Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Left Bank Books - St. Louis, MO

The deservedly proud owners of Left Bank Books, Kris Kleindienst (L) and Jarek Steele.  Kudos on a great indie!
I don't know St. Louis well, been there a few times and done the typical attractions.  The zoo, The Arch, a baseball game, and an amusement park.  But I'm telling you this indie needs to move to the top of your St. Louis visit list.  The family can drop you here and come back to pick you up later (haggard and stressed mothers I'm looking at you)!  Yes, if visiting St. Louis from out of town add this to your list of destinations and if you live within an hour or two of St. Louis and haven't been to Left Bank Books yet, shame on you!

This bookstore is located in a very cool, upscale, turn-of-the century type neighborhood.  Majestic, grand houses where you can imagine hearing parlor music from a party drifting out the windows of a 1900s era celebration.  Many quaint little shops and eateries as well.  My advice is to come here and wander.  For you history buffs this is near the location of of the 1904 World's Fair.  And like so many other indies, this bookstore is located in a very old building.

The store itself is bright, neat and well-organized, two levels, lots of books, lots of staff recommendations with their staff review tags, books of local interest, used books in the basement.  Compared to all the other indies I've visited I would define it as medium in size.  They are very active with readings at the store on a frequent basis.  This place has a very positive energy.  There isn't an on-site cafe but go down the street a few blocks to the corner of Maryland and Euclid and have a latte at the Coffee Cartel.

All these wonderful observations aside, the ace of the whole visit were the wonderful owners, Kris Kleindienst and Jarek Steele.  I can't say enough about these two.  They took time from their busy schedule to welcome my mom and myself and talked to us at length about the store and of course many book recommendations.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that these two, along with their two staffers I visited with while there, are the reason this place is a success.  All were so kind, accommodating, and patient to visit with us while we were here.  They were also very generous with a gift of a Left Bank coffee mug and book bag.

And one more thing.  There is a cat wandering the store.  Spike is the resident cat.  A cat in an independent bookstore.  This is so indie.  St. Louis, you need to trample a path to the front door of this place.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir!

JUST FINISHED: Devil In The Grove, Gilbert King.  Chilling.  Brutal.  Unbelievable.  Non-fiction of Florida in the civil rights era with Thurgood Marshall.  5 stars.

CURRENTLY READING:  Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein.  YA (Young Adult Lit).  Hasn't grabbed me yet but I'm just beginning.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Ouch.  Hild, by Nicola Griffith.  On The Come Up, by Hannah Weyer.  Wait Till Next Year, by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  Tell The Wolves I'm Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt.  The Delicacy And Strength Of Lace, edited by Anne Wright.

Left Bank Books in St. Louis on a rainy spring day.

Great window display

L-R, Jarek Steele, yours truly, Kris Kleindienst

Left Bank Books main floor interior  

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