Left Bank Books

Kelly Moffitt, Wikimedia Commons

Everybody has that one song — that one song that immediately takes you back to a time, a place, a friend, a poignant memory. Now, try to imagine your life as told by a whole series of such important songs. That’s exactly what St. Louisan Dave Holmes, the runner-up in MTV’s inaugural “Wanna Be a VJ” contest in 1998, has done.

You’re invited: On July 11, St. Louis on the Air will take you back to the beloved era of music videos with St. Louisan and former MTV host and runner-up in the network’s inaugural “Wanna Be a VJ” contest. His name is Dave Holmes, a graduate of Saint Louis Priory School, who recently wrote the book “Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs.”

LWYang | Flickr | http://bit.ly/29LQomS

Summer is in full swing and whether you’re looking for a book to read poolside, at the park, or just staying indoors to get away from the heat, we’ve got you covered.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with three local book experts about what they’re recommending as the top summer reads. We also heard from listeners who shared their favorite summer reads so far. 

Five suggestions from Kris Kleindienst, co-owner, Left Bank Books:

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis  author John O’Leary wasn’t supposed to survive the burns that covered 100 percent of his body when he had an accident at age 9. No one thought he would walk, write with a pencil, or play a piano ever again. O’Leary, now 38, is not only able to do those things, he also found love, married and fathered four children.

Author Gail Pellett of "Forbidden Fruit: 1980 Beijing" spoke with "St. Louis on the Air" host  Don Marsh.
Alex Heuer

Author Gail Pellet recently released a new memoir called “Forbidden Fruit: 1980 Beijing,” which details her experience working for Radio Beijing as a foreign expert.

“I was hired as the first experienced broadcast journalist to work at Radio Beijing,” Pellett told host Don Marsh.  

Pellett discussed her experiences in China as well as her connection to St. Louis — she was a student at Washington University during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Eileen Myles
Libby Lewis

Writer Eileen Myles’ seems poised on the brink of widespread recognition. This fall she’s publishing two books: “I Must Be Living Twice” and “Chelsea Girls,” which collect new and selected poems and capture the downtown New York of the 1970s in a novel. Much of Myles’ work deals with life in New York City yet the author said her themes and content also exist in cities like St. Louis.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

To touch the subject matter of King David, “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22), is a daunting prospect.

Geraldine Brooks is up to the task. The journalist and Pulitzer-prize winning fiction author, who has written about everything from the hidden world of Islamic women to the Sarajevo Haggadah, one of the oldest surviving Jewish illuminated texts.

President George W. Bush awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to author Harper Lee during a ceremony Monday, Nov. 5, 2007, in the East Room.
White House photo by Eric Draper / Public Domain

“To Kill a Mockingbird” cemented Harper Lee’s place in the list of classic authors of American literature almost as soon as it was published in 1960. “Mockingbird,” with its frank and poignant handling of race and discrimination in the U.S. South, electrified a nation as the Civil Rights Movement swelled in power. Fifty years later, Lee’s new book “Go Set a Watchman” stands to accompany a similarly meaningful time for civil rights and social justice.

Host Don Marsh talked to (from L to R) Kris Kleindienst, Emily Hall and Holland Saltsman.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Mark your calendars, bookworms, because Independent Bookstore Day is Saturday, May 2 and various independently owned bookstores in the St. Louis area will host a day of fun, crafts, and yes—books!

Independent Bookstore Day was founded in 2014 in California and is modeled after the music world’s “Record Store Day.” Some of the participating bookstores in the St. Louis area are Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Main Street Books in St. Charles, and The Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves.

Provided by Dorothy

Dorothy: A Publishing Project is small literary press that’s making big waves in the literary community. The press publishes only two books each fall. This year Dorothy released Nell Zink’s "The Wallcreeper" and Joanna Ruocco’s "DAN." Critical acclaim continues to grow for Dorothy. "The Wallcreeper" is reviewed in the influential New York Time’s Book Review this weekend.

To try to understand what led to the turmoil in Ferguson, the staff of Left Bank Books turned to what they know best: Books.

“To show up and protest and show some support in the community at the time is one thing, and that is a really important first step, is to show your face — show up,” said Jarek Steele, co-owner of Left Bank Books. “But an equally important second step is to find out how to continue the discussion after the news media leaves and after the protests.”

(via Flickr/Heath Harris)

Calling it a decision based on the numbers, Left Bank Books has announced plans to close its downtown store at 10th and Olive streets. 

"We could not make the numbers work going forward," co-owner Kris Kleindienst said. "We tried really hard, our landlord tried really hard, and it just wouldn't work for our store."

She and co-owner Jarek Steele were evaluating the numbers "every day" since the store had opened in December 2008.