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News Wed Nov 25 2009

Open Books Grand Opening Wrap-Up

If you did not get the chance to see the new Open Books used bookstore at their grand opening this weekend, I highly recommend that you do get over there to see it when you get a chance. It is one of the most colorful stores you will ever walk into, with shelves painted in every shade imaginable and only one white wall in the entire place. The well-priced book selection is top notch, too, and I picked up a couple of our upcoming Book Club selections while I was there as well as some much talked about reads that have been on my wishlist for some time now. On the iridescent stage at the back of the store, I managed to survive my first time moderating author panels, though that was due largely in part to the sheer wonderfulness of the authors I had the privilege of working with. In all probability you can look forward to seeing more of those sort of events in the future. I can honestly say that this has been one of the most worthwhile experiences I have ever been involved with and I admit that, in recommending the store, I may be biased at this point. In that case, here are some other takes on the store and the Open Books mission because, as the unforgettable yet now sadly defunct "Reading Rainbow" would say, you don't have to take my word for it!

Newcity: "The store's multicolored walls with inspirational and clever quotes like 'He that loves reading has everything within his reach' resemble a painting of easter eggs, and ubiquitous shelves of purple, orange, green, pink and blue stand in ordered chaos, all of which can hold up to 60,000 books in total."

• The Chicago Tribune: "[Becca Keaty], partner Stacy Ratner and an army of volunteers have been working long hours for several months hauling, sorting, shelving and cataloging 130,000 used books in preparation for the opening this weekend at 213 Institute Place. The Open Books bookstore will look and operate like any other except that proceeds will fund literacy programs for children and adults in the same building. It's the next step for the organization founded three years ago to run programs aimed at improving reading and writing skills."

• Robert Duffer at Time Out Chicago: "Just as Open Books changed the model for nonprofits into something that can be both 'fun and fundamental,' as [Stacy] Ratner likes to say, the bookstore is not the stuff of dusty shelves and creeping cats. It's a rainbow-hued literary Wonka Wonderworld."

• Robert Duffer, more candidly, at the Examiner: "It is, without hyperbole, the most exciting literary news in the city and for the city since...I don't know...Obama's election. I know it sounds absurd but I can't come up with anything else that matches my excitement and support."

Additionally, for a peek at the store, take a look at the Flickr stream of the grand opening.

 
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Book Club is the literary section of Gapers Block, covering Chicago's authors, poets and literary events. More...

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