All of a sudden, it's cool to be an author again. Long stigmatized as reclusive know-it-alls, writers nowadays are enjoying more recognition (and less stereotypical descriptions). As any good independent bookstore knows, author visits make the reading experience that much more enjoyable for the patrons, so Left Bank Books works tirelessly to give a voice to both local and nationally significant authors. In the past year, the series has brought in humorist David Sedaris, St. Louisan Harper Barnes, Chuck Palahniuk (the author of Fight Club and more recently, Snuff), foodie Bobby Flay, Cokie Roberts and local photographer Michael Eastman, just to name a few guests ripe for a little celeb treatment. And when the Central West End store couldn't accommodate all of the adoring fans, Left Bank either hosted at another venue or, as was the case with Sedaris' visit, closed down the street, set up outdoor speakers and invited the public to bring lawn chairs, so that everyone would have the opportunity to hear the author speak. Talk about cool!