LitCity312 Review: After-Words Bookstore

After-Words Bookstore (New & Used Books)
23 E. Illinois St Chicago, IL 60611
Downtown Chicago
Mon. – Thur: 10:30am – 10pm
Fri: 10:30am – 11pm
Sat: 10am – 11pm
Sun: Noon – 7pm

Location + Feel
After-Words is a really great new and used bookstore. Since they play soft, quiet music, the atmosphere as a whole is comforting (as it should be!). Nestled in a rather inconspicuous, little niche next to Jazz Record Mart in the Near North Side, you’re not expecting it to be larger than it really is. All of the walls are adorned with lovely brick (what could be more Chicago than that?) and some of the columns that support part of the building are masked with graffiti, words or phrases randomly sprayed on: the perfect sentiment to express a love for literature. There are wooden desks and chairs throughout different areas, as well as several computers on the lower level. Speaking of the lower level, it is one of my favorite points of the store because there is a decently-sized open space for live-literary events, with even more desks and chairs filling that space. I also enjoy the staircase: it’s red and wooden (I have a thing for staircases.). Finally, I like the idea of using armoire-looking cases that are meant to be holding anything but books (instead of proper bookshelves) since it provides the bookstore with a slightly more rustic, antique feel.

Book Display
Serving a variety of topics and themes, from fiction to non-fiction, from children’s to Chicago-only oriented books, the bookstore as a whole seems pretty simple and straightforward to navigate, with proper headers along each aisle. On the first or main level, in the far back of the store, there is a cute, little children’s section, an array of picture books and young-adult stories. Pasted onto one of the walls on the children’s side is a neat photograph of Derrick Rose, head resting on a basketball, holding up a book: a great, Chicago-oriented, tool to encourage kids to read! The new books appear to be on the upper level of the store, while the used books are on the lower level (or basement level).

Parting Thoughts
Smart, straightforward, large and open, After-Words Books will suit anyone with any literary taste.

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Amanda Hanna

Amanda Hanna earned her Bachelor's Degree in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing, from DePaul University in June 2014. She plans to pursue her MA in Writing & Publishing, from DePaul, beginning in the fall of 2015. She was born in Chicago, but has lived in a variety of places throughout Southern California, such as Riverside, Orange County, and San Diego. Post high school, she attended a nineteen-day trip to Europe and visited Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, England, and France. On her free time, Amanda loves to draw and paint, attend symphonies and plays, peruse museums, visit farmers' markets, and, of course, read and write. One of her favorite collections of short stories is J.D. Salinger’s, 'Nine Stories'.

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