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City of Asylum bookstore opens Saturday

11 January 2017

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

When City of Asylum opens its distinctive new bookstore on Saturday, visitors to the North Side will be able to browse a carefully curated selection of 8,000 volumes by authors from all over the world in a renovated Masonic hall now called Alphabet City.

For a dozen years, the nonprofit City of Asylum has offered refuge to writers in exile. Now, the diverse work of those authors will receive prime display.

The writers’ voices will be heard in Alphabet City, too, because the building’s first floor has a state-of-the-art broadcast studio next to the bookstore. The rest of the 9,000-square-foot space will house a wine and cheese restaurant, Casellula @ Alphabet City, which is expected to open Jan. 28.

. . . .

For Lesley Rains, opening the bookstore at 40 West North Ave. marks a milestone in her career as a bookseller.

“Five years ago, I was carting books around in my car,” said the 36-year-old woman.

Ms. Rains is pleased to be managing a bookstore with such a distinctive list of literary titles. Back in 2011, she sold books from pop-up displays at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District and Assemble, a hands-on creative space in Garfield. To acquire inventory, she visited prime hunting grounds such as yard and church sales.

Link to the rest at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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4 Comments to “City of Asylum bookstore opens Saturday”

  1. “… browse a carefully curated selection of 8,000 volumes …”

    I’d need a list of those doing the curating so I’ll know if we have the same taste in stories.

    Or I’ll look on Amazon and see what books people that buy books like the ones I’ve liked like.

  2. Back when I lived in Pittsburgh, I knew a bunch of folks associated with City of Asylum. On the one hand, they’re a legitimate non-profit that really does “provide refuge to writers in exile.” And the vast majority of those writers are in exile because the repressive government back home would kill them if they weren’t. So far, so good…

    But those author’s writings lean hard in the direction of the darlings of modern lit-crit. Wonderful, if that’s your thing; unreadably icky to my taste. As always, YMMV.

  3. My eyes started to roll uncontrollably at “wine and cheese restaurant”

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