Bookman's Alley, a store in Evanston, IL, and one of the most unique used bookstores I have ever set foot in among the hundreds I've visited across the United States, will be closing its doors in January. The owner, Roger Carlson, is one of the grand old bookman of days gone by. I had many brief conversations with him about my esoteric tastes in genre fiction and I've heard many interesting conversations from his numerous, highly informed book collecting customers in the many many hours over the past twenty years I have been frequenting his store. I can easily estimate that one third of my personal mystery library came from the shelves of Bookman's Alley. I've also used his store as a resource for customers in search of hard to find books when I was selling more often than I do these days. I've bought and resold some of Roger's books as well. It's part of the business, after all.
For those of you who have never visited Chicago and never seen Bookman's Alley (and now probably never will be able to) here are a few photographs. Because the store is so unique it has been photographed repeatedly and shows up on blogs all over the internet. Sometimes people can't believe that all of the books are for sale. I've heard first time visitors remark that it resembles a museum or an antique store more than a book store.
|The Fiction & Literature Section. Through the archway is History. To the left of the wall with the framed pictures is ... MYSTERY!|
|Art, Science, Music sections and I believe a few shelves with a variety of Animal books. |
Out of camera range is the Children's section with a huge collection of amazing 1st edition and later printing Oz books
|The rear of the store with a variety of rare works of Fiction (mostly multi volume sets), Native American books, more History, Biography and (as you might guess from all the model ships) Nautical books|
|Roger Carlson, at home in the front of the store. Behind him |
(left & right) are the rare books which I could never afford.
Thanks to Roger Carlson for this fantastic store which has been operating since the early 1980s. Thanks also to his son (whose name I never learned), and the other men who have often helped out in the place while Roger was recuperating from a recent illness. I had a blast in your store, bought some great books and enjoyed knowing you while the store was open. To say that you will be sorely missed is the greatest understatement I have ever written.
Bookman's Alley is located in the alleyway between Benson Avenue and Sherman Avenue ("1712 Sherman Ave., Rear" is the exact address) in Evanston, Illinois. The store is holding a 30% off sale this month and continuing through December until all books are gone. The store closes in January 2012.