The Book Table

A fiercely independent discounted new and used bookstore. Ten years young at 1045 Lake Street, Oak Park, Illinois.


The Book Table is a great independent bookstore in Oak Park, Illinois.

Awwwww, thank you!

What do you suppose they’re all looking at?

Like our holiday windows? Vote for us on the Wednesday Journal website: Because Rachel would like to think she is not competitive, but as it turns out she would like to crush all of her competitors…er, neighbors.

In this season of “Best of” lists, we decided to make our own version of a “Best of” gift guide.

Best use of indices in a what is perhaps this season’s most beautiful book including “Index of Envelopes with Multidirectional Text,” “Index of Envelopes Turned Diagonally” and “Index of Envelopes with Pencilled Divisions.”
The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems
Bestselling books of poetry that actually sell so many copies that they end up on regular bestseller lists.

Dog Songs: Thirty-Five Dog Songs and One Essay
Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems
Best book about pizza boxes.

Viva La Pizza: The Art of the Pizza Box
Best book to finely give a word to the the gnawing sense of incompleteness knowing there is a partially eaten snack lying around (BTW it’s Zeigarnikfrustration).
Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition
Best use of technology normally associated with children’s books to be used in a very adult way.

The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert
Best book written in a completely made up and untranslatable language.
Best use of Shakespearean language to retell a movie classic.

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars
Best book for starting family arguments over the holidays.
Best book to prove that not only is the book always better than the movie, but even if the book is ABOUT movies, it’s still the best.

Best book to soften even the most hardened of hearts.
Unlikely Loves: 43 Heartwarming True Stories from the Animal Kingdom   
Best book to prompt the recipient to look at you and ask, “WTF? Wait. What is this? OMG, this is the coolest thing ever!”

Assassination!: The Brick Chronicle of Attempts on the Lives of Twelve Us Presidents
Best book of dog photography ever. Ever. Maybe the best book ever, period.
Best cookbook to give to the person that loved you so much when you gave them Jerusalem: A Cookbook last year.

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook
Best book to inspire a group of people to start doing “The Super Bowl Shuffle.”
Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football
Best book to give someone that’s read A Devil in the White City. And since by now everybody has read A Devil in the White City, it makes it the best book to give absolutely everyone.

Chicago By Day and Night: The Pleasure Seeker’s Guide to the Paris of America
Best book that begins with the story of a maintenance crew in 1980 dropping a wrench 70 feet onto a rocket and setting off a chain reaction.
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety 9781594202278    
Best book from 2012 that’s still only in hardcover (I know. It’s crazy.)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
Best book from 2010 that’s still only in hardcover (I swear it’s not our fault. There really isn’t a paperback yet. We don’t make these decisions. Please stop yelling at me.)
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Best book to show Santa’s sleigh stuck on Willis Tower.

Best tongue ever on the front of a book.
The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett: An Origami Yoda Book
Best envisioning of an alien invasion.

Best instructional manual on how to play pretend (with a side award on the best use of “cannot” as opposed to the more often used contraction).
Best book to show that some kids don’t want cute. They want a bunny that knows 1104 fighting styles and is armed with megatron bombs and robot killer bees.


Lucky Oak Park bookstore The Book Table now has the "coolest gift cards ever made" — they’re designed by cartoonist extraordinaire Chris Ware, an Oak Park resident.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present unto you the world’s coolest bookstore gift cards. Copyright 2013 by Chris Ware. The fine print: "This gift card is redeemable at The Book Table, in person or by phone. It is not valid online. It is also not redeemable for cash, nor, if lost, is it replaceable—unless you present your original receipt to one of our patient and tireless employees (whom we promise will not glare at you, if so.) And if you haven’t figured it out already, this card has absolutely no value until you add money to it—except, perhaps, as a lockpick for one of those cheaper kind of post-WWII doors, or as a spoon/personal food shovel in a survival-type situation. Did you add money to it already? Good. Then it will never expire or incur fees, unless the civilization in which we all tacitly agree to participate ceases normal functioning due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, it might be nice to hold onto it anyway, just as a reminder of ‘what once was.’”

New book idea: Diary of a Grumpy Kid.

Clearly, the most important book of the year.

The Gorgeous Nothings — the first full-color facsimile edition of Emily Dickinson’s manuscripts ever to appear — is a deluxe edition of her late writings, presenting this crucially important, experimental late work exactly as she wrote it on scraps of envelopes. A never-before-possible glimpse into the process of one of our most important poets.The book presents all the envelope writings — 52 — reproduced life-size in full color both front and back, with an accompanying transcription to aid in the reading, allowing us to enjoy this little-known but important body of Dickinson’s writing. Envisioned by the artist Jen Bervin and made possible by the extensive research of the Dickinson scholar Marta L. Werner, this book offers a new understanding and appreciation of the genius of Emily Dickinson. It’s also one of our favorite books of the year.