My fiance and I have been playing host a lot in the last few weeks– Chicago has a small span of truly nice months, weather-wise, and now that we have a guest room for people to stay in the visitor floodgates have opened. Before the visitors, we were unpacking madmen, disassembling boxes, finding new homes for our things, and riffling though the unwanted junk that made it to our new place. In all of the rushed organization of our new home, I had yet to go explore our neighborhood, Roscoe Village, fully.
Roscoe Village is a quaint strip of Chicago, one of the smallest classified neighborhoods in the city, perfectly sandwiched between North Center and Lakeview. During the summer of 2019, before my fiance and I had met, I went on an ill-fated date to the Retro on Roscoe— a street festival with lots of beer, food, and music. My date had left me to find some seats in the grass while he grabbed beers. I got lost in the homeyness of this small piece of Chicago while I was alone (and even into the date to be completely honest). I found myself hoping that I would someday live in this little haven while I was here in the Windy City.
Fast forward to 2020, when I met my fiance. He lived in North Center so a lot of the places we dined outside at mid-pandemic were in or around Roscoe Village. I fell even more in love with the Roscoe Village scene and knew that’s where we were going to end up–and we did! The unintentional manifestation of our home was made even better when I realized there was a bookstore literally on our street.
One of the cutest bookstores in Chicago is nestled less than a quarter mile away from my new home. RoscoeBooks is a one-room bookstore filled with a lot of love and passion for under-represented writers, BIPOC titles, and Chicago-based literature. The first two-thirds of the bookstore are dedicated to adult and teen literature– non-fiction and fiction books alike.
The back third of the store is the children’s section with an adorable forest themed archway and a corner for the young reader in your life to find a book of their choosing. You’ll find a lot of unique titles on the shelves of RoscoeBooks along with a spattering of popular lit and classics. If there’s something you can’t find, go to their website and you can order the book you’re hunting for through them. It’s a great way to support an indie store virtually.
In a way, RoscoeBooks is the perfect representation of Roscoe Village as a whole. It’s a compact gem in an otherwise bustling city. It’s a sanctuary in the madness and a bookstore I plan to become a regular at (I’ve set up their rewards program and everything). If you’re ever on West Roscoe Street, I highly suggest poking your head in and taking a look at the selection they have to offer.
Next week, I will be away for my personal nook for a wedding, but I’ll be back on July 25th with my review of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Until then, do you have any bookstores or book related locations I should check out in Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New York, or anywhere for that matter? Comment below and I’ll add it to my list of Bookish Places and write about them here!