Bookman’s Alley

Coffee table books and hardcover classics in a cozy sofa-filled shop

Owner Roger Carlson has not only created the coziest reading environment, but has also composed the most well-curated selection of used books in Evanston, likely all of Chicago. You’ll find hardcovers on anything from a history of Italian architecture to photo essays of the Maori. We love the travel section, but there’s something for everyone. Musicians will find sheet music (and even a piano); anyone looking to escape could get lost in a corner of the shop for hours, curled up on a green velvet sofa.

Bookman’s Alley is tucked (appropriately) in an alley that runs between Sherman (by Saville Flowers) and Benson aves. Your only clue to the treasures that await off one of Evanston’s main downtown thoroughfares is a medium-sized sign with a finger pointing into the alley. You always have to be looking with Bookman’s Alley, first to find the store and then to observe and absorb the myriad titles on shelves.

The prices are more than reasonable, whether you’re looking for hardcover collections of Hawthorne’s novels and short stories or just a good airplane read.  There’s even a corner of bookshelves labeled “CHEAP” and a few shelves marked “CHEAPEST” for those of us on a tighter budget. That said, some of the tomes here are very rare, so be conscious that the book you picked up might cost hundreds of dollars. Our favorite find? Vintage postcards for $2.

Tara and Karina for TKGO City Guides

1712 (rear) Sherman Ave., Evanston. (847) 869-6999. Hours: Tues.-Fri. 12 to 6 p.m., Sat. 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Mondays.
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