City Lights owner Chris Wilcox with Ash Braley. 

I’ve always been a bookish person (of course) and spent many hours – days, weeks, decades – haunting bookstores. I mean, back when bookstores were intended as bookish places, that made you want to read, to learn, and dare I say it, think. I’m not above a book-crawl through Barnes & Noble, and I cringe to think of the sheer quantity of books I’ve hauled away from those outings. But did I buy them because I was interested in the titles? Or just beguiled by the massive amount of stock?

Compare that experience to a visit to an indie bookstore, where there is less stock, but it is thoughtfully curated by the owners, displayed with wit, and designed for readers and bibliophiles. Where I can browse and come away with perhaps fewer books, but ones that mean more to me. Books that I will read, reread, cherish, think about.

City Lights Bookstore in bucolic Sylva, NC is such a place. It’s on a steep winding side street, not conducive to foot traffic. When you walk in, you are immersed into a world of books, bookish artifacts, inspiration for curiosity and above all, imagination. Exactly what we want to get from books. It doesn’t make me want to just buy books – it makes me love books, want to read them, care about each one of them. And, of course, write them. Write better ones.

It is a pleasure and an honor to have City Lights carrying my books, An Older Kind Of Justice and Strange Rivers. Please check them out – it’s worth the trip. If you’re not in North Carolina, find another indie bookseller in your area, and buy your books there. It’s not just supporting a local business – it’s letting a passionate local business support YOU.

City Lights Website

A Is For “Arachnid”

T shirt design by Macon County artist, Matt Gauck who created the “reading by lightning bug” drawing to highlight the southern Appalachian setting of this City Lights Bookstore.