BEST BOOKSTORE FOR NEW BOOKS (1998)
In recent years, this store has been nearly overshadowed by its reputation--as a book review, a dining spot, and an independent bastion against corporate encroachment. That this little empire was built on a plainly great bookstore can almost slip the mind. So let's acknowledge the obvious: Hungry Mind continues to bring an intimate and unparalleled knowledge of books to its stock. The sales staff are proven bibliophiles; just check out their recommendation tags on nearly every shelf. It's a passion largely absent in the chain outposts that make their trade the efficient transfer of cat calendars from manufacturer to consumer. A closing anecdote: Last time Studs Terkel was in town to read poetry on A Prairie Home Companion, the august writer and historian made a last-minute decision that he needed a Stephen Crane poem for the broadcast. He sent an errand boy to a store he knew would stock Crane's collected works. "Could you go to the Hungry Mind?" he requested. "I don't have any cash on me, but tell them I'll return the book later." Yes, reader: Hungry Mind is a store where the name Studs Terkel is good at the register.