Wednesday, May 16, 2012

10 Cool Things: Left Bank Books

So last week I (Liz) was moving, and I didn't manage to post anything to the blog.  I'm sorry.  I have no excuse.  To make amends, though, we're featuring a new bookstore.  Here you go--10 cool things about a St. Louis institution that isn't either beer, the Arch, or the (expletive) Cardinals.  

(Gianna) I want everyone to sit down. I am about to write some pretty great things about St. Louis. That’s right, St. Louis, home of my arch enemy in baseball. I would like to think that I am a big enough person to put these
A bench needs a great reading quote from Frederick Douglass.  
things aside. Turns out I'm not, so Liz has agreed to delete any negative comments about the Cardinals. Go Cubs! [I will not.  Cardinals are the flesh-eating bacterium of the National League.]

1. You may think that you have a pretty good idea what your local bookseller is like, but chances are you’re wrong. Thanks to the Left Bank website which profiles their booksellers in-depth (think Cronkite), we get a closer look. Daniel misses his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle slippers, April believes that George C. Scott would best play her in a movie of her life [I think the same is true for Gianna, actually], Erin is brave enough to admit that the author she loves to hate is Mitch Albom (get in line Erin…get in line), and Jonesey loves to hate John Kennedy Toole which makes Liz very happy [so incredibly Jonesey single?]. And then there is our favorite bookseller finding. When asked what was in the trunk of his car, Stu answered, “Books, I have soooo many books, which is distressing because I no longer have anywhere to put bodies.” It's funny because it’s the Midwest. [I'd put Pujols in my trunk, which is why it's just as well I drive a Jeep.]
Fun people, cool store merchandise,
and "we're the gayest store ever."

2. You have nothing to do? You live in St. Louis and you’re bored? You must be stoned, brother! Just in May alone you could have met Madeleine Albright, Alison Bechdel, John Sanford, pitcher John Smoltz [not a Cardinal], and Vanessa Williams. And PS…the month ain't even over.

3. They have a lesbian reading group! [This is what we could Gianna's surreptitious reading of Fifty Shades of  I stand corrected.]

Thanks for the warning. I'm sure the Mayans were aware
of this possibility too.
4. Oh, they have a gay dude reading group too. Man, lesbians can’t have anything for themselves…except Ellen.

5. Left Bank has a very cool “Friends of Left Bank Literary Society” (which sounds like something Dan Brown may write about one day). For a modest membership fee you are privy to year-round discounts, two private book sales per year and that’s not all, friends. You will also be invited to private receptions with authors. We’re not talking just any old authors either. We are talking Anothony Bourdain and David Sedaris types. Can’t get that at Amazon when you buy a waffle maker and a book. [I think "waffle maker" is a euphemism for a "The Anti-Christ is a Cardinals fan!" bumper sticker.]

6. Like any good independent business, Left Bank has a close knit relationship with the community. Oh, and Jarek as lunch with the mayor at least once a week.

David Sedaris street party!
7. Open since 1969 bitches!! The opening of Left Bank Books was the single biggest news story of 1969. Well, that and the landing on the moon. Oh, sorry, I mean the supposed landing on the moon. Of course there are those that say the opening of Left Bank was actually filmed in a Hollywood studio. Something to do with shadows and wind. The second location opened in 2008 downtown, with no such controversy.

Hillary Rodham Clinton!  I'm sure she was
"greeted" properly when she walked in.
8. This store is truly unique. Here is an example. Owners Jarek and Kris personally greet each customer with a light but meaningful peck on the cheek. And by cheek I mean mouth. I usually go to the store three times to mix it up.

T.S. Eliot lived in St. Louis.
He gets a statue.
9. You only go places Yelp approves of? Don’t blame you. Left Bank has 4 1/2  stars out of 5. I assume Kris got a little handsy during her customer greeting shift mentioned above. That may have ended up costing 1/2 star. It could also be the only reason they got 4 1/2 stars too. Can’t be certain.

Spike, bookstore cat, named one of the
best bookstore cats in the country,
and the official bookstore cat of
Book Expo this year.
10. Lastly they have an excellent and active Facebook page (unlike ours). "Like" their page and you will find excellent musings such as this:

Kindle Commercial "It's only $79 AND it reads just like a real paper book."
Left Bank Books Commercial idea #431 "It's only 14.95 and it IS a real paper book."


  1. The store "greeting" gets better if you purchase a Friends of Left Bank Books membership.

  2. John Smoltz was a Cardinal!!!

  3. In 21 years in major league baseball, John Smoltz pitched 38 innings for the Cardinals, the equivalent of just over 4 games. 38 innings out of 3,473. That's 1% of his career. I've rooted for the Cards more than 4 games (in the World Series since they're the NL team).

  4. My greeting on Saturday was a Joss-Whedonverse-centric review of Avengers. Which I dig.

  5. I love this bookstore. The owners and staff are fabulous. They REALLY love books!!! This bookstore supports our local community by generously donating time, books, space and enthusiasm to charitable and civic events and causes. The two locations provide delightful havens in our urban neighborhoods. Yet, these stores do so much more. By bringing interesting authors and hosting unique literary events, Left Bank Books and its owners and staff foster cultural life, public dialogue, and social interaction. Sure, you can stay home and download books and become a hermit; Left Bank Books, however, celebrates our human connection and enriches our lives by cajoling, tickling, engaging, challenging, and inspiring us to read, to think, and to share. In exploring that humanity, we find what is divine! Bravo LBB.