Yesterday afternoon my friend Cayt and I drove up to Lake Forest, IL on an F. Scott Fitzgerald mission. Fitzgerald spent some time in Lake Forest visiting his first love, Ginevra King, who is believed to be the model or inspiration for Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby and other stories. (See Where Daisy Buchanan Lived by Jason Diamond.)
Before driving around to find Fitzgerald related sites, we visited the Lake Forest Book Store. Cayt’s been to off-site events within the community that were hosted by the store, but had never visited the store itself. Nor had I. The store opened in 1949 and operated out of a smaller location for 55 years. They’ve been in their present Market Square location (a former B. Dalton store) since about 2004. Market Square was completed in 1917. Fitzgerald’s romance with King lasted from 1915-1917. It’s nice to think that he may have walked around the square.
Historic Market Square is known as the “first artfully designed shopping center in the country.” Pictured above is just one corner of the square, the corner with the book store, of course. Read about Market Square here.
680 N. Western Ave, Lake Forest, IL 60045
Who can resist walking past such temptation?
A view from inside the book store looking out at the train station.
A view from the other window.
As you walk into the store a case of mystery novels faces the front door. Just to the right is this aisle that leads past the history section to the cash wrap. At the very end of this aisle is stationary and periodicals.
When you walk into the store and turn toward the left, the wall on this side of the store is literary fiction. The aisle leads into the children’s section in the back corner of the store.
A view of the fiction wall from the back of the store.
When you walk into the store and make a hard right, there’s this table of Ragdale’s “A Novel Affair” authors. There are also two comfy chairs in front of the bay window that faces the train station. Calendars are in this area.
Behind the cash wrap is this colorful painting of Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare & Company. Below the painting is a row of photos that book store regulars have sent of themselves posing in front of the historic Paris book store.
Directly infront of the cash wrap is a table full of new and/or popular paperback fiction. I finally purchased my own copy of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, a book that I’ve given to others, but have yet to read myself.
The periodicals section is below a wonderful mural.
The missing title, the 4th best-selling book at Lake Forest Book Store, is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. A customer purchased their last copy just before I snapped this photo. Happy to see Louise Penny’s new release, The Beautiful Mystery, is in their top seven.
The atmosphere of the Lake Forest Book Store was vibrant, to put it mildly, full of excited talk about books and authors. The book sellers (there were three) were very friendly and helpful. They seem to have worked together for a while because there was a lot of finishing one another’s sentences and such going on. The registers (they have two) were humming the entire time we were there, which was wonderful to see. Everyone left with a book in hand or a bag full of books. Regulars can even open a tab! This is so obviously a store that knows its regulars and is very involved in the community through book fairs, events, and donations. Check out their website for upcoming events.