How Do I Love Talking Leaves (this is a blog, not a sonnet)
July 26, 2016
Let me share some ways:
--independent bookstores (synonym: heaven) excite me. Talking Leaves on Main Street* across from my grandfather’s 1920s-30s tailor shop, and my old stomping grounds: University of Buffalo’s original campus, Parkside Candy, the Granada Movie Theater, and the University Plaza with a W.T. Grants where my mother bought me my turtle, Myrtle, is the realest real deal.
--the owner, Jonathon Welch, had out cheese, crackers, cookies and wine at my June reading. Talking Leaves fed me and feeds its customers more.
--seven hours before my store event, I felt nurtured by Tim, a staff member, who came to my library talk, sold copies of FINDING MR. RIGHTSTEIN, and laughed.
--walking into Talking Leaves later, I was welcomed by my people, customers I didn’t know, and Jonathon in his imaginative, comfortable store, a throwback to the 1960s and 1970s. It reminded me of The Strand.
--Jonathon, a store customer when he came to Buffalo in the early 1970s as an English graduate student during the Leslie Fiedler, John Barth, Robert Bly, Robert Creeley days, had no retail experience. He and a few other people got loans and bought what was then called Everyman’s Bookstore. They changed it to Everyone’s and eventually to Talking Leaves.
--the store’s involvement with the library system, schools, and the city’s literary organizations is wonderful and strong. “It is important for independent bookstores to be rooted in their communities,” Jonathon told me. He and his staff stay connected to all that's going around them and to their customers. They love recommending books.
--Rebecca Solnit, John Berger, Colum McCann, Wendell Berry, Richard Russo, Toni Morrison, James Joyce, George Eliot, and Ralph Ellison are among Jonathon’s favorite authors. INVISIBLE MAN is a favorite book. “Take a chance on someone and something new,” Jonathon tells customers.
--“independent and idiosyncratic” is the store’s motto. It is exciting and inviting, too. Home. The writing on the restroom wall—a riot--almost kept me there after closing. I can’t wait until October. I'll return to Buffalo to Larkin Square. Now, I’m taking a chance on John Berger’s WAYS OF SEEING.
--Thank you Jonathon and Talking Leaves for our talks.
*Talking Leaves has another store on Elmwood Avenue.