Since moving from Andersonville to Lincoln Park, it's rare that I stray north of Belmont. But Ravenswood Used Books gives me reason to go north...and west. A handwritten sign reading "Books" juts out from the Lincoln Square shop's glass window, quietly identifying its wares. And what lies within is a bibliophile/thrift-store-rummager's dream.
The small store is crammed with books from floor to ceiling, and though they're organized by category, nothing is alphabetized. But the tired tome hunter should just ask: If you have a particular volume in mind, owner and former antiques dealer Jim Mall can tell you right off the bat whether he has it or not.
Mall tells me that he has many regular customers and I am not surprised. The shop's selection is matched by its charm: random art dots the walls, including a 1951 woodcut that's also for sale. Prices are the definition of bargain (often more than half off of the cover price), but I still had to leave to save my wallet: I took home 10 books for about fifty bucks, among which were an old copy of Silas Marner, an anthology of contemporary banned young-adult authors and Lyn Richman's Reading Ruined Me. And I didn't even start looking at the art books.
Centerstage Reviewer: Dina Zwiebel