Ever since I wrote about the bookstore coming to Bridgeport, I stop by their window and watch it fill with books and bookshelves. One time, the guy helping Joe unpack is someone I used to play chess with at Myopic in the late 90s. The advent of this shop opening where I live in 2021 is skewing my sense of time passing.
Am I back in Wicker Park in 1997 here on Halsted in 2021? Of course, Tangible Books isn’t Myopic Books, just as I am 51 rather than 27. And yet, these shelves, the handwritten section cards tacked to raw wooden slats, beam me back.
The store opens to customers in time for the Christmas holiday rush. I come in and look around. I hear Joe telling everyone that only about half the inventory is unpacked. That this is only a fraction of the store it will one day be. But everyone who walks in is happy we finally have a bookstore here.
I bring in a couple copies of each of my books, thinking Joe will either buy them wholesale or take them on consignment. Instead, he puts them in a newly established local authors section and refuses to take a cut of the sales. It’s remarkably generous. He says the bookstore has afforded him and his family a good life and he can afford to make small gestures of giving back.
I offer my art/design services and he asks me to try to make a logo for the store. I go home and sketch ten variations. For now, a couple have made onto bookmarks. Joe has to talk to his wife and daughters to decide whether one of them will make it onto the store’s window.
Even if nothing more comes of it, I’ll be haunting the store as long as its doors are open.