I have attended many an event at Nashville’s now-closed Davis-Kidd Booksellers (most memorably a Mockingjay release party), and like everyone else I was really, really sad when the bookstore closed in December.
Last week, I breathed a sigh of relief when the Borders less than a mile from my apartment was not on the closure list. Besides the fact that I appreciate living within walking distance of two bookstores, I also had plans to go hear Daniel J. Sharfstein read from his new book, The Invisible Line. (Sharfstein was originally scheduled to read at Davis-Kidd. He was worried his publicity was cursed!)
I had never been to a store event at this particular Borders, but I am happy to report that there were so many people in attendance that some had to sit on the floor. Sharfstein’s book traces the history of three African-American families who chose to cross the color line and pass for white. In his talk last night, the author argued that these three complex stories are representative of America’s story, where the construction of race and racial identity is anything but clear-cut.
As Sharfstein answered questions on judicial processes in the Jim Crow South and how genealogical research has given meaning to people’s lives (like when a person who’d identified as white her entire life found out her ancestors had been slaves), I was struck by how valuable bookstore readings are. Twitter chats, the features on enhanced e-books and book trailers are all really snazzy, but nothing beats actually talking to the author.
Are you interested in The Invisible Line? Have you been to any inspiring bookstore events lately?