The house rules are simple: no cell phones, restack what you've browsed, check bags, and in general, treat the store and its inhabitants — especially Leonard the cat — with respect. With its distinct odor of faded paper, creaky steps and slapdash shelves and aisles, Myopic feels more like a book lover's personal estate library than an impersonal retail outlet. Open until 1 a.m., the Wicker Park landmark features experimental music sessions every Monday and a twice-a-month Sunday poetry reading series. From its artist employees to its eccentric regulars, Myopic has the sensitivities, passion, dedication and moodiness peculiar to both artists and Myopic's mercurial mascot, Leonard.
Ultimately, the store's character is about its books. One of the largest used bookstores in Chicago, Myopic's three levels include a mezzanine section with reading nooks overlooking the main floor and a basement with floor-to-ceiling shelving. It houses more than 80,000 books , with a fiction section that would be the envy of some libraries. Its book-buying policy has strict hours (6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday , 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday) and its categorizations can seem as unusual as its maze of aisles, but Myopic gives book lovers a home filled with possibilities.
Myopic Books, 1564 N. Milwaukee Ave., 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, or go to
Robert Duffer is a freelance writer in Chicago. Find him at robertduffer.com.