POSTPONED: Paul Yamazaki - "Reading the Room: A Bookseller’s Tale" - Jeff Deutsch

Wednesday, April 24, 2024 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Paul Yamazaki

**This event has been postponed. We hope to reschedule in the coming months.**

Paul Yamazaki discusses Reading the Room: A Bookseller’s Tale, the inaugural publication of Ode Books. He will be joined in conversation by Jeff Deutsch. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the book:

All booksellers are the unsung heroes of American literature, but Paul Yamazaki is a superhero.
—Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad, Harlem Shuffle, and Crook Manifesto

If you love a bookstore, it’s whether you know it or not because you love a book buyer…and in the book world no book buyer is more legendary than Paul Yamazaki of City Lights. He has made the job into an art, an ethic, an adventure, and not infrequently an insurrectionary act.
—Rebecca Solnit, author of Recollections of My Nonexistence and A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Reading the Room is Paul Yamazaki's love letter to the work of bookselling and an engaged life of the mind. Over twenty-four hours, Yamazaki leads us through the stacks of storied City Lights Booksellers in San Francisco; the care and prowess of his approach to book buying; his upbringing in a Japanese American family in Southern California and moving to San Francisco at the height of revolutionary foment; working with legendary figures in the book publishing industry like Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Sonny Mehta, and others; and his vision for the future of bookselling. Navigating building trust with readers and nurturing relationships across the literary industry, Yamazaki testifies to the value of generosity, sharing knowledge, and dialogue in a life devoted to books.

Reading the Room is the first publication from Ode Books, a partnership between the Seminary Co-op Bookstores and Matthew Engelke, professor of religion and director of the Institute of Religion, Culture, and Public Life at Columbia University. Ode Books celebrates book spaces and the book industry, publishing reflections on the cultural value of the book, analyses of the industry's challenges, and ruminations on the intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic pleasures of reading.

About the author: Paul Yamazaki has been the principal buyer at City Lights Booksellers, the legendary San Francisco bookstore and publisher founded by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter Martin, for more than 50 years. A champion for national and global literature, writers, publishers, and independent bookstores, Yamazaki was the recipient of the National Book Foundation's 2023 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. He has mentored generations of booksellers across America.

About the interlocutor: Jeff Deutsch is the director of Chicago’s Seminary Co-op Bookstores, which in 2019 he helped incorporate as the first not-for-profit bookstore whose mission is bookselling. He is the author of In Praise of Good Bookstores.

Learn about our publishing imprint Ode Books here

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op
5751 S Woodlawn
Chicago, IL 60615