I love Frank Reiss, owner of A Cappella Books in Atlanta’s Little 5 Points. He’s smart, funny, humble, a voracious reader, and he’s been running an indie bookstore for the past 20 years. Not an easy feat in our big box world. Two books I bought from A Cappella that changed my life were: Flannery O’Connor’s The Habit of Being and Tom Hodgkinson’s How to Be Idle. THOB is O’Connor’s collected letters. Reading them was like taking a writing course from the master herself. HTBI is a “loafer’s manifesto.” Basically it made me entirely re-think my overly abundant Protestant work ethic, and made me feel okay about lingering over lunch and being a “flaneur.” Problem is, in Atlanta it’s hard to be a flaneur–someone who walks with no destination in mind, letting the city reveal itself as it may. In Atlanta, often what is revealed is: more commercial development!! Yahoo.
So I realize this post is being a bit flaneur-ish. It has a point, though. That is, this weekend A Cappella is celebrating its twentieth birthday by having 20 Atlanta authors come talk about their favorite books. Cool idea, eh? Alan, mi esposo, is speaking on Portnoy’s Complaint. And I am talking about a very strange cookbook called The Supper of the Lamb, written by an Episcopal priest. I think it’s funny that Alan and I are being mixed faith even in our selection of books. He and I are talking on Sunday, Dec. 6, at noon and 12:30. Master storyteller Joshilyn Jackson finishes up the Sunday line-up. On Saturday my buddy Jessica Handler talks, at 4pm. Her memoir, Invisible Sisters, was just chosen by Atlanta magazine as one of the best books of 2009, and they were right.
So. Come to Little 5 Points this weekend and listen to us authors talk about books we like. And eat a piece of birthday cake. And sneak A Cappella a beer. I mean come on, if the bookstore is old enough to serve in the Army, really, we should let it have a drink.