|About||Located in the heart of downtown Evanston, Bookends & Beginnings features new, used, and remaindered books, literary events, gifts, and local color.|
On June 14, 2014, a new full-service independent bookstore debuted in a downtown Evanston space already well known to a generation of area book-lovers. Bookends & Beginnings is a new general-interest independent bookstore located in the space formerly occupied by Bookman’s Alley, a legendary local antiquarian bookstore.
“Our goal is to create a vibrant cultural destination and hub of book-centered community for both adults and children,” says owner Nina Barrett, herself an author, radio personality, and longtime Evanston resident. “Evanston has always supported an array of wonderful used, antiquarian, and specialty bookshops, but we think the time is right for a more substantial-sized, knowledgeably curated, general-interest store.”
Barrett says the shop will offer a mixture of new, used, and specially discounted books, with particular emphasis on titles that will appeal to Evanston’s highly educated and multi-ethnic population. Home to Northwestern University, Evanston is a demographically diverse transitional zone between the melting pot of Chicago on its southern border and the wealthier suburbs on the area’s North Shore, all of whom look to Evanston as a cultural and recreational destination. (In Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 bestseller The Time Traveler’s Wife, the main characters pass an afternoon browsing at Bookman’s Alley after spending a morning toasting themselves on an Evanston beach.)
Barrett has published literary essays and reviews in The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Publishers Weekly, and many other publications. Also a trained chef and two-time James Beard Award winner for her radio food reporting for Chicago’s NPR affiliate station WBEZ, Barrett says she plans to make the cooking section “a destination for cooks and food lovers.” Barrett’s husband Jeffrey Garrett, who recently retired from his job as an academic research librarian, will curate several sections, drawing on his decades of experience in rare books and specialized collections, E