Talking About Their Generation: Elder Wisdom, Inspiration and Humor

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Talking About Their Generation: Elder Wisdom, Inspiration and Humor

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An Evening with Ute

Tuesday, May 28 at 7:00 p.m.

When we were young, my brother and sister and I were NOT allowed to leave the dining room table until our elders (grandparents and parents) were finished with their coffee, which was about 100 hours after we'd finished dessert. AND we were expected to look interested and participate in the conversation. I'm not kidding- we did not move until the conversation and coffee finally piped down. I have pictures of the family gathered during this time and I look exactly like Scout on her first day of school in To Kill A Mockingbird- a squirmy tomboy in a dress. But guess what? My mean ol' mom gave me a gift I didn't get to open 'til later in life - that of understanding the importance of intergenerational community. I am naturally chatty and curious, and I remember my brother giving me the death-stare one coffee hour(s) because of my questions about life in Scotland before the MacGregors came to America. He wanted to get out back and play some ball, but he never let me bat anyway—so pooh on him. I hit my Grandfather up with loads of questions about his life as a newly-American soldier in World War I and his role as a Westinghouse elevator mechanic for some of the first aircraft carriers in the early 1940's. I didn't know it then but apparently John MacGregor NEVER spoke about himself or the Wars. The topics had become basically taboo—but what did I know about that, so he was being nice to his curly blonde granddaughter and got to talking. His wife ("Nana" to me) and my mother were hanging on every word. I found that out later.

Same thing happens in the bookstore. Whenever I get to talking with an elder I find they've had a fascinating life, even if they disagree with me and pshaw me when I say so. After connecting over a book or chatting about an occasion coming up, it's not long before I've urged stories from them about their childhood on a 1940's farm with no running water or indoor plumbing or being one of eight kids in a 3-room city walk-up or coming to America from the USSR by way of Latvia in the 50's. If I notice PPB friends leaning in for a listen I invite them over. 

So I thought I'd invite you all over to our Event Space (PPB 261) to listen in while I chat with Ute Anderson, 81. Born in 1938 in Berlin, she and her family were civilians during World War II and it's aftermath. At seven years old, along with her mother and two year old brother, Ute was evacuated to what she remembers as Prussia during the Russian invasion of January 1945. Ute remembers everything about those days. Fear was her constant state of being, and yet she talks of the "guilt satchel" all Germans carried post-War and still do today. At 81, Ute is a six foot tall, beaming force of nature and a testament to the resiliency, humor and inspiration we can only wonder at during this series. Emma and I got to chatting with her one day in the store so we just had to share her and we hope to make this an ongoing series.

Free event! Come join us for an Evening with Ute, the first in our series "Talking About Their Generation." Seating limited to 30, please call to RSVP, (630) 765-7455.

If you happen to know a fascinating elder that might want to talk to me in front of a small audience, please contact me. Series will resume in the Fall, read@prairiepathbooks.com.

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I Love My Landlord - Free Coffee Weekend

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I Love My Landlord - Free Coffee Weekend

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Town Square Mall will be buying your coffee this Independent Bookstore weekend. 

What?? I know! I've noticed after just a few weeks that you all care a whole lot about Town Square Mall. You notice as it grows and changes, maybe especially when spaces close up such as Starbucks will do on Friday. Many of you have shared your curiosity re what Mall management is like and what future plans are. As many of you know Mall ownership changed recently and they brought in Dan Pollard as their leasing agent. Some of you met him at our February 13th grand opening party - and here's the scoop: they have been bend-over-backwards accommodating to get PPB into 255 and letting us host our events next door at 261. I guarantee they have a vision to build it and grow it and I am a part of that plan: Lucky Me and PPB. 

And here's an update - so far so great: We have DOUBLED our sales over the same months' last year and we are looking at doubling up staff for many shifts to try and keep up. I had to cover for a sick staffer last Friday and I almost lost my mind being all alone and trying to get books received, phone calls answered, presents wrapped and the cash register manned. Not to mention chatting and recommending books of course. Sorry if you were one of the poor folks I hurried to help ... do you think my staff left me on purpose to make a point??  

ANYWAY - long story short (too late, I know) - Town Square Mall ownership wants to prove their commitment to you all and the Mall and to show it they will provide delicious coffee from Wheaton's own I Have A Bean this weekend. They are actively seeking a new coffee/cafe tenant of course, but me and the Mall want you to know we feel lucky to be a part of such a supportive community. Here's the scoop:

  • The Mall will pay for I Have a Bean coffee to be available at PPB 261 beginning 8:00 a.m. on Independent Bookstore Saturday and Sunday (April 27 and 28th), going 'til 2:00 p.m. (a regular brew, with cream and sugar on the side);

  • PPB fans know that PPB is committed to "Less Landfill/No Single-Use Plastic," so please bring a mug or ... use one of ours - we bought a dishwasher so we could use real dishware and avoid disposables.

In case you were wondering how Mall ownership feels about you, here's them saying: Free Coffee Means WE ARE COMMITTED.  

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We are an independent bookstore family!

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We are an independent bookstore family!

Some days as an independent retailer I reflect longingly on my time as a lawyer for McDonald's Corporation. Not only did I love my job, but I also had a really smart executive assistant whose work it was to make sure all I did was practice law. Plus there were IT and HR and catering departments, not to mention cleaning and maintenance support. As I've mentioned via my "bad-a** hands" blog last week - this is just really not the case for me and my staff at our beloved bookstore. Example: earlier today I tottered on a ladder replacing lightbulbs in our super high yet lovely ceiling. That said, we feel so lucky to be in a fancy mall now - where (hallelujah) folks shovel the parking lot and salt the walks for us! No more stopping by Buikema's for snow-melt on winter workdays! Wait though, dang -- salty boots make the hardwood floors - well, really salty. Hmm, what department do I call for that? What's the extension?

The Daughter Department. And I have her on speed dial. You see, my eldest is willing to labor for cash since she's paying her own way in post-college life and it turns out life is expensive. Prairie Path Books is lucky to have access to the 6500 square foot event space next door at Town Square for our larger gatherings*, and we had one planned for Friday, but the flooring needed serious de-salting. So I dialed the Daughter Department and promised cash for clean floors. She grabbed some cleaning solution from home and came over; I directed her to the bright and energetic-looking yellow mop and bucket/wringer contraption. She got some music going and was actually grooving and singing as she swooshed the mop about. Bop bah, tra la. La. 

After a while, however, she began to notice that traces of salt reappeared as soon as the mop water dried. Hmm. She called to my attention that not only was the floor not getting clean, parts of the floor not salty before, were now messy with white film. I've not been a mom to involve/solve my kids' issues (unless helping out meant making food), so I didn't engage in her grumbling. I mean, after all, kids today need to learn how to get past adversity, am I right? 

She mopped it once. It took one hour for the 6500 SF and grumbling replaced her singsong half-way through. She mopped it twice (13,000 total SF, 100 minutes). The wood looked better but still, it was salty-filmed. Daughter Department was showing signs of disappointment and distress. I finally offered: "I bet you're not refreshing the bucket water often enough, do it again but change the water more." She said "love you mom," as she wheeled and sloshed the bucket over for the third time, making it 19,500 square feet of mopping. (OK she said something I couldn't hear, but I'm pretty sure it was love-ly). Finally, she had to get back to the city and I paid her but we neither of us were happy with the results. I groused to myself that kids today don't seem to be able to MOP for heaven's sake. What would her Great-grandmother MacGregor say?

After she left, we had a nice person come in, and he happened to comment re our salty hardwood: "You're not using a household floor-cleaner like Bona are you? That won't clean up real commercial salt pellets, it doesn't have the right ingredients. You're just spreading the salt around." WHAT?? She was diluting the salt and then mopping it all around from the bucket? How was I supposed to know? 

Naturally, my frustrated floor-salt funk dissipated quickly because I began giggling at my daughter's expense. Giggle hee. Haha tee hee. She didn't have the right cleaning stuff?! Hee hee tra la. I mean, we thought we knew how to get floors clean because we have muddy Bad Dog to contend with. I never imagined there might be special commercial stuff that worked better in an ummm ... commercial setting. I laughed and laughed with my staff and some customers and my husband about poor Hannah's Sisyphean efforts, but I hesitated to tell her that I myself had set her up for 3 hours of frustration and failure. Because then I would look like an idiot and I hated to ruin her belief that mom is serene, wise, and all-knowing (be quiet, readers). But I went with my gut and told her. We laughed so hard, we cried.

And yet, still, I feel solid on the independent retailer/parenting front because here's the reward for learning things the hard way: you remember what you've learned. Plus your sore-muscle memory reminds you to prepare all you can next time you undertake a task. "Measure twice, cut once" my (carpenter) Grandfather MacGregor would say. In mopping thrice my daughter got to see with her own eyeballs: 1) what hard work it takes to keep a small store going; 2) that failure can be an irreplaceable step-stone for learning if you let it; 3) that laughing at mistakes is not just good for you but also an inexpensive form of entertainment; and 4) her mother will always be good for giggles because of her mistake/life ratio.

All that to say, I'm so glad we are an independent bookstore family because soon comes Independent Bookstore Day! In a few weeks (April 27) we not only have a party planned (a' course!) but two author events and our Jenny and Sandy spring book review bash: Champagne & Daffodils. Call to let us know you can come! 

*Oh and hey - now it's all clean and ready, contact me if you have a bookish event in mind, we'd love to have you next door, but for heavens' sake, wipe your feet.

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"I sell books"

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"I sell books"

I was chatting with Dave one evening last week when I peered down at my ruddy knuckles and ragged nails, ripped up cuticles and box-cutter wounds. I really noticed them for the first time since we moved the bookstore. I said, "You have to take a picture, oh my gosh look at my hands!" I've never been able to commit to manicures (too hyper to sit, plus I'm hand-spastic, causing chips) but that night I realized that the current state of my hands reminded me of my grandmother MacGregor's. In a good way, because hers were veiny and battered and fascinating -- "bad-ass" hands my daughter would say. They told a story, and now so do mine.

My grandparents were Scottish and Bohemian Ellis Island immigrants who worked hard and settled in Maywood and Forest Park. When children came along in the thirties they wanted for them all the benefits early 20th century America could provide. Both sets of grands emphasized college to their children even though if you combined all four together, they had very few years of post grammar school education. Each couple had two kids, and three of the four went to Northwestern University in Evanston. My outlier mom wanted to major in home economics and Iowa State beckoned (I followed her there a few decades later and loved every minute).  

I graduated college and law school and worked with my hands only in that they typed what my educated thoughts were. When I knew my cozy entrepreneurial incubator, Toms Price, had sold their building I thought hard about next steps. After raising kids and giving bookstore ownership a shot, maybe it was time to see what the 21st century could offer me. It was a good time to try, with two in college and one on her way to law school. So I updated my resume, fitting onto one page what I might have to offer.  

But all the while, I kept amusing myself with what a bookstore owner's resume would look like. In this biz it's not necessary to have gone to college and if you have a degree, your major or GPA don't matter. In bookland, everyone does everything so there's no real hierarchy or jockeying for promotions: I clean the toilet, dust the shelves and take out the garbage, cut open boxes of books (note: sometimes causes bleeding) and straighten shelves. There's no real corporate culture to navigate, other than Stay Curious, Be Helpful and Volunteer to Cover Shifts When Someone's Kid is Sick or Dad Fell Down. Wait, that sounds pretty good ...

My job is to read a lot and share my thoughts on books. Chat everyday with the sort of people that value reading and local business. Work with smart and friendly colleagues who believe in and are proud of what they do. Have a centuries-old occupation, one that I could explain to Leonardo da Vinci with three words: "I sell books."  

What was I thinking, updating my resume?? I have the best job in the world. And bad-ass hands to go with.

– Sandy

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“Well, Speed, I’m moved.”

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“Well, Speed, I’m moved.”

In April 1837, a “long, gawky, ugly, shapeless man” new to town walked into Joshua Speed’s dry goods store in Springfield, Illinois, looking to buy supplies. When Speed totaled the items they came to $17, and the cash-strapped newcomer asked for credit until Christmas. The customer was none other than a 28-year-old Abraham Lincoln, a quarter-century before he would take the oath as the 16th United States president – and legend has it the store owner took an immediate liking to him. Speed spontaneously offered to share the large room he had upstairs and Lincoln wordlessly gathered the two saddlebags that contained his life’s possessions and walked up. He came right back down and said, with a big smile, “Well, Speed, I’m moved.”* 

I’ve carried that story in my heart since I first read it to my wee Koropps, so when we move any of them where they are going and set down the first load, I always exclaim, “Well, Speed, we are moved!” I said it again when we moved Prairie Path Books’ first truck-load into 255 Town Square Mall last week, but the movers didn’t seem to appreciate the Lincoln reference. I do think they’d have been thrilled if all I had was a few saddlebags rather than hundreds of boxes of books and 2200 square feet of furniture.   

I love the amiable ease and neighborliness of the Lincoln story, and of course my favorite president’s wit. All that warmth was everywhere Wednesday when we opened our store doors for the first time. When one of you mentioned that she couldn’t believe we closed Saturday at 6 and opened 2 miles south 3 days later, I was glad I’d never thought of it that way when we set our new store opening date.

How’d we do it? With lots of help from friends. Of course my staff was amazing as always; there are many reasons it’s great to be a bookstore and way high among them is that great people want to work there. They were all consumed with “packing the saddlebags” and so we relied on friends and family to fill the gaps. For example, Yankee Candles are half as high as books so every single shelf in every single double-deep case had to be adjusted – that’s right, with all those pesky little pegs. Who on earth do I call for that?! Turns out my Valentine, yet again. Hubby Dave and his three buddies spent four hours Sunday making the shelves bigger for the books being moved in the next day. They were part of a huge group of friends and family that boxed and carried and shelved and vacuumed and dusted and mopped then baked and twinkle-lighted and poured. My heart was full on Valentine’s Eve for our party and it still is. Special thanks to Susan SZ, my 20-year Toms Price designer, for helping create the space. To Wendy and Cathy who answered my texts at 4pm that night for an extra layer of confidence and support I needed for that last-minute party push. And to Jen, Chelsea and Pat, who know what they did. I’ll never forget any of you, truly.  

Well, Wheaton, we are MOVED. Come see us.

Fondly, Sandy 

 

*adapted from an article in Smithsonian Magazine

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9,999 books on a wall, 9,999 books...

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9,999 books on a wall, 9,999 books...

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Take one down and move it south!

We are here at 255 Town Square, just a few boxes to unpack before the party tomorrow. See you soon!

With warm hearts we thank you for your loyalty and support for PPB. We’d just love to see you at our I Love Books New Store Bash on Valentine’s Eve, February 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m., $5/person.

Call to tell us you can come, (630) 765-7455!

Prairie Path Books opens to the public on Valentine's Day!

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Can you believe it?

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Can you believe it?

Friday, February 8, 1:00 p.m. at our Wesley Street location.

Friday, February 8, 1:00 p.m. at our Wesley Street location.

What's the greatest thing about work and school cancelled and being encouraged to stay inside for your safety? Books of course, am I right?? Classes are cancelled at my kids' colleges and here's real news: my son put ON a coat I sent him and I have a picture to prove it. He didn't have the gloves or hat on but I'm sure he's wearing them right? He's probably spending his day off studying, you think? Thanks for your support! (Liars).

Anyway - I've mentioned I'm on my Jan-ual book binge and because I've been lately forced (boo-hoo) to stay by the fireplace, I'm racing through my stack of reads. Jenny and I are both reading like mad for the upcoming Annual Champagne & Snowflakes Book Recommendation party (Friday, February 8, 1:00 p.m.) - and we have a long and growing list of winners for your winter bingeing. Please call to say you can come - it's our last event at Wesley Street and it's sure to be our best yet, (630-765-7455).

Can you believe it - then our last day open at Wesley Street is Saturday, February 9. Gosh. We need to pack and get moving in time for our "I Love Books - New Store Bash" on Wednesday, February 13, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Please come see and celebrate with us, because the next day - Valentine's Day — we are open to the public.  

Wednesday, February 13, 6:30–8:00 p.m. at our Town Square Mall location.

Wednesday, February 13, 6:30–8:00 p.m. at our Town Square Mall location.

As most of you know by know, my Store Manager Susan is smarter than me in so many ways. Like counting the money in the register and remembering what day it is. My son Tom described me as a "free spirit" introducing me to one of his friends recently and I frowned, but what the heck. So be it. ANYWAY - Susan says we need way more boxes than we have to move all our stuff and that buying boxes is expensive. So me — the spirited one — I'm like — WOW, let's ask our people to bring boxes and then maybe put books into them if they can stay for 5 minutes? We are packing beginning February 10th (Sunday) and hopefully packing/moving the 11th as well.  If you have any to drop off or etc., can you email me at read@prairiepathbooks.com? We sure would appreciate it.  

Book? check. Blanket? check. Cocoa/fun beverage? check.  

See you soon, friends.

Please come by in the next days because we continue to have amazing deals on things we won't move. Up to 70% off!

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Thursday, February 14 at our Town Square Mall location!

Thursday, February 14 at our Town Square Mall location!

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I've decided to move Prairie Path Books

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I've decided to move Prairie Path Books

Happy winter friends! I'm blissfully in the midst of my Jan-ual reading binge and this wintry weather is the perfect backdrop. This year more than others I've found my mind popping off the pages, wondering where to move my bookstore. If you're a regular PPB reader, you know we learned in September that our current space had been sold. Since then, I've been noodling next steps and you know me - they were not straight linear noodles like spaghetti. No, they were more like curly, twisty fusilli noodles, as follows:

After 5 years was it time to close up and move on?

If yes then what would I do with my considerable hyper-energy? Would I ever like anything as much as a bookstore? If no, then should I stay at Wesley for as long as possible?

If yes that means nothing to do for now - no moving and packing!! Yay! If no, then should I leave Wheaton since lots of towns want a bookstore?

If yes, then which ones and why? If no, then where in Wheaton would I find a new home to consolidate my two stores into one?

Now you see why my family and friends have noticed a far-off look on my face for weeks and weeks as I've fusilli'd these topics. Mid-way through the process though, my noodles began to straighten out and my path became more straight and spaghetti-ish. I've decided to move Prairie Path Books into the Yankee Candle Company space in Town Square Mall in Wheaton (on Naperville Road near Butterfield) and here's why: It feels like home to me. For a lot of you too, I've heard. Here are just some of my life-moments that took place at Town Square, which has always appealed because of its great location and size and parking, plus charming layout and look:

We moved to Wheaton in 1991 and I bought suits and heels (!) for work at Talbots and casual clothes at Country Road Australia (going way back) and then maternity clothes at Peapod;

I had coffee at Starbucks with my friend Annette while she consoled/counseled me re full or part-time or stay-at-home career + motherhood decisions;

My first outing with our newborn eldest was with my folks for breakfast at Egg'lectic (I remember struggling to unfasten Hannah's brand new car seat from its base and then crying frustrated, over-tired tears because I wanted to take a nice stroll around the Mall circle after, but I couldn't get the straps and buckles straight and the dang baby into the new “Bjorn”);

I clothed the kids at the Mall -- school and Christmas picture outfits from Gymboree and Talbots Kids and sports jerseys from Baby Gap for Tom - I vividly remember "graduating" from the 0-6 months section with each of my kids (well that's not true - it's a blur after Emma was born);

The Mall has always been "good exercise" from my Wheaton homes and I remember the beautiful day I strollered to the Mall with Emma on her sister’s first day of preschool, and then realized how short 2 1/2 hours really is and we had to speed-stroll home; 

All my kids loved meeting friends at the Mall, it's a great first independent outing; and

The first conversation I ever had about really actually opening a bookstore took place with a friend at Warren's Ale House.

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That brings me to the most relevant fact: Dave and I truly raised our kids at Borders, and Barnes & Noble which was in the Mall. Above is a picture of a two-year-old Emma, reaching for a book (in Metaphysics, strangely) at the Barnes & Noble circa 1999. When I say we raised our kids at the Mall, I’m not kidding. Yes, there she is wearing footie pajamas, because when you need a stack of bedtime reads, you GO and forget about what you're wearing. (Did we put the kids to sleep with Heidegger that night??) We spent hundreds of hours and I'm sure thousands of dollars in those bookstores - having no idea that they would move on and I would move in. 

We ARE moving and that means finally the fusilli noodles are STRAIGHT as spaghetti, so purposeful and directed are we. I know you have questions, so here are answers in my last list for today:

When are we moving? Soon! Our lease begins February 1st, but first it needs to be painted and we need to pack;

Are we having a moving sale? YES, heavens yes. Starting today we are clearing out everything too difficult to move or that we don't have enough of to create a cute display in the new space — that means our bestselling items are at least 50% off, so strap on your boots and get over here for deals (selfishly you will lighten our pack/move chores);

Will there be a fun party? YES, but first Jenny and I are hosting our annual Champagne & Snowflakes book review party on Friday, February 8th at 1pm at Wesley, and THEN on Wednesday, February 13th at 6:30pm we will host the "I Love Books" Opening Bash in our new space

Where do I go for events? All events after February 13th will take place at our store in Town Square where we will have longer hours once we move;

Gosh, we better get crackin'! My friends - I'm so excited. Thanks always, for everything.

"Never forget," a stranger said to me once in the lobby of the Midland Hotel in Manchester, "that only dead fish swim with the stream." 

— Malcolm Muggeridge (1903–90) British journalist and satirist


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Scroogey to adore an Empty Nest? Easy-going Togetherness Reads

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Scroogey to adore an Empty Nest? Easy-going Togetherness Reads

By dinnertime, I'll have two of my three chicks (the college kids) home for the holidays and back in our Wheaton nest. My eldest, Hannah is working her first full-time job, so she is a freshman in life – meaning she is graduated from spending money to learn and is on to making money while learning. Like Bob Cratchit in Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" she will be working 'til the afternoon on Christmas Eve, hopefully NOT having to fill the work-stove with coal to feel self-sorry by. I'll be at the Wesley store on 12/24, but somehow the four of us will put together a warm, cozy and yummy food homecoming for my Hannah-girl. 

For the Koropps, Christmas Eve no longer means Dave staying up late assembling toys, me scrambling for enough AA batteries, and us bringing out and arranging under the tree all of Santa's secret treasures. Usually while Dave made the race tracks or dollhouses, I was whipping up Jenny's recipe for overnight egg and sausage casserole (ask me and I’ll give it to you) and some muffin mix so that we five could all have at least some grains and protein for the morning melee. 

Is it horribly Scroogey to just LOVE the stage we are in now?? Dave and Emma will shop for and plan the Christmas Eve feast and Hannah will help me with breakfast Christmas morning. Tom comes home tonight. For sure he'll nest under the blanket until he sleeps off his finals, but then I’m counting on him to take Bad Dog away for long runs and then mop the floor when muddy Bad Dog comes in. Intrafamily gift-shopping is now something we do together, taking several cars out and partnering up, keeping our selections secret in the trunks and lunching all together in-between.  Bliss. 

I wanted to share with you three or four books I highly recommend for your loved ones for this season. I am present-ing all of them to my kids and Dave, and each has unplugged, interactive potential of course: 

  • My 21/22 year old daughters: I am present-ing my girls with a getaway so that we can bond, talk and journal our way through the book "Your Story is Your Power: Free Your Feminine Voice" by Elle Luna. It's a beautifully illustrated collection of thoughtful prompts for chatting and story-telling opportunities designed to help women like us better understand who we are and why. I cannot WAIT to be phone-free and blanketed much with my girls. I think any grand/mom/daughter would never forget an afternoon of sharing these stories. Truly.

  • Empty Nest Dave and I have decided to start a husband/wife bookclub with only us as members. We need more topics than our kiddos, you know? He loves non-fiction and I'm open but prefer great stories, so I think we've settled on the 1927 gem "Triumph and Disaster: Five Historical Miniatures" by Stefan Zweig. This is a terrific gift book for anyone on your list who loves history and understanding more about the people who were uniquely perfect to impact it. Zweig writes, "Millions of people in a nation are necessary for a single genius to arise, millions of tedious hours must pass before a truly historic shooting star of humanity appears in the sky." In it are five vivid dramatizations of some of the most pivotal episodes in human history - chronicling both victories and disasters wrought by real men and women. I think we will start with the chapter regarding British Captain Scott's heartbreaking failure in 1912 in his race with Commander Asmundsen of Sweden to finish what Shackleton began- the journey to the South Pole. And then we will follow up in February with David Grann's "The White Darkness," a modern tale of an Antarctic exploration.

  • For Tom, home from his first semester as a pre-med student, I will be spoiling him with cookies from the BEST COOKIE COOKBOOK EVER, "Sally's Cookie Addiction." When I say best, I mean that everyone will be extremely happy when they lay eyes and tastebuds on these babies.  

Call or email us—we have plenty of each title in stock and can have them wrapped and ready!

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The Sure Thing Non-Tech Gift Option

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The Sure Thing Non-Tech Gift Option

"Mom, I'm Taking This." That's what my boy Tom said when he got home for Thanksgiving break, crashed onto his favorite fireside couch-spot and pulled on the new extra soft and thick blanket I'd bought (from myself). Then Bad Dog curled herself at his feet and they slept for like 6 hours. The next child that came home, Hannah, claimed the second one (I'd bought two from myself so there'd be one in both my favorite reading spots). Emma arrived last for the holiday and got a whole lotta nothing, but as she frequently points out, it figures since she is the middle child. Watching Bears/Lions on the big day, all the 20-something cousins were agog at the oh-so-soft super-dreamy and luxurious microfiber blankets and fought over them until the turkey was ready. 

Come Sunday, as my beloved pirates sailed away with my treasures, I felt, well - bereft of blankets but also warm and fuzzy thinking of them all warm in their new fuzzies. And, I love that I've found the perfect NON-TECH gift for this hard-to-buy-for group on my Christmas list. Of course, I'll add a BOOK carefully selected to earn an earnest "thank you, Aunt Sandy!" But I'm really excited to see my nephews' faces when they open the blankets. Isn't giving the BEST when you know it's going to be a big hit?! It's a bigger purchase, but about the same as any tech item and it's funner to give.

We at Prairie Path Books love everything we sell from Barefoot Dreams, all their blankets and sweaters, scarves and hats and maybe especially their CozyChic socks that are perfect for winter reading. But the two blankets that made such an impression are called CozyChic LUXE - it's their extra level of thick deep rich snuggly softness, and it's MACHINE WASH/DRYABLE. Luxe sounds just right for the season, doesn't it? 

I am buying the first two - but after that you can have some, too, and please enjoy 20% off when you mention this blog. Just for you (and me) I've ordered some of these CozyChic Luxe wraps in vintage rose - because gosh, we deserve a gift too, don't we ladies? It's a sure thing Tom won't take THIS one back to his dorm, but I'll be keeping my eye on Emma.... 

Ho ho ho...

(20% off this 188$ blanket if you mention this blog. I’m telling you- it’s sublime 🎯😊)

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Better than a "Book in a Box"

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Better than a "Book in a Box"

How was your Thanksgiving weekend? I am so lucky because I get to see many of you and chat about your holiday plans. I love hearing your stories and telling you mine: who's coming this year, what time do you gather, do you wait for dessert or dive in, is football on TV, and drumroll ... did everyone behave? Tee hee. I think all avid readers and most bookstore owners (this one for sure) are naturally curious and love getting to know people, gathering pieces of human experience to puzzle together a larger understanding. If this is a tough holiday for some reason and you want to talk, I want to know that too and I'll give you a hug and a mug of tea. That's small business, and all of my staff feels the same — we can't thank you enough for our best ever Small Business Saturday on the 24th.

As for me, I welcomed in a lively happy hungry group on the big day. Alas, my girls were not able to come home until later on Wednesday, so if I wanted At-Ease-Mom rather than Drill Sergeant/Hostess-Mom on Thursday — I know my kids did — I knew I had to plan ahead. We all wanted relaxed moments on Thanksgiving, an overall atmosphere that allowed us to pad sleepily down whenever, and linger over coffee with the parade on in the background (a soundtrack really). Selfishly, even though I love to cook, I miss my kids now they're away and I didn't want to be zipping around chopping and measuring things. 

How to achieve At-Ease-Mom? Small business to the rescue, of course! What else but a local, small business could help me achieve both homemade holiday food AND some leisure time?? Friends, I turned to a terrifically thriving small business in Glen Ellyn — Blackberry Market. From them I catered the cranberry compote and green beans with almonds, and even the rolls. Of COURSE I purchased my 22-pound turkey from Wheaton Meat Co (yes they are open, they're just improving the facade), and when I heaved it into the oven at 11am we had the time to take Bad Dog on a romp into the woods behind our home while it roasted - making for an ahhh-yummy-food-smell moment when we came in from the cold. Plus the romp served to exhaust the beast so she wouldn't chew on our guests! THANK YOU SMALL BUSINESS, we are so glad you're there for us, we'll be back often in December!

Speaking of grateful, we've been touched to see how many of you have placed special orders with us for the wildly popular Michelle Obama title, "Becoming." I know you have options to buy a book that famous; it's so easy to go to the keyboard and have "'Becoming' in a box" sent to your door. We know it is. So we treasure you immeasurably, book-ordering friends. Truly. And actually if you think about it, if you're keyboarding orders for books or gifts, why not support Prairie Path Books?  If you email me at read@prairiepathbooks.com, I'll reply as fast as I can and get you the book you want — AND we will have it holiday-wrapped and ready for you on pick-up if you'd like.  Prettier and more satisfying than book-in-a-box, no? And just a tiny bit more effort, really. 

Oh and hey, if you can't get in the store but want my wisdom in matching a friend or relative with the perfect book (e.g. the blizzard on Sunday/Monday), email me or give me a call (630-765-7455) and I'll make it happen, I love noodling the perfect book when you tell me about your loved one. 

See you soon and Happy Holiday season, friends!!

"Bookstores are not simply distribution hubs for books, 

they are the warm living rooms of our culture,

the portal to our dream worlds,

the anchors for our hungry, drifting souls."


Andre Dubus III, in his review of the (wonderful) book, 

"The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap" by Wendy Welch

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Once there Was A Small Business...

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Once there Was A Small Business...

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Once upon a time there lived a Boy and his Dog. Boy had always wanted a German Shepard so, being a very good Boy, he got a puppy for his 18th birthday. Boy and Dog were very happy. 

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Boy went to college 9 months later, leaving Dog. Boy happy! Loves college!

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Dog misses playing with Boy.

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Mom busy creating bookstore empire.

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Dog seems content sitting by fire while Mom reads. Doesn't she?

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Once upon a few years ago, nice designer Susan (from Toms PriceLand of course) took one look at the life of Koropp (3 kids plus muddy sports and snowy friends and 4 dogs) and suggested buying extra carpet for stair runner. Clever Susan. 

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One day Other Dog wanted to show Mom something...

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Boy's Dog ATE STAIR!

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Mom shouts bad words at Bad Dog and calls local, independent, 50 years in business Russell Martin Rugs and Carpet. Fairy Rugmother Beth answers and is so sympathetic. Beth is hosting Thanksgiving too! She convinces Shining Armor Installer to get up early and save Bad Dog by repairing stair with extra carpet the next morning. All Hail Small Businesses!

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Carpet repaired! Dog Lives!

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Mom now walks and runs Dog every day, snow or shine.

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Boy home from college for Thanksgiving Week! Mom excited for Dog to awaken Boy each morn' by jumping on Boy's head. 

The End.

Shop small my friends, because every dollar you spend is a vote for the world you want to live in and I want to exist alongside people like Beth. Not so much Dog at the moment, but Beth, Russell Martin and PPB ... yes!!

PPB’s two stores are lovely and full of new books, toys and gifts for you and all your visiting holiday friends and family to gobble.

Special thank you to OpenMindImages.com for beautiful pictures of Boy.

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PPB invites you to celebrate local business in our cozy, holiday-bedecked space. Come for homemade treats and the most carefully selected merchandise you'll find. 

HOLIDAY HOURS FOR BOTH LOCATIONS

Close early on Wednesday, November 21 at 3:00 p.m.

Closed Thanksgiving, November 22

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RTB - When a friend says "Read This Book"

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Like you, avid readers, I've a pal-network that talks books during our regular chats, and when one of them says "I really liked this one," I take especial note. But when Jenny/Betsy/Laurie/Wendy etc. text me "READ THIS BOOK" that's a whole n'other level and I darn sure do.  

My book-recwork inspires me to read something I may or may not have chosen, and bonus -- my pal and I can then talk the book over, extending our chat/chardonnay time even MORE! Isn't it sort of nerve-wracking when you follow up on a recommendation: "How'd you like it?" It's a vulnerable feeling to have told someone you think something is great; maybe you loved it because you were rebounding off a rotten read, or because you read the book during a rare cozy quiet evening and that affected your opinion? It is a personal step to rave about a book, and sometimes my friends have found it gush-worthy also (usually they rave right away), other times there is silence for a few too many days and you have to follow up once you know they've started. "I liked it but I didn't love it as much as you did." EEK.

My dear friend Betsy started texting me regularly as she read "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara in the summer of 2015. Usually she waits 'til she's finished before she recommends a book but this time I kept getting nudges like, "you've started it, right?" I had a wait-and-read attitude because of the wrenching cover art, what I knew of the content and the 700+ pages. Usually January is my month for a more mammoth read; I remember I read David McCullough's "John Adams" the January after 9/11 and it was the perfect time for an uplifting look at one of the brilliant, founding minds of America. But when Betsy finished and texted: READ THIS BOOK about "A Little Life" I did, even though it was summer. Like her I went all in for a week and Yanagihara's exquisite prose drew me, at times wincing, into an unforgettable story of four college friends. Of them, I will never forget Willem and Jude. Never. I was so immersed in their story that it felt like it was happening to me. I remember Betsy saying, "I can't get out of bed" she found it so affecting. I know it doesn't sound like something you want to race off and experience, but without Betsy's urgent "RTB" (our code for READ THIS BOOK, and I mean hurry), I would have missed one of the top two or three books I've ever read.

Well, friends - we have two events upcoming that will inspire you also to RTBs and GTBs (read and/or give these books...). It's that twinkle time of year for our Champagne and Sleighbells Book Recommendation party. That's when me and the PPB Readers "stand and gush" about their favorite new fiction and nonfiction. But this year we're adding a NEW SECOND recommendation event -- Paula will lead an evening of setting goals to make time for reading -- across your favorite genres, and maybe some new ones.  Paula will host a fun party December 3d at 7pm to share ideas and specific book titles to have an inspired 2019 reading year - this is perfect for you, yourself and you, or for members of book clubs looking to schedule your selections (remember you get 15% of your book club reads at PPB). Please RSVP to these events as seating is limited (630-765-7455).

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Friends, my current RTB is "Women in Sunlight" by Frances Mayes ... a novel of four women of a certain age range that takes place in Tuscany (Mayes wrote the delightful "Under the Tuscan Sun.") It's full of food and friendship and re-imagining the second, more independent and wide-open half of life. Really well written and immersive - you will feel like you have four new friends -- and I imagine it will be a movie (maybe casting Meryl, Sally, Blythe, Julia?). It's not fluff because these are strong, complicated women, but it's an easy read if that makes sense. Click here to order it and support PPB - you won't regret it!

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SOLD OUT!

SOLD OUT!

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Open Doors

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Open Doors

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Happy November, friends! Wednesday night I stepped outside to photograph my spooky front door to send the Koropp kids because all live away this year for the first time. I was feeling nostalgic. Once I hit "SEND" though I realized I'd left the dumb door open and you can't see my pretty lit-up wreath! Alas, I was too lazy to go out and re-take the photo because I was already settled in by the fire with my book. Oh well, I'm pretty sure my youngest, freshman in college Tom, frowned down at my text for a fifteenth of a second and thought as he deleted it - "Mom, why?" Oh me, even if my kids weren't feeling pangs for Halloweens past, it was a perfect autumn day . Hope you enjoyed it too.

This morning I took a new look at the photo and saw that door as a message of transition. As many of you know by now, I'll be closing and then hopefully opening new "bookstore doors" someday soon. Somewhere. I was happy for the Price family to learn that their gorgeous building I've been nestled into since June, 2014 was sold to College Church so that the congregation can extend their thriving fellowship. However, that means me and my PPB peeps will most likely be packing up and moving. As I've mentioned to you before, our Hale Street Annex is a short-term lease so we are looking to consolidate into one store -- but where? It's both fun and daunting to imagine. Every morning I overstuff my arms with things from home for the stores -- apple pie bars to share or one more set of sparkle lights from the Koropp basement to polish a book-display -- and struggle to unlock the door with my "free" hand. (Sandy, will you EVER take TWO trips??). What will my new door look like?

Regarding our second store, to be honest, the construction on Hale Street has been impactful. In case you've not been by, here's a photo from the inside of my store yesterday morning. I hear (hooray) this phase will near completion in the soon-coming days so we will go back to our regular open 7 days ANNEX hours starting tomorrow. Still I am wary of a downtown Wheaton location only because the next years of work needed to make the streets as wide and welcoming as Front Street is now, are tough on an independent retailer. If you haven't seen it, here's a link to the long-term project map www.wheaton.il.us/DocumentCenter/View/6031/Downtown-Streetscape-Map--Project-Timeline?bidId=. Exciting and beautiful it will be, though!

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I'm taking a creative look at all my options and hey, if any of you know of some charming site with a lovely door just perfect for me and PPB, gosh, I'd love to hear! In the meantime, elves at both my stores are stringing miles of twinkle lights, carefully placing tiny Scrooge within our Dickens Village, positioning wreaths and Santas and sleighs, and displaying our most charming holiday reads just perfectly so. 

As ever, thanks for all your support, and yes, now is the perfect time to support PPB. It's true. So stop in and shop — for yourself or for all on your list. Of course we wrap for free, more on that in a few days … hint: it involves Emma and the class analyzing one's gender she is taking this fall. Never fear, I'll get you "woke on the wrap ish" (alert you to new viewpoints on the issue of gender and wrapping paper). Sigh.

Thanks Ellen for steering me towards Ted Kooser's new poem collection. It was just the thing to settle into once the last Trick or Treaters had run off.

Thanks Ellen for steering me towards Ted Kooser's new poem collection. It was just the thing to settle into once the last Trick or Treaters had run off.

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Well, I've done it! 

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Well, I've done it! 

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Well, I've done it!  I spent about six days reading and cooking just as I wished — what a treat. Not much to get in my way except for ... er the dumb dogs! Maybe like some of you, it takes me a bit of a while to move from hustle-bustle everyday-ness into an engrossed state of mind. I've always thought of my concentration as a deep, water well and demands on my attention as a rope and a bucket. People never believe me but I'm actually introverted (with a heaping side of chatty). I'm most comfortable when my "bucket" can settle all the way down to the bottom of the concentration well and not get yanked up for this or that call upon my attention. Does that make sense?? Before children my mind was almost always at leisure to settle down deep in the well, but with the little ones came years and years of bucket yanking. Parents, I bet you can relate - we sort of get used to it and don't really come to expect or hope for much time in the deep-well state, do we? Now I'm without toddlers, but I have to really discipline myself to turn off my personal devices and control interruptions, especially with all the details of running two stores. I know you're nodding along with me here. But last week I did it (mostly) and read five delicious books. One clearly rose to the top of my heap and there's a close second -- come on in to the Wesley Street store or our Annex and find out what it is .... 

Visit our Brownies in Tow Trucks Treat Stations at both stores for a morale boost during construction!

Visit our Brownies in Tow Trucks Treat Stations at both stores for a morale boost during construction!

Speaking of the Annex - boy have you seen the construction on Hale Street? It's moving right along and we hear Halloween-ish all will be clear. 'Til then we've decided to open on "weekends"; that is, after trucks and dust are cleared away on Thursdays and Fridays 4-8pm, Saturdays 11-7 and Sundays 1-5pm. (And by the way, if you're wondering - YES, now is areally good time to support your local businesses)!

Last - now we're a few weeks into the fall season, I bet your schedules are starting to hit their rhythm. Perfect timing because our book clubs, discussion groups and cooking demonstrations are too. Take a look and come over and gather with your friends at Prairie Path Books!

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Finding balance: reading/cooking just for me

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Finding balance: reading/cooking just for me

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Happy October friends. We brought my Emma to college and she started class Monday. As many of you know I could not would not have managed the opening of my second store without her and I miss my mini-me. She’s now immersed in college life on a beautiful campus - the best of times. 

The house is more quiet now (even with four dogs) and I’ve had some time to reflect. You know what’s weird about opening a bookstore when you are a lifelong reader? You can’t help but become a bit more purposeful with your reading. Because of my love for cookbooks and the convenient fact that I have a wee kitchen in my first store, I’ve been lucky to offer events stemming from my love of cookbooks and gathering folks. But even in that, often I am selecting recipes with my cookbook demonstrations in mind. It’s natural to synchronize my personal tastes with what I sell but sometimes I finish a fiction tale quickly because I know you all will love it or abandon a read earlier than I might because I can’t imagine it selling. That feels unbalanced to me sometimes - as if I’m too store-oriented. So, because like you I’m drawn towards balance when I've tilted one way or the other, for the next few days I’ve decided to read and cook completely without the bookstore in mind if I possibly can. 

Here is a picture of me, like Jo March, way too close to the fire, with a stack of books and a candle going and snuggly socks on my reader’s feet. I’m excited to spend uncomplicated rainy-day time with lovely books. I’ve asked my staff to handle things while I immerse - I’ll see you Tuesday, no doubt with lots of opinions and recommendations. 😉 

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We love being local!

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We love being local!

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You all cannot imagine how much we appreciate being surrounded by folks that truly love local. Around here, we think of it as "Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want." Many votes were cast Saturday at our Champagne & Maple Leaves Book Recommendation Party. A packed house listened and laughed as Jenny and Carrie and Jen and Paula and me gushed about the best new books for the season, and then, guess what??  The line at the register was so long that I felt the need to bring over cookies and applesauce cake from our cozy kitchen to break up their wait. You see what I mean?? Everyone was on board - each one of you in that line was voting for the kind of world you want. Us too, we want that world too ... 

so we decided to plan three holiday-themed events that are purely local:

  • THIS THURSDAY AND FRIDAY, September 27-28th at our Wesley Street store, KINFOLK Members will have a private peek at and purchase opportunity of our just-unpacked autumn and holiday hand-made goodies*. Of course we will provide snacks and bevs just for you, beloved KINFOLK, come back to the Reading Room for your private party. If you're not yet a member, sign up here and begin to enjoy PPB Members Only benefits; Kinfolk Membership.

  • On November 9th we are thrilled to host two very very local events - a craft show featuring our most talented most local crafters, and a tree-lighting to celebrate the life of Glen Ellyn's Donna Terbell.

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September is Saturday!

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September is Saturday!

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Thank heavens, if you ask me. How are you guys? I hope the summer hounds among you are at least open to the very appealing nature of autumn - I know the end of August is hard for you. But some of us yearn for our book + sofa + blanket routine. Working in the store I get every sort of opinion on the weather and it's a favorite topic of mine. For warm-weather lovers fall means making the most of lingering outdoor reading opportunities, at least 'til the time change darkens our midwestern world on November 4th. Today's cooler temperatures made me excited for the first real leaf-crunching 60 degree day and my first sweater of the season. It was a day like this Thursday when my family loaded into our car and dropped my youngest to college* so it's been a bittersweet week.

No matter what you wear over to Prairie Path Books, it's GO TIME again for our gatherings! We've taken the last 6-weeks to immerse ourselves in great reads we can't wait to tell you about (call today to sign up for the Champagne & Maple Leaves Book Rec Party on September 22), plus planning 9 smart and inspiring gatherings for your September days and evenings (click here to take a look). Many PPB events are free but for some we have fixed costs that need covering as you might imagine. Like for Movie Club -- those of you who've been know that our facilitator Lee Shoquist and his enthusiastic expertise are worth the fee (this autumn our focus will be Stephen King movies). For you cooking demonstration veterans you will note that there is now a $15 store credit required when you RSVP. We know that you love our home-cooking + how we share our love of food with candor and laughs but we also know that not everyone is in the market for the cookbooks Cathy and I show you. So sign up for our cooking demonstrations and for sure we'd love you to buy the cookbook we are crazy for, but you can also use your credit that day or another for any of our luscious books, gifts, toys and cards. See you soon!

*On the personal side - since many of you have been with me nearly 5 years -- yes I'm now a mama bird with an empty nest. It took we Koropps one trip to bring into Tom's dorm his rather monochromatic wardrobe and bedding and very small shoe collection. So that was refreshing after our first two daughters and their much more voluminous dorm download that included puffy mattress toppers, decorative pillows, wall art and extra storage drawers. We had to convince Tom to bring a pen - that's how low maintenance he is. But since Thursday I've been you know, coping with things like adjusting my weekly grocery shop way way down from 12 pounds of pasta, 4 gallons of milk + 6 cereal boxes, family-sized Cheez-Its (go ahead, judge me) and double pints of fragile fruit (which he ate in one toss back - it irritated me at the time but I miss it now). Like many before me I'm now dealing with text replies of "Mom, what?" after I send a frustrated-face emoji because he hasn't answered how the first day of class went. I mean geez - now that I can't trap him and mine information during the 90 seconds it took him to fill a mixing bowl with cereal and milk, I need some cooperation, right? 

Oh well, I'm so glad I have all of you to help me stay busy over the empty inbox/silent house/no sports games to be late for or terrifying sweat-damp laundry/sad-fridge shelves hump. I'm the worst momento mom ever, but I've found photos of his first-ish days of Kindergarten (look it's framed!) and college below so you can wonder/gape with me at how time flies. Gosh - sign up for some events so I can see you all soon! 

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Gatherings -- They're Back, Geez!

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Gatherings -- They're Back, Geez!

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The first thing a lot of folks notice when they come into The Annex is a lovely sign that reads GATHER - it’s the juicy cherry on top of our huge table of summer cookbooks and hospitality goodies. I've found that folks new to The Annex and PPB ooh and aah at the display -- and then want to buy the sign! Naturally I've forgotten where I bought it - or truly I'd tell. 

Folks who have been around PPB on Wesley for awhile are used to seeing GATHER signs and pillows all about because they know that since 2014 our motto has been “Prairie Path Books - Gatherings & Great Reads”. We called ourselves that because we knew bringing the community together would be one of the very best ways we’d spend our time. And I've been hearing from you veterans -- who've noticed that our PPB gatherings have been a little slow in the last month, as follows: "hey I get that you've opened a new store but hey anyway: When's the fall calendar of events coming out??"

Geez amighty, guys, alrighty then! Glad to know you've missed us and each other. Get out your calendars, because in my next communications I'll be setting forth details on upcoming 2018-2019 GATHERINGS: 

  • Three new bookclubs, all monthly, two in the evenings and one on Sunday afternoons; PLUS

  • Our Champagne Book Review parties; PLUS 

  • Our 2x/month cooking demonstrations, one series to be held in Sandy's home in south Wheaton; PLUS 

  • Cookbook launch parties by Jenny and Sandy for Ina Garten's new one and Reese Witherspoon's first (they're GREAT, we've peeked at advanced copies); PLUS

  • Some brand new thought-provoking content, including a 9-month series on "Readings in American Democracy," facilitated by our own Carrie W., using the Shared Inquiry model developed by the Great Books Foundation at the University of Chicago.

To whet your gatherings appetites, here are the cooking demonstrations we have planned so far. Not only are we excited to reveal Ina and Reese, Cathy and I are launching an August - April series celebrating Italian food - and not only from famous Italian restaurant chefs, but from Italian Moms (a great new series of books) plus a cook-off set of two programs comparing recipes from the queens of Italian cuisine -- Marcella Hazan and Lidia Batianich. In November we will show how Italians do holidays and celebrations - that one we can't wait for, for sure -- but first Cathy will show us all how to make handmade pasta on August 30th and we will taste test it alongside the least $ and most $$$$ boxed pastas, with great sauces to go with. (I'm pretty sure Cathy's will win....)

I'm especially thrilled to spotlight Alana Chernila's three cookbooks in a three-part series from September-November to take place in my own kitchen. Cathy and I will pull out ALL the stops to tune you, our tribe, onto Alana's simple, homey, nourishing food vibe. Really pumped about this one. 

Deets on the rest coming soon -- so keep those calendars out, friends. 

*All events will take place at PPB on Wesley Street rather than The Annex: more room and more parking, plus the kitchen's there. 

Fondly, Sandy

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Make New Friends, But Keep the Kinfolk

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Make New Friends, But Keep the Kinfolk

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Whoosh we did it. Thursday night we welcomed dozens and dozens of Prairie Path Books friends in to our new 102 N Hale Street space. What a lovely night and we even had a vast double-rainbow just to the south to mark our event. If you haven't been, The Annex is smaller than our core store but spiffy and bright and in the heart of downtown Wheaton. Books, for sure - yes (only our most favorites because of space), but also lifestyle and gift items that will inspire.

Yesterday morning I opened The Annex for real and with delight, greeted all sorts of curious folks. Some knew that Prairie Path Books opened 4 years ago 6 blocks away, but some didn't. Have you ever been given the humbling gift of awareness that the thing you have been entirely focused on has not been observed by the wider universe?? It is a great gift indeed, and I felt myself shift quickly to the start-up gear I'd employed four years ago on Wesley Street when I first introduced Wheaton to my beloved books and other beauties. It's a tonic, really to meet new friends.

And what do you think our new neighborhood welcomed us with? We have moved in during downtown Wheaton's annual Sidewalk Sale!! Who knew? It begins Thursday, so I gave my staff oh - ONE DAY of rest after we opened and put them to work clearing out our off-season warehouse of PPB merchandise and bringing it over to Hale Street for markdowns. There was great stuff back there, you guys! 

So just for you, old friends - we will close The Annex at 5pm on Wednesday and stay open 'til 8 just for Kinfolk members so you can get first dibs. Look at these Naughty/Nice cuties we found, for example, and there are more fall and winter lovely cozies, plus we will clear out some current summer things to make way for all the autumn pretties we have coming in. Can't make it Wednesday? Email me and if you're Kinfolk I'll open the store early (before 9am) for you during the sale for a private tour - coffee is on me. 

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Speaking of treasuring old friends - Kinfolk, if you're in the market for a holiday treat - Santa just committed to a third date to come to Prairie Path Books* — December 14th 5-8pm. Pssst - first dibs! Call today (630)-765-7455. 

Not a Kinfolk member yet? You wanna be, with our day to day membership benefits and special extras like these. Now's a great time to join. See you soon, friends old and new!

*Santa event ticket not eligible for Kinfolk free event pass

Kinfolk Membership

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