Local bibliophiles were dismayed when the beautiful downtown location of Left Bank Books closed its doors this year, but never fear — the flagship Central West End location continues to thrive. It hosts the busiest reading series in the city, it has a diverse staff (in terms of gender, age, race, sexual preference) who all know what they're selling, and its shelves represent that staff. Iain Banks regularly on the shelf? Come on, that's impressive, especially because he hasn't been on the charts for years. That commitment to great books rather than au courant bestsellers is carried throughout the store, section by section. It is also engaged with their community and the larger St. Louis region; Left Banks' new FergusonReads group is a socially conscious book club that will read and discuss books dealing with race in St. Louis and America. That club will most likely be packed: Left Bank has an active Friends society who are down to buy books, to talk about books and to engage with issues of social justice on a deeply personal level.
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