In his hometown of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Emmet Jamieson has to drive more than an hour to reach the nearest bookstore. In Evanston, he only has to walk 15 minutes to reach one.
“It’s a really liberating feeling,” he said. “It makes me want to read more.”
In an online survey with 38 respondents, 65% of cherubs said they visited an Evanston bookstore during the program. Options range from Market Fresh Books, a secondhand shop that prices books by weight, to Bookends & Beginnings, a small indie bookstore with handwritten recommendations, to Barnes & Noble.
Isabel Chambers of Burlingame, California, felt homesick for the first few days of cherubs. But reading on the second floor of Barnes & Noble helped her adjust.
“I hadn’t been to Evanston or Chicago before, so I liked spending time in there because it reminded me of home,” she said.
Chambers also found a valuable source in Barnes & Noble for the interviewing assignment. The two ended up speaking for two hours after the interview. Chambers said the sense of familiarity in the store helped her feel comfortable talking with a stranger.
Talia Abrahamson of Los Angeles bought a gift at Market Fresh Books. She passed a sidewalk sale and spotted “The Mullet: Hairstyle of the Gods” for 99 cents. She thought of her uncle, a former cherub and Medill graduate who had a mullet in the ’90s and decided to purchase the book for him.
“I figured that this had a lot of sentimental meaning behind it because not only did it come from Evanston, his alma mater town, but it also honors his mullet hairstyle,” she said.
Gabrielle Khoriaty of Boca Raton, Florida, has a Barnes & Noble near her house but not an indie bookstore like Bookends & Beginnings. She said the “homey” atmosphere made it fun to browse.
“Reading has always been really important to me,” she said. “It should be important to any journalist because, whether you’re reading fiction or nonfiction, you’re reading stories.”
Jamieson said the Evanston bookstores were a really positive part of his cherub experience, particularly because books connect his passions in the past to his interests now.
“I read with my mom since I was super young,” Jamieson said. “Words are just something that helps me understand the world better. It’s one reason I got into journalism — to produce words to help other people understand the world.”