Two exceptional mystery bookstores will be honored with the 2011 Raven Award. ... Once Upon a Crime, in Minneapolis, MN, and Centuries & Sleuths in Chicago, IL, will receive recognition for their contribution to the mystery community.
Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore was named one of the Ten Best Bookstores in Chicago by the Chicago Tribune. Many customers have tagged the owner, Augie Alesky, as the coolest bookseller in Chicago. "I have always wanted a Raven. The mystery community is such a great place,” Alesky said upon hearing the news.
The store has hosted hundreds of author readings and talks, with both new and established writers. Augie’s programs are innovative, including mock trials, debates, and numerous “Meeting of Minds” programs similar to the PBS series. In fact, from the very first days of opening, actors and then authors themselves were encouraged to dress in period costumes to illustrate and dramatize a book. Centuries & Sleuths was nominated for the American Booksellers Association “Bookseller of the Year” award in 2008. The store marks its 20th Anniversary this year.Augie is indeed a very cool and happy guy with an infectious laugh. Here he is, looking unusually serious:
|Augie, minus Raven Award but plus Pericles Commission|
And here's the first thing I saw when I arrived at the store:
|The lovely display in the front window when I arrived. All the books around it are to do with Ancient Greece|
Chicago was notable for meeting two other fantastic people: Judy Bobalik who is a serial Bouchercon organizer -- and you can't get much more insane than that -- and Merry Monteleone. Merry was present at the grand event now known as The Strange Case of the Missing Gary, and has been following my publishing adventures ever since. It was terrific to meet one of the veterans of the Gary-gets-published saga!