Oh, How I Miss Indie Bookstores

As I write this blog, it’s about 1 a.m. on a Thursday night. I just returned from doing a reading at Farley’s Bookshop in New Hope, PA, outside Philly. By far, Farley’s is one of my favorite bookstores that I’ve read at. Its fiction and non-fiction collections are extensive, and it has a decent poetry selection, far better than what you find in Books-a-Million or Barnes ‘N Noble. Even better, Farley’s showcases several indie poetry/fiction presses, including TriQuarterly Books, Hanging Loose Press, and Press 53. They have walls and walls of books on display from indie publishers. I have yet to visit another bookstore in PA that does that.

The poetry reading itself had an attentive audience that asked several quesions during the Q & A session, mostly regarding the writing process and some about publishing. If you live in the Philly area, you should check out the featured poetry readings. They take place every first Thursday of the month from 8-10 p.m. Following the featured reader, there is a limited open mic. The organizer, Bernadette McBride, does a wonderful job keeping the reading series going throughout the year.

Browsing Farley’s bookshelves made me miss the indie bookstores we used to have in NEPA, including Tutor and Anthology New and Used Books, both long gone. When they were around, they hosted a lot of workshops, open mics, and featured readings. Like Farley’s, these spaces kept the local writing scene alive, and they were especially important in allowing young writers to share their work and get feedback.

After the reading, I was happy to see that Farley’s had several customers browsing and buying books. I hope the store continues to draw a lot of customers because it’s a real asset to the community.

Now it’s time to get some sleep!

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