The comforts of home, or how to pass a lovely afternoon in Chicagoland Janie-Style

by Janie Jones

I meant to post this post last weekend, but on account of the internet cable being struck by lightning and having no access to my blog for TWO WHOLE DAYS it got forgotten about.  Until now.

Just like Fiona, I find there’s no balm for the soul like a trip to the bookstore.  So, while the spud was celebrating her dad’s wedding last Saturday, I decided to get out of my hotel room and drive just 10 miles to the nearest Barnes & Noble bookstore.  I love Barnes & Noble.  I could spend hours, days, weeks in that store and not get bored.  Oh, and as I bonus, they have a Starbucks.  I don’t drink coffee, but they do make a good Raspberry Italian Soda, with cream, of course, and the sell some amazing desserts.  My favorite is the chocolate cheesecake.  Oh! Oh!  And, additional bonus, I had a coupon for 15% of my purchase on top of my membership card discount!  Oh, yeah baby.

Unfortunately it took me just over an hour to drive to the store.  About 45 minutes of that hour was spent wandering over a 2 square mile area.  Who would have thought you could pack so many shopping malls in one tiny location?!?  Part of my problem was Mapquest had botched the directions, part was the address given on the internet was not the specific address the store actually used or was facing, and the other part was I was never probably more than one block away from the actual directions, but because it was in a mall and there was no big marquee listing the stores in said mall I couldn’t see it from the intersection the Mapquest directions told me to go to because it was on the opposite side of the mall.  Furthermore, the street Mapquest told me it would be located on was actually the shopping mall access driveway which was unmarked.

But a bibliophile with a coupon is not easily deterred.  So, I found it at last, and felt like once again I was in a civilized world.  I wandered about collecting potential treasure tomes until my arms could hold no more, wandered off to the cafe, got my beverage and cake, and sat and read.  And read.  And read.

A bibliophile cannot live on books alone, alas, and so finally my stomach reminded me that cheesecake was not a sufficient dinner.  So, I picked out three books to actually purchase:  The Last Light of the Sun, by Guy Gavriel Kay, The Shadow of Night, book two of the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, and The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense by Suzette Haden Elgin (I’m not very sure about that last book, I flipped through a large part of it at the cafe, but with my discounts it was less than $3 so I figured it would be worth having around).  I managed to leave behind 4 other contenders for purchase.  A Janie in a bookstore with a coupon must be very disciplined if she wants to have gas money to drive back home to the Great White North.  And, have money for dinner.  In my wandering to find the bookstore I found a Panera.  I used to really love Panera.  They make some awesome Greek salad, and a Asiago Roast Beef sandwich that is to die for.  So, I grabbed one of each to go and only got lost twice on my way back to the hotel, where I cranked the AC up to arctic, because it was bloody hot in Chicagoland, and read until I went cross-eyed.

It was glorious.  Apart from getting lost, it was actually a pretty wonderful afternoon.

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