A Radical Bookstore in Southern Appalachia

February 15th, 2019
A Radical Bookstore in Southern Appalachia

Our co-op was recently interviewed for a profile in Literary Hub. Read all about our favorite books, how we sneak feminism into your reading list, and our fantasy plan to open an anarchist laundromat!

What’s your favorite book to hand-sell?

Jazmin: I’ve talked so many people into buying bell hooks, including her children’s books. You tell a customer that it’s “all about love” and *bam* FEMINISM! You gotta sneak it in there a little bit.

Libertie: We have so many good books to hand-sell, but for me, Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars by Kai Cheng Thom stands out. Both because it’s an incredible book and because I have, as of yet, basically never encountered anyone who has read it. It’s my go-to magical realist queer biography that’s obscure on account of being published by a small press in Canada.

Beck: I’m obsessed with Severance by Ling Ma, and I want to tell everyone about it. I feel like I should be able to say “anti-capitalist horror-satire” and have people fall over themselves to get their hands on this book, but I’m learning that everyone else’s favorite books don’t necessarily fill them with an overwhelming sense of physical and existential dread. If I see Margaret Atwood or Carmen Maria Machado in your hands though, you’re fair game.

Mic: I like to connect Parable of the Sower with Emergent Strategy. It’s a popular title and people either know Adrienne Maree Brown or they’ve heard of her podcast. For me the book connects so strongly to Octavia Butler’s work. When I see people looking at Parable of the Sower, in particular, I encourage them to read Emergent Strategy because it talks about applying some of what the main character is attempting to utilize in their own life.

If you had infinite space what would you add (other than a bar/restaurant)?

Libertie: We used to have a co-operative member who insisted that we open a bowling alley slash laundromat called “Pins & Spins.” Julie started advocating for this back in 2014 when we were looking for a new location and, although it didn’t pan out, they’ve kept their advocacy up very consistently ever since.

Beck: The bowling alley is lost on me, but I am enchanted by the laundromat—so convenient!

Mic: I love laundromats. There’s just so much space with the floor open and the machines along the wall. People could talk about books while folding their laundry. It would dovetail with the bookstore-as-community-space.

Libertie: Somebody did tell me recently that they had a dream in which Firestorm added a shooting range that also served pies. [laughs] Apparently we had a big sign that said “all people deserve affordable access to firearms and pie.” I don’t think that would go over very well with most of our customers.

Read the whole interview at lithub.com.