As anyone who has been inside our place can attest, my partner and I have a book problem. Really, we have a Cool Stuff problem. We have a collection of swords, replica and toy guns, strange pieces of art, a bajillion photographs, eclectic maps, cartoons, comics, video game posters, and parking tickets. And that’s just what’s on the walls, never mind what’s on the shelves.
In the interest of not having so much stuff, we try to avoid shopping generally (and just wait for AWESOME stuff to show up, like my amazing outer wear collection, which will be featured in another post). However, we can never resist free books, so I will state for the record that we have gathered many free books from outside of the Jane Addams Book Shop after hours before we ever went inside.
The other day, we were in downtown Champaign around Normal People Dinner Time (6ish), and the Jane Addams Book Shop was actually open! I was enticed by the $1 bin of books (got one about Alaska and one about Canada) and greeting cards (because I am a sucker), but then we went in the store for the first time (it’s been there for 35 years and we only just figured out how great it is).
Picture three floors of the zaniest collection of books and ephemera possible, and you have the Jane Addams Book Shop. It is awesome! There are old postcards and photographs and music books, comic books and sci fi novels, books about Canada (I found so many) ranging from $1 to $150 for the antique stamp collector album, along with antique photos on the walls and a cozy reading nook at the front of the third floor.
The reading nook was cozy, but also suspiciously silent. We wondered if it was a haunted house or the best book store ever.
Based on the vaguely looming figure framed over the slightly spooky old couch, we’ve concluded that it’s both, but all the more amazing for it.
This concludes my pitch to get people to visit us while we’re still here (limited time offer, folks!), and my invitation to locals to go to Jane Addams Book Shop and touch everything with me.