Walrus Publishing, Inc.

Meet the Young Literati of St. Louis

by Diana Davis

Sarah Pritchard

Sarah Pritchard had a brilliant, infectious smile as she welcomed me, as well as the group of young professionals who meandered in, to the Swap Meet last Tuesday at The Schlafly Tap Room on 2100 Locust Street where “The Young Literati” meet the second Tuesday of every month from 6 to 8 pm.  Sarah is a development associate with the St. Louis Public Library Foundation.  She is our host for “The Young Literati” gathering. “The Young Literati” is part of the  Friends of the St. Louis Public Library Foundation:

 

Here are the planned Swaps for the coming months:

  • 9 October – Paranormal books are the theme; if you don’t have one, bring any book to toss in the pile and take home one that sounds good to you.
  • 13 November – The Cookbook exchange; bring one or two you don’t want anymore.  Take home books of new recipes for the holidays!
  • 11 December – Bring a white elephant for a gift exchange.  Try to select an item pertaining to books or reading, but something unusual.

As Sarah was giving me the list of upcoming meetings, the young folks who had followed me in placed their contributions to the book swap on the tables, then moved to the bar for a beverage and a snack, greeting people they knew and introducing themselves to those they did not.  The conversation was easy with the talk focusing on the books they brought for the swap and just catching up.  The whole atmosphere was warm and welcoming.

After talking a bit with Sarah, I met Christa Kagy who works at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater St. Louis as an events manager and fundraiser. She enjoys “The Young Literati” meetings because they are so laid-back; Of course, discussing books over a beer makes it even better.

This Tuesday was her second attendance. Her friend, Nick Bergin, had invited her. He works at an investment company and loves going to the old library (currently under renovation). “I like to read, and I enjoy the social evening with interesting people.” He had brought in Honeymoon with my Brother by Franz Wisner, a memoir about a guy who was dumped days before his large wedding. Since everything had been paid for and guests were already en route, he hosted a wedding weekend sans bride with his friends and took his brother with him on his deluxe Costa Rican honeymoon. The experience greatly affected their lives, but you’ll have to read the book to see how.

Jeremy Noland, from the St. Louis Public Library Foundation’s Steering Committee was also at the Tap Room.  He is employed at the Board of Elections for St. Louis City. Earlier that day, he had been busy working and getting ready for his own wedding this coming weekend in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee.  His bride-to-be, Carrie O’Donnell, was out of town so he decided to pop by to relax a bit before returning home to pack.   He brought Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt to exchange. It is a thought-provoking story about impoverished children growing up in Ireland in the 1930’s, days when some of the children didn’t survive long enough to grow up. The book won the Pulitzer Prize. Being a fan of Frank McCourt, I snagged that one for myself.

Emily Kryzer, an adjunct at St. Louis University where she teaches English as a Second Language, introduced herself next. She was with with her sister, Ali. They ordered a beer apiece and a veggie burger to share. Emily said she’s been attending for over a year. “I was introduced to this group through my boyfriend, Chad, and I love it. You get to pick up a new book and drop off another book you’ve tried.”

Her sister, Ali, an anthropology major at SLU, also enjoys these Tuesday nights.  “It’s a really nice outlet connected to the city. Coming here gives me a break from campus life and it gives me some insights into life in St. Louis. After growing up in Wichita, Kansas, this is a more diverse population, and I’m really enjoying it.” Ali had brought in, STING, a memoir by the rock star.

Next I met Robert West, a law student from SLU.  This was his first visit to the Swap Meet.  He grew up in West County, but now lives in the city, so was out and about to meet people.  He had brought, Losing my Religion by William Dobdell, about a guy who lost his formal religion and found inner peace.

I also met Bradley Doerhoff from Charter Communications who brought More Civil War Curiosities by Webb Garrison and left with The Enchanted Emporium by Tanya Huff among several others.  There was also Elizabeth Dalton, a member of the Army National Guard, who shared that her parents own a real haunted house in Arkansas. (For additional information on it, go to www.pumpkinhollow.com).

It was a fun evening. I loved meeting everyone, and I never turn down an opportunity to get a new book to read. If you’d like to join in the crowd, no reservation is necessary. On October 9th, just proceed to the Schlafly Tap Room between 6 and 8 p.m. and locate Sarah. She’ll be in the North Bar – the lady with the big smile standing behind a couple tables full of books! If you have one, bring it to place in the pile. Treat yourself to one or two, as well. Happy conversing and happy reading!

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