You might be skimming through this section on an e-reader. Or perhaps you're leafing through the paper copy, while slumped in a comfy chair at a big-box bookstore. Two words for you. Stop. It. Now, we're not Luddites — we own a few iThings ourselves — and we're not even going to hate on the convenience that some chains provide. But none of that can ever, ever replace a shop like Subterranean Books, where titles are hand-selected by a staff that lives and breathes literature. More than just a bookstore, Subterranean is the embodiment of a "third place" — a space beyond work, beyond home, at which you can keep tabs on the world. And here's the part that'll make you wonder just what's wrong with the 21st century: Subterranean Books is in danger of closing. Fortunately, a large group of dedicated supporters isn't going to let that happen without a fight. Tonight's Noir at the Bar benefits Subterranean — a gracious and fitting "thank you," as the bookstore has sponsored this hard-boiled series for several years. Beginning at 7 p.m., join authors Kyle Minor (pictured), Anthony Neil Smith and former St. Louisan Richard Thomas (as well as Noir at the Bar organizers Jedidiah Ayres and Scott Phillips) for an evening of literature and libations at the Delmar Restaurant and Lounge (6235 Delmar Boulevard). The event is free, but please do consider buying a book or two — it helps the authors, and it helps the booksellers. Additionally, stay on the lookout for a new Noir at the Bar anthology, to which all past author-participants have donated stories to benefit Subterranean. For more information, call 314-862-6100 or visit
Thu., March 10, 2011