Cruisin’ the Local Indies
by Tif Sweeney
On Saturday, October 22, I had the pleasure of participating in the second Independent Bookstore Cruise sponsored by the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance (SLIBA). Back in May, the first ever cruise took place, selling out in record time and beginning some bookish relationships beyond compare. During the first cruise, four bookstores were featured, including Puddn’Head Books, Left Bank Books, Subterranean Books, and Main Street Books. This time around town, cruise-goers had the pleasure of mingling with a multitude of local authors at four different locations: Sue’s News, The Book House, Rebounds Used Books & Teacher Supply, and Rose’s Bookhouse.
The day began at Sue’s News located in the St. Louis Galleria Mall. As participants arrived, we wandered around the store browsing books and chatting with authors strategically placed among the shelves. A few of the authors I had the joy of speaking more extensively to were Scott L. Miller, author of The Interrogation Chair, and Paul Cook, Y98 radio personality and author of Floyd & the Future Frog. My time flew by through chats about the publishing world and writing to specific audiences, and before I knew it, I was leaving with only a quick hello on the way out the door to one of my favorite locals, Susan McBride.
We were then chartered in style to our next location, The Book House, complete with tour guide, trivia, and random facts about the day’s featured treasures. It was not long before we pulled up before a beautiful home literally filled from floor to ceiling with books. A number of authors were featured, including Judy Moresi and M.R. Sellars, among others; unfortunately, I got lost among the stacks, exploring the nooks and crannies. It was lunchtime before I had a chance to chat in detail with the writers.
As part of the cruise, we ventured across the street to Hacienda Mexican Restaurant for a literary lunch. It was perfect timing after all the explorations of the morning! I needed more fuel for the adventures to come. After a little down-time and an all-you-can-eat buffet style meal, it was time to move on to our next tour stop: Rebounds Used Books & Teacher Supply. Once again, we were greeted by more local authors, but this time with a twist. Each of the authors took a few minutes to discuss their works and read an excerpt from their books. From a self-help workbook to a modern day horror and then a historical fiction, the diverse crowd of attendees was sure to find something to suit them.
Our final stop brought a rush of mixed emotions, saddened from knowing that the day was coming to a close, and affirmation and inspiration from the strong literary community surrounding me. Thankfully, Rose’s Bookhouse did not disappoint, but rather was the perfect ending to the day. Another great line-up of authors awaited us, including Angie Sage Larson, Jennifer Jakes, Richard Oliver Snelson, and more. My final browsing of the meticulously organized shelves left my bags full to the brim and my own bookcases overflowing!
Though the second cruise did not bring the crowd that the first did, it was still a fun-filled day and a great way to connect with the local literary community from multiple angles . . . authors, bookstores, and fellow readers. At this time, not all members of the SLIBA have been featured on a cruise and there is talk of doing another. If and when they do, I will gladly join in and will hope to connect with you there!
I leave you with a few random facts about the featured bookstores from the cruise:
- Sue’s News: In honor of the owner’s wife who lost her battle to breast cancer, a portion of all sales are donated to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization.
- The Book House: If you are in the mood for the spooky season, this bookstore boasts of the live-in ghosts among the 300,000 used titles.
- Rebounds Used Books & Teacher Supply: You can find more than just used books here, but also classroom supplies, sheet music, and adorable bookworm bookends.
- Rose’s Bookhouse: If you love romance, Rose’s will be your destination as it houses the largest selection in the area.
Don’t forget to also check out some of our other local author coverage, including:
- A Night with Women’s Fiction
- John Lutz discusses his latest novel, Serial
- Susan McBride and her Little Black Dress