Thanks to the efforts of the fine author Sherman Alexie, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is now known as "Indies First" day. On "Indies First" day, authors volunteer their time at independent bookstores all over the country. We "mix-and-mingle" with customers shopping for books for themselves and for gifts for the holiday season. The authors participate in this wonderful event because "brick and mortar" independent bookstores are one of our true treasures, and we'd all like to help support them in all ways possible. In an era when more and more book sales are taking place via electronic means, we should all be helping the "brick and mortar" stores keep prospering and offering book lovers a glorious haven in which to browse books and visit with other readers.
I've been asked to participate in "Indies First" at Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Missouri. Left Bank Books is, truly, one of the finest independent booksellers in America. It is located in downtown St. Louis in the Central West End district, just a rock throw from the historic Forest Park area. In short, it is in a *perfect* location for lovers of books and history. I'll attach a picture of the outside of Left Bank Books to this note.
In addition to touting my own books with the customers, I've been asked to recommend a few other titles, especially titles of books I feel would make good holiday gifts. I have to admit my list is rather skewed toward authors who are friends of mine and those I greatly admire, but ALL of these titles would be on my "must-read" list for the upcoming holidays and beyond. Here are the titles I'll be talking about with customers at Left Bank Books on "Indies First" day, which this year is November 29:
**Of course, my new book, Ain't No Harm to Kill the Devil.
**The Accursed, by Joyce Carol Oates (I believe this is her best yet).
**Blasphemy, by Sherman Alexie (a short story collection - and a darn fine one).
**T. C. Boyle Stories II, by T. C. Boyle (an "elegant" collection of short stories).
The Valley of Amazement, by Amy Tan (I also believe this to be her best story to date. I actually like
it better than Joy Luck Club).
**Gray Mountain, by John Grisham (a tad different from a master of interwoven scenes).
**Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand (and the movie comes out Christmas Day in most places).
So, those are my "holiday suggestions" for folks. If you haven't read these, definitely put them on your list!
If you are in the area on "Indies First" day, please stop in Left Bank Books and say hi -- and help support our great independent booksellers!