If you’re feeling a little bit like an anachronism, if you find the phrase “teacher’s pet” appealing, and most of all, if you find the presence of books to be soothing to the point of being anesthetizing, then this article is for you. For those of us who think of navy blue hosiery when you hear the phrase “St. Louis Blues” here are a few of the choicer establishments where you can get your fix:
- Left Bank Bookstore. A giant among the St. Louis literary scene, Left Bank Bookstore lives up to its reputation by inviting the great American writers (think Jamaica Kinkaid, Jane Smiley, and David Sedaris) to speak at its store. With its main store located in the Central West End (the other one’s downtown) Left Bank Books takes pride in being locally owned and operated, and has spearheaded several literary initiatives in its neighborhood. In the spirit of famous Parisian bookstores, Left Bank Books also has a resident cat named Spike.
- Subterranean. Located on the Loop on Delmar, Subterranean has recently lost half its size but none of its influence. Here’s a sweet endorsement from yelp.com, “For something like twenty dollars we Gulag enthusiasts were able to find Solzhenitsyn’s unabridged, two-volume, five-thousand-page literary investigation…The loving title-page inscription to the books’ former owner…illustrates the human touch that lends used books their particular charm.”
- Big Sleep. For those of you who love to sleuth their way through a good espionage, detection, or mystery novel, there’s Big Sleep Books on Euclid Ave. Featuring new, used, first editions and signed copies, the Big Sleep has unlocked the mystery of how to run a successful independent bookstore squeezed into the tiniest imaginable space. From Christie to LeCarre to Sherlock Holmes, you’ll surely find something to keep you up all night at the Big Sleep.
- St. Louis Book Fair. If you firmly believe that one man’s trashy novel is another man’s Treasure Island, then the St. Louis Book Fair is for you. This 60 year old event will be held at the West County Center in 2010, beginning April 29th and running through May 2nd. The opening gala holds an auction of rare books. Gently used records, tapes, CDs, DVDs, videos, comics, graphic novels, and of course, books, will all be on sale throughout the event. Proceeds go toward local non-profit education and literacy programs, so you will be doing good while you shop.
If you’re a member of the St. Louis Bluestockings, fly that flag proudly and visit a local, independent bookstore. You’ll be in good company, in the company of books.