LitCity312 Review: Quimby’s Bookstore

Quimby’s Bookstore (New Books)
1854 W. North Ave Chicago, IL 60622
Wicker Park Neighborhood
Mon. – Thur: Noon – 9pm
Fri: Noon – 10pm
Sat: 11am – 10pm
Sun: Noon – 7pm


Location + Feel
Quimby’s is a sparkling little gem on Chicago’s North Avenue in Wicker Park. Though the space itself isn’t very large, it’s decently elongated with two distinct back and front-end parts. Simply put, the atmosphere is quirky and unique from the moment you walk in. The cool, softly playing music is a nice addition to the general rhythms of the store. Throughout different points, red and green human-like statues are propped within, some with devilish, horned headpieces attached to them, and others with blotched out eyeballs. Certainly, the Halloween element is prevalent within almost every nook and cranny of the store, but in a more subtle or implied way. The store almost resembles an alley of books: not a cold, creepy alley, but rather a warm cocoon of story! Toward the back-end, a photo booth sits in a corner with a “Black and White Photos in Just 3 Minutes Sign” and a photo of Elvis Presley, something that isn’t typically seen in a bookstore. Some bright comics and paintings adorn the upper half of the brick walls while miniature statues of ducks and dolls sit atop several shelving units. There is an incredible, immediate D-I-Y vibrancy of color to Quimby’s, a trait that is refreshing and pleasant all at once.

Book Display
On the whole, Quimby’s is a comic book store, or comic-related bookstore – and simply one of its kind! The uniqueness of certain shelving/aisle headers like ‘Queerz’ and ‘Trans Oral History Project – Zine Distro’ are not difficult to ignore and not difficult to appreciate. For instance, the sale book section isn’t simply displayed as that, but rather “Insane Cheap Sale Books!!!” It is clear that there is a kind of exuberance and exaggeration going on throughout multiple levels of the store. Of course, since it is mostly a comic bookstore, 98% of the books have some sort of color or drawing element, something that is momentously different from the traditional bookstore. From photo, drawing, and music zines, to graphic novels and “Made in Chicago” displays, Quimby’s has everything and anything related to the non-traditional view of comedic culture. The ‘Quimby’s Recommendations’ section also helps with narrowing down points of interest among numerous styles of comic-related forms.

Parting Thoughts
Mod, hip, cool. The “Please turn it off, take it outside” sign adorned on a back wall is icing on the cake. Quimby’s is everything you can imagine against mainstream culture and that is why this place rocks.


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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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