This summer Amazon.com announced its list of the Top 20 Most Well-Read Cities in America. Atlanta placed 20.
Why did Atlanta make the list?
1. Vibrant Book Club Culture
Atlanta has a vibrant reading culture. In every county you can find bookclubs meeting in libraries, coffee shops, winebars and hosting their own events. RAWSISTAZ Book Club has its annual RAW Affair in September, the National Book Club Conference meets here every year in July, and many more.
2. Book Events Galore!
a. The AJC Decatur Book Festival is the largest independent book festival in the country. Last year some of the most popular authors in the country were there like Jonathan Franzen and Emily Giffin. (Shameless plug. You can meet me[Miranda Parker] there this year. The DBF doesn’t just work the 3 day Book Festival it hosts year round literary events. This month they hosted a dinner with NYT Bestseller Kim Severson.
b. The Georgia Center of the Book is the state affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Dekalb County Library is its host and sponsor. It funds some of the best literary events in the city. June is going to be an incredible month with Tayari Jones and Mary Doria Russell visiting.
3. Reading and Reader Hot Spots.
I’ve spent many date nights at Barnes & Noble Peachtree Starbucks. The Grounds Coffeehouse is a nice place to listen to author readings. The now gone Vino Libro (Wines and Books) was a great hot spot for readers and wine connoisseurs. There are also nice spots for poetry reading and spoken word artists like Hank Stewart’s White Linen Affair.
4. Popular Authors in Resident
- Emily Giffin
- Pearl Cleage
- Kathryn Stockett
- Joshilyn Jackson
- W. Dale Cramer
- Natasha Trethewey
- Karen White
- Karin Slaughter
- Jelani Cobb
5. Independent Bookstore Haven
Atlanta also houses nationally recognized independent bookstores like:
- Foxtale Bookshoppe
- Blue Elephant
- Little Shop of Horrors
- Eagle Eye
- to name a few
6. Strong Reading Initiatives
a. Atlanta’s R.E.A.L. Men Read is a great organization and mentoring program for Atlanta Public Schools
b. Literacy Volunteers of Atlanta is an organization that assists with adults with learning to read.
I’m sure other cities have a great reading culture. These are just my reasons why Atlanta made the list. What should I add?