Skip to main content

Interview with Suzy Takacs, owner of The Book Cellar, Chicago

Suzy Takacs

During Sam Weller’s book reading for ‘The Ray Bradbury Interviews’ at The Book Cellar a few weeks ago, I took some time to interview the owner of the bookstore, Suzy Takacs, about life in the world of the independent bookshop.

Philip: In a former incarnation you were a nurse practitioner. When did you discover the burning desire to open a bookstore?

Suzy: I have always been an avid reader. As a child, my mom had a hard time keeping enough books around for me to read. After being a nurse for sixteen years, I began thinking about making a life change. I thought I should get out of the rat race and work in a book store. My husband suggested I open my own bookstore. There wasn't one quite near to where we live and I always thought we could use one in our part of the city . I met with the Chamber of Commerce Presidents of Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, and North Center, together with the alderman, and I presented my business plan. As luck would have it, they were trying to recruit an independent bookstore at that time.

Philip: What is it that makes The Book Cellar so different?

Suzy: The people who work here. There is a human touch and connection with the books we read and love and our hopes in recommending a book for our customers that they will read and love. We are a community meeting place for lots of events both literary and otherwise.  We also help to make Lincoln Square a unique neighborhood and a destination in the city for those that live here, and for travelers as well.  Plus we have my favorite combination: books and wine.
Philip: In the age of Borders, Amazon, and E-Readers, how do you attract browsers and readers to The Book Cellar?

Suzy: A personal connection to our customers and good service. We also host many literary and non-literary events so there are many reasons to visit the store. Quite soon we will be adding a shopping cart to our website so people can shop for both print books and E-books 24/7.

Philip: What are you reading at the moment?

Suzy: "Toad's Museum of Freaks and Wonders" by Goldie Goldbloom, "Finny" by Justin Kramon, and "Paris Wife" by Paula McClain.  It's never just one.
Philip: Looking into your crystal ball, what do you see in the future for independent bookstores?

Suzy: I envision indie bookstores continuing to be places to get a great book recommendation, places that make a neighborhood or town unique and interesting, places that contribute to the community as a resource for entertainment, or for communing with books through book groups, and so on.

Philip: As they say on the best interview shows: “Suzy Takacs, owner of The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square, Chicago: Thank you very much.”

 Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

On my 300th blog post

Crikey!

It's my 300th blog post. And I seem to remember that in my 200th blog post I said that I would start quoting from John Ruskin's "Praeterita", after which this blog was named. Well, better late then never, so quotation number 2 is below.

First, though, some thoughts on this blog and blogging in general. I started Praeterita at the end of last year after reading a book by an art-marketing guru called Alyson Stansfield that recommended it as a means for artists to publicise their work better. But from the start I thought it would be more interesting to talk in a discursive way about my wider interest in art, and artists, and the history of art. After a desultory beginning where I only posted once a week, my blogging habit has now grown to the point where I am posting sometimes twice a day, and more than 45 times per month (helped enormously by the Blogger feature that lets you save blog posts with a post-dated timestamp, so that you can put posts in the bank to …

My worst open studio

Most open studios are notable for nothing really happening. You sit there waiting for people to come into your studio, eat all your nibbles and guzzle the free drink, and then leave after a cursory glance at your work. Usually, the worst thing that happens is that you get stuck in a boring conversation with a dull person,

But there was one time a few years ago when I got into one of these conversations, and quite quickly the person I was talking to started to make homophobic remarks about another artist in the building. After a few minutes, I decided I'd had enough and asked him to leave. He seemed genuinely surprised that I had any objection to what he was saying, which in retrospect makes me even angrier if he thought he had a sympathetic ear.

He asked me why, and I told him I didn't like people talking that way, and I said: "This conversation ended 30 seconds ago." So he left.

So, nothing dramatic like Jackson Pollock getting drunk in a fancy New York apartment a…

Van Gogh on Degas

From a letter dated July 31, 1888:
“Why do you say Degas can’t get it up properly? Degas lives like some petty lawyer and doesn’t like women, knowing very well that if he did like them and bedded them frequently, he’d go to seed and be in no position to paint any longer. The very reason why Degas’s painting is virile and impersonal is that he has resigned himself to being nothing more than a petty lawyer with a horror of kicking over the traces. He observes human animals who are stronger than him screwing and f—ing away and he paints them so well for the very reason that he isn’t all that keen on it himself.”
Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader