L-Stop Musts

L-Stop Musts: The Bookstore Edition

Austin HojdarThe shelves of Armadillo Pillow Inc. Bookstore offer a plethora of genres.

Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods are home to a wide-range of shops, including traditional and resale bookstores. This list is made for anyone looking to make the Red Line their Read Line.

Loyola: The Armadillo’s Pillow Inc. Bookstore (6753 N. Sheridan Rd.)

Rogers Park’s own Armadillo’s Pillow is an eclectic store with a wide array of genres and art on the walls.

The store’s decor covering the yellow, Spanish-style walls is enough to keep one’s attention, such as an armadillo skeleton and an assortment of framed clay faces.

Although there are books on the floor and in shelves up to the sheet-covered ceilings, the store has plenty of floor space to be able to walk around and browse at the customer’s leisure.

One room of the store is highly organized with nooks and crannies created by shelves of psychology books and mystery tales. The other is spacious, with a lofted area and a section for children to peruse.

Besides books, there are drawings of plants and animals, stickers inspired and miscellaneous dice for sale. From the most devoted bibliophile to a casual art fan, this store has something for anyone.

Armadillo Pillow is open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays.

Granville: Heirloom Books (6239 N. Clark St.)

Heirloom Books is open 12 to 7 p.m.

A westward walk from Granville past multiple Little Free Libraries leads to Heirloom Books, a second-hand bookstore practically overflowing with classics.

Outside of the store lies multiple bins of 99-cent books and a “Dog Friendly” sign. Inside is a warm seating area with a little couch, perfect for drinking coffee and testing out any novella in the store.

Customers can find signed novels, textbooks and a wide array of stories. The classics in this store are aptly named classics, with leather-bound books from the early 20th century.

Past a door of polaroids with “People of Heirloom” is a staircase leading to a basement with books for those with more specific tastes, alongside CDs and vinyl. It’s the type of store where something new can be found on every trip.

Heirloom Books is open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Belmont: The Gallery Bookstore (923 W. Belmont Ave.)

The Gallery Bookstore doesn’t allow phone use.

Consisting of just four hallways of books, The Gallery Bookstore feels like a step into the past. A polite request from the owner asks every customer to put their phone on silent and refrain from taking pictures. 

The simplicity of the store’s design invites any passerby to walk down each aisle to investigate their literary options. Every glance offers something new, with a different section on every shelf.

A vintage cash register is for sale but has seemingly become a staple of the store’s entrance. To any cartographer’s delight, classic maps are sold alongside old comic books.

Despite the store being somewhat compact, it’s impossible to even look at everything on the shelves.

The Gallery Bookstore is open from 2 to 7 p.m. everyday except Wednesday.

Belmont: Unabridged Books (3251 N. Broadway)

Austin Hojdar Unabridged Books includes handwritten reviews and summaries for novels.

Ironically just past a Chicago Public Library, Unabridged Books sits in a row of stores beside a plant shop and other cute establishments.

Upon entering, the shining lights and highly saturated book covers create a welcoming entrance. Pride flags hang from the ceiling above an LGTBQ+ section of works and playful genre names strewn about the shop.

The shop is a more traditional bookstore that grows even more when one discovers the travel-centric basement featuring books giving guides to traveling the world and the Windy City.

Almost every title sold is accompanied by a handwritten review or summary of the novel, either from a reputable source or one of the workers themselves. Some shelves are even categorized by their publisher, providing any collector with the chance to have a beautifully uniform stack of books.

Unabridged Books is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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