One Carries On, Another Closes

If you’re a lover of indie bookstores and live in the tri-state area, then you may have heard of Farley’s Bookstore in New Hope, one of the most well-known shops in the Philly area.. Farley’s is unique not only for its rows and rows of fiction and nonfiction books, but also because it has one of the strongest poetry sections around, one which showcases small publishers and independent presses. The shop owners and workers even take the time to write thoughtful reviews on note cards about some of their favorite books from showcased presses.

I have been fortunate to read at Farley’s three or four times over the years, at least once with each book, as recent as last week for Waiting for the Dead to Speak. Each time I have read there, I’ve encountered an engaged audience not only willing to spend money and support writers, but also talk to you about their favorite poets.

I bring up Farley’s because this week, it got some national attention, this nice article in The Guardian. The shop has been operating since the late 1960s, and this attention is much-deserved.

While Farley’s received this recognition, it was also announced this week that RiverReads Books in Binghamton, NY is closing. A staple of the community since the early 2000s, RiverReads has been a hub for literary activity in the college town. The store will shut its doors by Jan. 31, 2017, according to this announcement published on the website by the owners. The owners write, “Our plan was to offer a gathering place for all things literary and artsy, a place to share ideas and converse with the community.  Well, we did just that … in eight years we held almost 900 events.  Planning those events was important because we wanted to offer something for everyone.  We wanted to highlight the very talented local authors, to give them a chance to share their words with those who might never have known about their books. ”

I’m grateful I had the chance to read at RiverReads a few times over the years, first, back in 2011, a few months after my chapbook Front Man was published, and then for a launch party of Harpur Palate, and lastly, a few weeks ago for Waiting for the Dead to Speak. Like Farley’s, RiverReads always managed to draw an engaged crowd interested in poetry. Beyond that, the store stocked a wide array of books.

Let’s hope that Farley’s can keep doing what it’s been doing for the last several decades. Meanwhile, let’s mourn the closing of RiverReads, a much-needed indie bookstore in a city that is still trying to recover economically.If you have an indie bookstore in your community, please, make sure to support it. These places not only are important for authors, but they are a lifeblood and cultural center point for their communities.

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