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Best Book Store 

Left Bank Books

When Left Bank Books was established 50 years ago, there was no need to distinguish it as an "independent" bookstore, because there were no behemoth chains to compete with. But even so, the shop arrived with a radically independent spirit befitting its name: it foregrounds authors from the cultural margins, be they gay or female or minority or socialist or just uniquely insightful and original.

Times have gotten a hell of a lot tougher for bookstores like Left Bank, which makes its survival all the more significant and its presence in St. Louis all the more dear. Left Bank is responsible for the majority of author readings and signings that happen in our city, and they have provided a crucial lifeline to the international literary community for half a century now.

This year, to the dismay of book lovers citywide, the store lost its dear shop cat/spirit animal Spike. Spike's plush black fur could be spotted lounging among the children's books, brushing along the art shelves or, occasionally, interrupting readings in progress with his own attention-grabbing techniques. He has been eternalized in the store's art and merchandise, but his presence is still sorely missed.

This anniversary year is a great excuse to put your local values into action and get yourself in the Left Bank Books storefront doing what you know you love to do: browsing the shelves, falling into conversations about beloved authors, sitting down for a reading and just reveling in the analog glory of books and the people who have committed their lives to bringing great books into your life.

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