Book Event in Raleigh

Tomorrow night, 12/16, at 7:30 pm there’s a Jazz Loft book event at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh.  I can trace everything I’m doing today back to my days working part-time and full-time at QRB 1993-1997 while I was failing at graduate school (first economics and then religious studies) and struggling to be a writer.  I met my wife there for one incalculably epochal thing and I also met a bunch of other people who remain important to my life and work today.  One day I’ll tell that full story.

David Felton at Regulator Bookshop in Durham recently tipped me on a book called Air Guitar by cultural critic Dave Hickey and early in that book Hickey describes how his parents took him to indy bookstores and record stores as a kid.  He learned that those stores – the good ones – incubated a culture that was uniquely advanced, a culture that exists outside the conventional perspectives of, say, TV news or mainstream journalism, or even universities.  These stores could be a university all their own, perhaps the best kind for a certain cast of mind.  Anything was possible.  The books and records in those stores, and the community of people that developed around them, were all the evidence you needed.

QRB worked that way for me.

-Sam Stephenson

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