Bookstore nation

Where the director of the Seminary Co-op likes to browse and buy.

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When Jeff Deutsch took Interstate 80 from California to Hyde Park last July to begin his job directing the Seminary Co-op, he made stops for gas, food—and book shopping. He “was really impressed” with what he found along the way, he told me when I interviewed him for the Jan–Feb/15 Magazine. “Nebraska has some great bookstores.” That anecdote, and his long career in the business, made me curious about his personal pantheon of booksellers. Many are out West, unsurprisingly; Deutsch spent the better part of the past decade in the Bay Area, working for the bookstores of the University of California, Berkeley, and then Stanford. But a couple are right here in Chicagoland. Happy browsing.

 

Walden Pond Books, Oakland, California

“A wonderful store, with an odd selection, two large dogs, and creaky floors. Their wall décor includes a Walt Whitman cigar box that they refused to sell me despite multiple requests.” (Photography by Thomas Hawk, CC BY-NC 2.0)

 

Moe’s Books, Berkeley, California

“A fine bookstore with an incredible selection of used books and an inspiring history. The founder, Moe Moskowitz, was a great eccentric who not only reflected but helped create the culture in Berkeley. This is not dissimilar to the way that the Seminary Co-op and Jack Cella, EX’73, have helped create Hyde Park.” (Photography by Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill, CC BY 2.0)

 

Green Apple, San Francisco

“A store that gets so many things right. Note the well-curated European fiction display at the front of the store and the always thoughtful displays on the landing between the two floors.” (Photography by Mark Pritchard, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

 

Open Books, Seattle

“A poetry emporium. Perhaps more audacious than a store focused exclusively on academic and scholarly books. That they are persisting gives one hope for humanity.” (Photography courtesy openpoetrybooks.com)

 

Book Table, Oak Park, Illinois

“An exceptional general interest store with books piled high in every corner.” (Photography courtesy booktable.net)

 

City Lights, San Francisco

“An incredible institution whose poetry room is a sublime space to take in some Fernando Pessoa or Osip Mandelstam.” (Photography by Curtis Cronn, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

Bell’s Books, Palo Alto, California

“A two-story anachronism in the heart of Silicon Valley. Their literature in translation selection—mostly used—always surprises. If the Bells didn’t own the building they would have been out of business years ago.” (Photography by Adam Fagen, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

 

Powell’s, Chicago

“Hyde Park is lucky to have three great bookstores. Powell’s has a masterful remainders selection and is a great complement to the Seminary Co-op and 57th Street Books.” (Photography by Quinn Dombrowski, AB’06, AM’06, CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

Stanford Bookstore, Stanford, California

“I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the world-class academic selection at my former store. The book team, led by Stephanie Denton, is remarkable, and the top floor is a wonderful place to get lost in the stacks.” (Photography by Ju_li_a, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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