Books: Local store in the business of relationships

October 15, 2013 

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    • Friday, Oct. 25, 8 p.m. St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, in Hillsborough, will host a reading by Lee Smith from her new novel “Guests on Earth.” This reading is part of a “Celebrate Lee Smith Week,” designated by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and Algonquin Books.

    • Monday, Nov. 4, 7 p.m., Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill: Hillsborough’s Allan Gurganus has enough critical acclaim to fill an airplane hangar, and his latest, “Local Souls,” will surely garner lots more. In this compilation of three shorter novellas, Gurganus follows his characters through the South of the late 19th century with precision and hilarity.

    • Tuesday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m., Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill: Lee Smith will read again from her latest novel “Guests on Earth,” in which she chronicles life in Asheville’s Highland Hospital during Zelda Fitzgerald’s stay and subsequent death, introducing us to memorable figures with Smith’s trademark balance of humor and empathy.

When someone pulls out a soapbox (or a newspaper column, as the case may be), we at Flyleaf Books will put on our shiniest shoes and stand atop it. In a world of big-box stores and Internet giants, mom and pop businesses need to shout through a megaphone to get their voices heard – right?

Well, not exactly. That’s the thing about doing business in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. While national trends might skew towards bargain-basement prices and mega-malls, folks around here seem especially aware that where they spend their money shapes their community. That’s why our favorite local businesses have been around for so long, and that’s how we’ll make it to our fourth birthday in November.

Sure, we’re concerned about national trends, but ultimately we’re in the business of relationships. We meet with publishers face-to-face to talk about new and future titles. We meet with authors when their books are in infancy, then enjoy the roller-coaster ride from publication to placing it on our shelves. We’re constantly talking books with our customers: we know what they like, and that shapes what we bring into the store’s selection, or even circles back to the publishers and what they’ll next create.

Our customers find value in a place where local folks can gather to learn, be entertained or to just spend time with friends. At Flyleaf, we can recommend the best new paperback you’ve never heard of, help you find the interstate, or tell you who’s got the best cocktail in town. We host gatherings to discuss everything from how to cook a Sunday roast to the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. We sell a lot of books, but we also serve as a community center and visitor’s guide.

We’re open seven days a week, plying you with stories true and false, authors known and unknown. Your insatiable minds and literary appetites are the reason we can pay our rent. We’re here because Daniel Wallace, Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle, and enough names to fill several anthologies live just down the road. Some of them stop in and give us grief when they’re getting a coffee next door (not naming names). Others find time to visit our corner of the world on tours for their new books, becoming our friends in the process.

Our hope is that you’ll stop in and experience us in person. Maybe if you do, you’ll find a book in your hand. Maybe that book will change your thinking or amuse you during a difficult time. And that would please us more than anything in the world. We want to help you celebrate the good times and comfort you in the bad, help you learn something new and edify ourselves in the process. That’s what community is about, and we’re your community bookstore: ever loyal and ever indebted to you (yes, you).

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