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The Bookshop book cover

The History of America’s Bookshops with Author Evan Friss and Owners David Sandberg, Dan Chartrand, and Ann Patchett

Author Event
August 19, 2024 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. ET
$12.50 Live broadcast; $40 Live broadcast and signed book
10% Member Discount

For the love of books... Join us for an evening centered on the history and impact of the American bookstore, looking at our country’s centuries-old passion for printed works and the bookshops’ central role in our cultural life. Author Evan Friss will reveal the findings of his affectionate and engaging new history and then converse with current-day bookstore owners David Sandberg, Dan Chartrand, and Ann Patchett.

Bookstores have always been unlike any other kind of store, shaping readers and writers, and influencing our tastes, thoughts, and politics. Evan Friss’s The Bookshop, draws on oral histories, archival collections, municipal records, diaries, letters, and interviews with leading booksellers to offer a fascinating look at this institution beloved by so many. The story begins with Benjamin Franklin’s first bookstore in Philadelphia and takes us to a range of booksellers including the Strand, Chicago’s Marshall Field & Company, specialty stores, sidewalk sellers of used books, Barnes & Noble and Amazon Books, then to Nashville’s Parnassus, opened in 2011 by the beloved author Ann Patchett, who is one of our panelists, alongside New England booksellers David Sandberg (Porter Square Books) and Dan Chartrand (Water Street Bookstore). Join these special guests to learn more about this unique history and Friss’s “love letter” to bookstores—a chronicle for anyone who cherishes these sanctuaries of literature, and essential reading to understand how these vital institutions have shaped American life.

Evan Friss, guest author and panelist, is a professor of history at James Madison University and the author of two other books: The Cycling City: Bicycles and Urban America in the 1890s and On Bicycles: A 200-Year History of Cycling in New York City. He lives in Virginia with his wife (a bookseller) and two children (occasional booksellers).

David Sandberg, lead panelist, is an owner of Porter Square Books in Cambridge and Boston, MA.

Dan Chartrand, panelist, is the owner of Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, New Hampshire.

Ann Patchett, panelist, is the owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN. She is the author of 13 books including her most recent novel, Tom Lake, and book of essays, Precious Days. Time named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Presented by American Ancestors’ American Inspiration author series in partnership with Porter Square Books, Water Street Bookstore, and Parnassus Books.