illinois. It specializes in historical books and mysteries. The owner is extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic. He has great events.

Edited: Jun 29, 2012, 5:31pm

I know this is very late, but I had to mention Schuler Books in Michigan (Lansing, Okemos and Grand Rapids.} Local and independent, great atmosphere, excellent selction.

Jul 3, 2012, 1:39pm

How about Magers and Quinn off Lake Street in Minneapolis? They have rooms of books, new and used, floor to ceiling.