The Washington Post recently reported on a National Endowment for the Arts study that found American adults aren't reading (novels, short stories, poetry or plays) like they used to.
Suffice it to say, that's kind of a bummer. What can we do about this?
- You're reading this, so presumably you're in the empathetic and long-living minority, so this one might be moot: keep reading!
- Give books as gifts! And not just any old book either. The books you give are a reflection not simply of what you think of somebody else (about their tastes, interests, etc.), but of how you want them to think of you. Book-giving is serious business, which is why we're trained professionals who can help.
- Talk to others about what you're reading! Look, everybody is watching Stranger Things, okay? That conversation is going going to peeter out before the steam on your coffee. The chats about the emotional depths of Laia Jufresa's storytelling in Umami or the ambitious density of Mauro Javier Cardenas' The Revolutionaries Try Again . . . those are going to get you very caffeinated.
- Tell us what you think! Didn't like a book, let us know and our suggestion algorithm (aka, listening skills + knowledge about books) will adapt accordingly. Loved a book, we definitely want to hear that.
- Get involved! Attending author readings/conversations is a great reminder that no matter your tastes, there's a community of people who share it (in all sorts of wild, weird, wonderful ways).
Aaron is one of our brand-new booksellers in Oakland, and he has a thing or two -- many more than that, even -- about international literature. When he's not at the store, you might find him in conversation with the likes of Jennifer Makumbi or Carmen Boullosa, or writing insightful commentary and reviews for OkayAfrica on books like Hisham Matar's The Return.
"Indeed, his novels are so close to his own life that at one point in The Return—as the two are boarding a plane to Libya—his mother asks a “mischievous question,” as he calls it: “Who’s returning? Suleiman el-Dewani or Nuri el-Alfi?” These are the names of the protagonists of his two novels, fictional versions of Matar himself that—in his mother’s very serious joke—were suddenly brought to life. After a life spent dreaming about return, and in his fiction, trying to imagine the truth of his lost father, The Return is Hisham Matar coming face to face with reality—or trying to—but finding it to be as ambiguous and depthless as any novel, an ocean without a floor."
Mr. John Evans himself took to the NPR airwaves with some summer reading guidance!
Mondays are one of Brad's days off, but that won't stop him from bookselling! Today's installment of "A Bookseller at Home" features Joy Williams' short story collection, Ninety-Nine Stories of God.
An added bonus this week: Joy Williams herself will be reading at the store in Oakland on Tuesday, July 19th at 7pm! Suffice it to say, I think, we're pretty excited!
We must figure out ways (because there will be many) not simply to say -- but demand -- that black lives matter.