Make This Your Most Literary Month Ever
When temperatures start to drop for the season, there’s nothing we love to do more than crank up the heat and curl up with a good book. But does being a bibliophile mean you have to hole up and stop going out? Not if you live in St. Louis, which is home to more year-round literary events than just about any other heartland city—and with fall publishing season in full force, there’s more to do in The Lou this November than ever.
Here are three venues and four events all word-lovers should be sure to check out before Thanksgiving.
1. Celebrate 50 years of Left Bank Books.
When any small business lasts for half a century, it’s a major milestone. An independent bookstore doing it is something of a miracle—and when you consider the astonishing legacy that Left Bank Books has built over the last five decades, it’s truly a triumph for the whole region. Left Bank commemorated its semicentennial at an Oct. 25 party where it revealed a 50th anniversary t-shirt and a line of gorgeous prints featuring Spike, the beloved late bookstore cat; you can still buy both in-store, along with the largest and best-curated selection of books of any indie in the St. Louis region, lovingly hand-sold by a highly trained staff. (Seriously, if you’ve haven’t asked one of the booksellers for a recommendation lately, give yourself a treat and let them be your book-whisperers.)
Left Bank is keeping the celebrations going through November with a seriously star-studded range of author events both in store and across town. Our top picks? Lindy West, the author behind brilliant memoir-turned-TV-series “Shrill,” will debut her new book of feminist cultural critique, “The Witches Are Coming,” at a ticketed event at .ZACK on Nov. 13. And two days later, you can catch New York Times-bestselling author Kevin Wilson, whose novel “The Family Fang” was adapted into a great Nicole Kidman movie of the same name, with a free event in support of his new novel, “Nothing to See Here,” on Nov. 15 at High Low. (Catch his Fresh Air interview and get psyched.)
2. Take a pilgrimage to STL’s newest literary hotspot.
While it hasn’t quite had its big opening yet, The Kranzberg Arts Foundation has been quietly building something pretty cool in Midtown over the last few months: High Low, a dedicated literary arts space for St. Louis writers and readers to call their own. With plans to feature a full-service coffee shop perfect for caffeinating while you pound out that novel revision, as well as a library, event space and offices for a writer-in-residence program and bookish nonprofits of all sorts, High Low Literary Arts Café promises to bring many of the region’s literary luminaries and the supporters who sustain them together under one roof.
And if you’re dying for a sneak peek, you’ll have a few chances to check it out this month. In addition to teaming up with Left Bank Books to serve as the venue for the Nov. 15 Kevin Wilson event, this month will also see High Low open its doors to launch legendary lit mag December’s newest issue on Nov. 17. And, of course, songwriters are welcome, too; you can catch country favorite Erin Ederlin there on Nov. 22, fresh off a performance at the Grand Ole Opry and with an arsenal of sharply drawn, lyrically lush songs to share.
3. Go off the beaten literary path at PSA:.
If you’re in the mood for a more unconventional literary experience, it’s time to take a trip to the Marine Villa neighborhood. There, you’ll find the PSA: public art site, an outdoor art installation project coordinated by Guided: St. Louis favorites Marina Peng and Shannon Levin designed to “confront and challenge the notion of ‘public good.'”
Featuring a revolving selection of text-based work from artists and writers from around the region, the current iteration of PSA:features the work of Guided’s own Jacqui Germain, and her message for St. Louis passersby is an urgent call to love in a time of both turmoil and unrestrained empire. Head on over to the installation site (2222 Chippewa Ave.) to see it for yourself through December, and keep an eye on the site for messages from more featured writers and artists in the coming year. (Or, I guess, you could just check out the Instagram feed … but what fun is that?)
Featured image courtesy of Attilio D’Agostino.