Since I'm expecting to attend the Newberry Library Book Fair this coming weekend, and already have more books in my house than I could probably read in my lifetime, I really wasn't actively looking for new books this past weekend. But on Saturday we were in Naperville doing some shopping, and saw a bunch of small roadside signs (the kind commonly used for garage sales) that said something like "Book Store." So we turned into the parking lot of a strip mall, and there, between a Sears Outlet and a Disc Replay, was a small store with an overhead sign that just said "Books."
At first glance the store, Bookhunters, looked like a remainder/overstock place (which certainly wasn't encouraging), but once inside we were pleasantly surprised. The building was narrow but deep, with a single aisle flanked by shelf alcoves on each side. The inventory wasn't enormous, but well-selected: as usual I gravitated to the "A" fiction section, looking for Nelson Algren, and was surprised to see at least half a dozen of his works, including several editions I hadn't seen before, including the hardcover of Bettina Drew's Algren biography A Life On the Wild Side (which I already have in paperback) and a pre-Seven Stories Press edition of his posthumously-published novel, The Devil's Stocking. But what really caught my eye is the book in the photo above, the 1963 nonfiction collection Who Lost An American?, in what appears to be a first edition, in very good condition including its original dust jacket under protective plastic. I looked over it for a long time, wanting it while admittedly not needing it. I even put it back on the shelf before taking it down again. But I realized I had never seen this book before in any edition, and that I would kick myself later if I took a pass. So I said what the hell, paid the $12 (a bargain, I think) along with $10 for two other books that Julie and Maddie found. Back home, I placed it on the special Algren shelf of my bedroom bookcase, where it became the tenth Algren book (including the Drew biography) that I own. And I'm very eager to read it, and am bumping it up near the top of my to-read list.
I'm very pleased with this very unexpected find - both the book and store. If you're ever in the Naperville area, definitely hunt down Bookhunters. It's on the southeast corner of Route 59 and Aurora Avenue (548 S. Route 59), right across from Fox Valley Mall.