If you like reading, dogs and a good glass of wine, you have a lot in common with Mary Beth Nebel, owner of I Know You Like a Book in Peoria Heights. Born in Chicago and raised in Niles, Nebel came downstate to attend college and law school at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. A job offer from RLI brought her to Peoria in 1988, and after years of dreaming of opening her own independent bookstore, she took early retirement in 2006 and did just that.

  1. What’s your favorite book? How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn. My Dad had me check it out of the library when I was 12 years old, and when I finished each chapter, he and I would discuss what I read. Those discussions are part of my favorite memories.
  2. Which author, dead or alive, would you most like to meet? I’d love to meet David Sedaris (for great laughs) and Anna Quindlen (for her beautiful writing style).
  3. What was your childhood dream job? When I was six, I wanted to be a telephone operator, but by age 13, I wanted to be a lawyer.
  4. My life won’t be complete until I…visit Italy. It’s next on my wish list.
  5. What’s one thing you should throw away but haven’t? My big, yellow stuffed chair and ottoman. It’s faded, torn and doesn’t go with my decor, but it’s a great reading chair.
  6. What is your favorite retreat? I’m blessed to have two great sisters. Visiting both of them is my favorite retreat; it’s perfect comfort.
  7. What is something that always brings a smile to your face? When young people get books at the store—you can see the delight and the anticipation on their faces. 
  8. The one TV show I don’t usually tell people I watch is…I love watching Glee. Sometimes I sing along.
  9. Who has had the greatest impact on your life? My parents have had the greatest impact on my life because they showed me the value of family.
  10. What’s your favorite aspect of central Illinois? Peoria Heights. I feel lucky to have a store here in this vibrant community. I’m a huge advocate for independent businesses, and the Heights is the perfect place to combine unique shopping and dining with beautiful surroundings. a&s