This month’s featured bookshop is Madison Street Books, a woman-owned independent shop in Chicago, Illinois. We’re grateful for the chance to catch up with the team, hear about some exciting books, and imagine ourselves seated on a big leather armchair, reading under just the right light.

What do you think is special about Madison Street?

We have a fantastic staff of knowledgeable, dedicated booksellers who really want to know our customers and our community.

If money was no object, what changes would you make to your bookshop?

We’d buy the space next door and turn it into a luxuriously cozy reading area. The whole works: big comfy couches, leather armchairs, and that perfect blend of mood lighting that doesn’t hurt your eyes when reading.

How and why did you get into bookselling?

Most of us can say the same thing – we loved talking about books! I was already recommending books to everyone I knew, sending little surprise boxes of books I thought people would like. Why not get paid for it?

What’s the funniest thing you ever heard anyone say in the shop?

One of our littlest readers, upon seeing Kevin Wilson’s Nothing To See Here on a display table, declared to the store “Oh you KNOW there is something to see here!!!!!” and demanded someone show him.

What’s your favourite And Other Stories book?

A Luminous Novel by Mario Levrero (tr. by Annie McDermott)! Man, I love this guy’s voice. I could live in his head forever.

What book published in the last year do our readers need to get their hands on?

A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa. It’s a fantastic book about how women are (mis)remembered and forgotten, the everyday sacrifices women make of their bodies, and also an eighteenth-century Irish noblewoman who drank her dead husband’s blood.

What would be your desert island book?

Store owner Mary says: Any Jane Austen title (except for one, but we won’t name names)!

Extraordinary books straight to your door.

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