My Favorite Bookstore

In the center of downtown Evanston there is a nearly hidden street, Sherman Alley, that is home to a charming and cozy bookstore, Bookends & Beginnings. Residing in the newly refurbished space formerly held by Bookman’s Alley, an antiquarian bookstore, Bookends & Beginnings invites you to linger, browse, discuss and get lost in the printed word.

Owned by Nina Barrett, a published author, chef and award-winning reporter for Chicago’s NPR outpost WBEZ, and assisted by her husband, Jeff Garrett, a retired academic research librarian, the store showcases general interest books designed to appeal to Evanston’s eclectic, multi-ethnic and highly educated population. Bookends & Beginnings features a roster of literary events such as author readings and book discussions. The wide selection of wares includes new, gently used and remaindered books; the staff enthuse about books and will gladly offer recommendations, as well as source special requests for hard to find books. The children’s section is impressive, not only for the comfy sheep stools and tall statue of Glenda the Giraffe, but for its breadth of international publications, a special interest of Jeff’s. The cooking section is equally robust, no doubt due to Nina’s culinary background. The store also sells gift items, most with an Evanston or writer-related connection.

Kudos to Nina for championing and opening an independent bookstore right here in our midst. Bookends & Beginnings is open every day of the week: Tuesday – Saturday 10am to 6pm, Sunday and Monday 10am to 5pm.