Just because spring break has been the preserve of college kids eager to break free of frazzled parents left home to ponder the trouble they’re getting into, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the thawing of C-U by declaring your own spring break. Bringing a good book along is an essential spring break tradition. Here are some book shopping options, as well as a few classic titles that deserve another look.


The Literary: This is Mecca for multi-taskers: a bookstore partnering with a bakery that caters to the sensibilities of women who want it all. Founded by sisters during the pandemic, The Literary is the venue we would move into if they had beds. Find it at 122 North Neil Street.
 
Jane Addams Bookshop: Every legitimate town needs a bookshop that’s awash in history and ambience and Jane Addams is it. Local authors love introducing their new publications at this venue, located at 208 North Neil Street. Come for the books and gifts. Stay for the atmosphere.
 
FriendShop Bookstore. Let’s say you forgot to renew your library card and you’d like to save bucks on gently used literary treasures. Head for the Champaign Public Library’s lower level (200 West Green Street) where your hunt for books, CDs, and movies is as enticing as finding an out of print gem.
 
Orphans Treasure Box BookstoreTucked away in an office strip just off North Prospect (826 Pioneer Drive), this is a used bookstore that takes your donated books then sells them in their online store. Browse and purchase from your couch, then take advantage of free curbside pickup. The store employs women who've experienced homelessness, poverty, drug addiction, and domestic violence. 
 
College Composition: Don’t let the name scare you. There won’t be an exam – multiple choice or essay – required to purchase from this Urbana retailer located at 1111 West Kenyon Road. Not far from the Urbana Country Club and Busey Woods, you can trade tush time for roaming or golfing to stay fit and enlightened.
 
Illini Union Bookstore: Authoritative times required by profs are all in stock and if your copy of  Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice went missing, find a replacement at 809 South Wright Street. While you're in the neighborhood, why not revisit some of your favorite undergrad haunts?
 
‘Tis College Books Store: Located at 2000 North Neil in the Market Place Mall, this unassuming shop has no website, but you could sleuth out books that aren’t found on other bookstore shelves. Already heading to neighboring Walmart, Meijer, or Sam’s Club? Even if a good read eludes you, at least you won't come home without the Cat Chow.
 
Priceless Books: located at 108 Main Street in Urbana, is a favorite of those who agree that “no one can put a price on a good book.” Buy, sell, or trade books, CDs and DVDs you’d like to get rid of so you can buy more. Read Yelp reviews to assess the shop’s sensibilities.
 
Barnes & Noble: No clue who either Barnes or Noble were, but this national chain is headquartered in the Marketview Shopping Center at 65 East Market View Drive. If you prefer chains to personality-filled book boutiques, grab the power of this syndicate to sleuth out the must-read you’ve been eager to get your hands on.
 
Don’t forget your public library, avid readers. Not only do C-U libraries and branches house the mother lode of love and scandal but since your tax dollars went into acquiring all this largesse, get the card that admits you to media Valhalla. 
 
******
 
Pride and PrejudiceWatching the film doesn’t count. This 200+ year old book remains “the ultimate happily after” tale spiced with humor, hypocrisy, scandal, and unrequited love.
 
Pride and Prejudice Remix: An original romance infused with class wars and cultural pride. This sociological study, masquerading as fiction, elevates teen Afro-Latino angst to an art form.
 
Edenbrook: Julianne Donaldson’s escape read shows how Plan B comes to the rescue when a highway dude most woman would run from captures Marianne’s heart. Yes, travel is good for the soul.
 
Wuthering Heights: Emily Brontë’s lone romance novel is a doozy. Brooding landscape is palpable as two men vie for the love of one woman. How does this love triangle end? Sorry. No spoilers for you.
 
Ayesha at Last: Uzma Jalaluddin’s tale of a contemporary Islamic woman is a saga laden with rumors and backstabbing. Hold on to your hijab. Ayesha’s journey and her fate will surprise you.
 
Against the Tide: Hot romance and Christianity? Ask Elizabeth Camden fans. This tale unfolds in the opium-drenched 1800s when Lydia Pallas meets a hunky Naval dude who had us breathing heavily by the end.
 
The Enchanted April. Elizabeth von Arnim takes readers on the ultimate girlfriend vaca when four friends get the keys to a medieval Italian castle. Amore descends at the speed of light. It’s Sex and the City with a side of pizza.
 
Emma: She’s baaaack; Jane Austen, that is. She wants readers to know that contentment and bliss doesn’t require a man giving single chicks more free time to butt into everyone else’s business. Had social media existed, Emma would have been an influencer on steroids.

Top photo by Sam Logan.