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What Would Jane Read? Episode 18: LFL at Art & Glass Studio, Wheaton, Illinois

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What Would Jane Read, Episode 18
...in Which Action Figure Jane Austen Visits
an Indoor Little Free Library in a Chicago Suburb,
Admires Art Glass, and Makes a New Friend


Action Figure Jane Austen and I have been busy this month on two separate trips to the midwestern United States. You may remember that Jane once said, “Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort.” While she often longs momentarily for her beloved south of England, Jane has begun to enjoy traveling, no doubt helped by modern conveniences such as cars, interstates, and rest stops with sanitary facilities.

The first of our two midwestern road trips this month was to Chicago. Before we drove into the city, we spent a night with my longtime friend Cindy, in the charming suburb of Wheaton, Illinois.
P1350611 LFL Hallway, cropped 40%.jpg
Cindy and I have been friends since we were 12, and Jane was intrigued by the fact that Cindy lives alone, in her own apartment in a subdivided house. Jane was shocked to hear the other tenants of the house (who live in separate apartments) are all men. That would have been completely scandalous in her own day. But Jane tries to take a modern viewpoint, and later confessed to envying us our 21st-century social mores and freedoms.

Wheaton is a lovely suburb with an old-fashioned downtown area. In fact, it quite reminded me of my own neighborhood of Del Ray.

Cindy was surprised to hear that her town is a hotbed of Little Free Library activity, and accompanied Action Figure Jane and I as we visited many of these literary treasure troves that day, some of them within walking distance of Cindy's home, though she'd never noticed them before. Before long, Cindy developed an eagle eye for spotting them, and would keep a lookout for the ones on our list as I drove the car.
P1350614 Bookcase LFL, cropped 40%.jpg
The closest was an indoor Little Free Library that's not officially registered with the website. We didn't realize it was indoors, and couldn't find it when we went by the address the night before. The next morning we tried again, and found it in a wide corridor in kind of a mini-mall, just off the main road of the downtown section. The LFL consisted of a bookcase in an alcove outside the entrance to an art studio filled with gorgeous prints, art glass pieces, and stained-glass windows. In the photo, it's on the left, in the white-paneled alcove, across from the entrance to the studio.

We stepped into Art & Glass Studio, coveted the artwork, and had a nice chat with the owner, who started the Little Free Library because he had a lot of extra books around, and wanted to share them with the community. Then we perused the books. Jane donated a copy of Northanger Abbey. And instead of selecting a book for herself, Jane suggested that Cindy take one. Cindy made an excellent choice: she took The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd, and later told me she liked it very much.

We had many Little Free Libraries to visit that day (and, maybe more important, many restaurants to choose from for lunch) so we could not stay for long. We took some more pictures, including the one of Cindy, to commemorate her first Little Free Library visit ever. (Like Action Figure Jane, she was wearing pink that day.) Then left the Little Free Library at Art & Glass, and continued our quest.

P1350610 LFL with Cindy, cropped 40%.jpg


PAST TRAVELS WITH JANE:

#17 Homewood, IL - #14784
#16 Lafayette, IN - #5514
#15 Taylors, SC - #12893
#14 Greenville, SC - #1368
#13 Baltimore, MD - #9459
#12 Baltimore, MD - #1521
#11 Kings Mountain, NC - #5009
#10 Spartanburg, SC - #12365
#9 Alexandria, VA - #10924
#8 Simpsonville, SC - #9761
#7 Alexandria, VA - not numbered
#6 Alexandria, VA - #4289
#5 Kannapolis, NC - #7277
#4 Newark, DE - #5837
#3 Arlington, VA - #10419
#2 Alexandria, VA - #5491
#1 Alexandria, VA (my own LFL) - #9136