my happy introduction to West Reading: thank you, Wise Owl Bookstore

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Yesterday I learned something new about my own near geography.  If you drive Route 422 all the way out—until it's no longer a highway but a traffic light road, until you cross the Schuylkill River several times, until the road starts to bank and curve, until you reach Penn Avenue—you'll find your way to West Reading, a most-happening place.  They teach ballroom dance in an old theater, serve gourmet meals out on the street, offer tasty cheese at a well-appointed wine bar, sell shoos spelled just like that: shoos.

And in The Wise Owl Bookstore, an independent as adorable as they come, shop owner Kira makes room for special events created by the very special Sue Lange (pictured front and center).  Yesterday was open mike day, and I was there, aligned with other writers and readers, for a memorable evening of stories and talk.  Teresa, my kick-butt combat teacher, stopped by.  A tawny cat slinked beneath chairs.  Stuffed owls hung suspended in time.  And that left elbow in the front row? It belongs to none other than the fabulous A.S. King.  (It's not that my camera neglected King, by the way.  It's that she ducked.)

In times like these—in any times—it is heartening to find a thriving town, an intellectual community, and a young book lover who chose to risk an enterprise that is subtitled "clever books for clever people."  I was proud and happy to temporarily stand among the clever.


Sue Lange said...

And you were most clever, my dear. Loved your reading and can't wait to dive into Small Damages.

BTW, I have been fascinated by that Fred Astaire Ballroom since I moved here ten years ago. I finally got a chance to meet the owners last year. I was preparing to do a short film for my story (Princess Dancer) that came out at Book View Cafe in March. I needed a ballroom for one of the dance scenes and checked out the theater as a possibility. It ended up being way too expensive to use, but I got a chance to go inside that cool old theater. I'm sorry we didn't get to film there, but you know how it is with those low-budget indies.

Thanks again for the fun night last night.


Sue Lange

Serena said...

So glad you had a good time. Sounds like a great little place to visit!

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