Monthly Archives: June 2012

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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


A Great Loss: Bookman’s Alley to Close

Evanston and the North Shore in general is about to lose a treasure, Bookman’s Alley. Bookman’s Alley is a delightful used bookstore with lots of charm. It’s a place where you can wander and browse and find literary gems you never expected.

Tucked down an alley in downtown Evanston, Roger Carlson, Bookman’s Alley’s owner, who always looked like a character, left advertising to open the shop 30 years ago. As someone who also left advertising, I have to tip my hat to that sort of career change.

The store is a labyrinth stocked with books on every topic. An old model schooner, a leather saddle, Victorian chairs are just some of the antiques that add to the romance.

Chicago Tonight’s video gives you an idea of the value of Bookman’s Alley.

What a great business! What a great career!

Amazon and Barnes & Noble can’t replace this.

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Posted by on June 19, 2012 in book lovers, Uncategorized


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Bellow’s Birthday

At the end of the semester I’m always swamped and emails and personal errands fall to the wayside. Thus I’m just now reading my Writers’ Almanac for June 10th which I’ve learned is my favorite writer, Saul Bellow’s, birthday.

It’s the birthday of Saul Bellow (born in Quebec, Canada (1915). He grew up in Chicago. He was often sick as a child, and spent his time reading the great classics of literature. Saul Bellow later said, “I came humbly, hat in hand, to literary America. I didn’t ask for much; I had a book or two to publish. I didn’t expect to make money at it. I saw myself at the tail end of a great glory. I was very moved by the books I had read in school, and I brought an offering to the altar.”

His father wasn’t happy that Bellow wanted to be a writer. He said, “You write and then you erase. You call that a profession?” His brothers went into more conventional careers and Bellow once said, “All I started out to do was to show up my brothers.”

He wrote a couple of novels that didn’t do that well. He went to Paris on a Guggenheim fellowship. He hated Paris. The more he hated Paris, the more he loved America and Chicago. It was there he began writing his first big successful book, The Adventures of Augie March.
Do read The Adventures of Augie March, one of my all time favorites.

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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in American Lit