Chicago Bookstores Recommend: April, 2021
We're excited to announce a new monthly feature where we team up with Chicago-area booksellers to suggest books you might enjoy.
First up is "Serotonin-Inducing Reads" from the staff of Madison Street Books, 1127 W. Madison St., Chicago IL A good balance of hope and fun and all around lightness that we could all use as we transition into spring. 
Wintering by Katherine May | Mary Mollman Recommends

It's April and we've experienced the first day of Spring. Despite that, now and throughout this past year we have each reckoned with what Katherine May would consider our own Wintering. In her book that takes a season and turns it into a verb, we come to realize that Wintering can happen at any time of the year, and in any time in our lives. It is our own down time. Down in the sense that we are sad and down. Down in the sense that we are down and doing and experiencing very little. Her essay guides us to actively accept and embrace whatever it is that brings us to our Wintering. 

Illness, depression, fatigue or something else. Through her explorations of literature, mythology, and the world of nature May shows us that despite whatever is overwhelming us, tools such as rest, hibernation, and slowing down can help us re-group and provide hope. It is a perfect book to describe the time that was the shutdown and how to come out of that time thoughtfully and with strength and hope.
On Lighthouses by Jazmina Barrera | Kaitlynn Cassady Recommends

If you need a book that is as easy on the mind as it is beautiful, may I recommend On Lighthouses? This book chronicles a series of lighthouses in North America, but also encompasses what I will call “lighthouse ennui”. On Lighthouses is light and peaceful while also meditating on the melancholia of urban living, isolation, and the slow leak of time: all of which were/are extremely relatable during quarantine.

On Lighthouses duly contemplates relationships, specifically the effect of place & feeling on memory and interaction; the internet’s role in discovery, research, and connection; and the idea of collection as a means of escape. Pick this one up when you need a breath of fresh air and a little bit of comfort. 
Keep Moving by Maggie Smith |
Mary Mollman Recommends

This book has the subtitle “Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change”. What it does not say is that the change will be you. In the aftermath of divorce, Maggie Smith started Tweeting literary tidbits that included poetry, meditation, proverbs
and prose all ending with #keepmoving. I followed her and did not miss a day. Her thoughts and comments probe one’s pain and celebrate one’s resilience. When one has hit a wall, and feels they cannot move forward, there is Maggie Smith, imploring us to #keepmoving. It is like a daily inspirational guide that provides empathy, compassion and hope. Every year I have a book that I pass on to friends and family at the holidays. One year it was Good Morning, Good Night by Lin-Manuel Miranda. This year it was Keep Moving by Maggie Smith. It gives guidance and strength.

Where The Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda |
Josie Smith Recommends

You may not think that Japanese ghost stories would be serotonin-inducing, but you would be dead wrong. These interconnected stories draw on a rich tradition of folktales to construct a world where the characteristics often negatively associated with femininity - jealousy, emotion, passion - are instead sources of otherworldly power and ability. Polly Barton's translation is fantastic, seamlessly capturing a wild, whimsical, and haunted reality.
Wayne Giacalone Recommends
This novella is a wonderful portrait of a woman on the cusp of her 75th birthday who injures herself and has to spend time in a nursing home to rehabilitate. The author does miraculous things with this simple premise. Not only has she created one of the most joyful and fully-lived-in characters I've read in a while, but she weaves in and out of secondary character's heads painting deep portraits of them in a few short pages. Rarely do I read a book this masterfully written, but at the same time so uplifting and life affirming.

A true joy to read.
Get to Know Madison Street Books
Madison Street Books opened in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago on March 14th, 2020. It has been an unusual year, but one of our primary objectives has always been to be an anchor in our community, the West Loop. A place where book lovers of all types can gather and discover, discuss and read the latest books. A warm, welcoming neighborhood spot where parents can spend time with their children at any time of day and readers of all ages can find their next best read. Due to COVID, we have had to limit the number of people in the store. We are really looking forward to that changing and being able to welcome more than 4 into the store at a time in order to really create a West Loop hub for all things books.


Monday - Saturday 10:00-6:00 Sunday 12:00-5:00

Book Club:

We wanted to be intentional in our book club efforts to showcase some of the small press offerings that get overlooked. To that end, we launched our Not Your Big 5 Book Club in January of this year. Each month, we choose a different small press with a forthcoming or recently published title we think our book club members will enjoy. We meet virtually on the first Tuesday of every month for discussion. Additionally, we offer book subscription boxes!


And because great booksellers always have more recommendations, here are three others:
A Terrible Country by Keith Gessen 
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter 
If you're like us, some of our favorite memories are of browsing the aisles of your favorite bookstore. Keep these independent merchants in the greater Chicago area thriving by purchasing books directly from them
either in person or on line.