2005 RFT Best Of
Oprah's best efforts notwithstanding, books have taken a serious hit at the hands of competing media. It's easier to watch a movie, listen to a CD or turn on cable than it is to read a book, and most people do prefer easy. Regardless, savvy independent book merchants have managed to ride the changes, as Javier Parada and Kelly von Plonski, co-owners of Subterranean Books, can attest. They've been open in the Loop for five years and plan on staying. And if you think of Subterranean as strictly a used-book store, think again. "We sell almost as many new books as we do used, and we're ordering in more and more new titles all the time," von Plonski says. That's why this is such a superior little shop: the wide-ranging collection of prime used books in tandem with a first-rate offering of new titles, available for browsing seven days a week. Pascal or Sedaris? Black Sparrow Press or New York Review of Books editions? Any or all -- Subterranean'll set you up. And if they don't have it, they're happy to track it down for you.