|"The Book," as it's known in Savannah.|
|Jepson Center for the Arts, part of the Telfair Museum.|
The other museum we visited was the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) Museum. Interestingly, the SCAD Museum was featuring an exhibit of the photographs of Savannah native Jack Leigh, including the one for which he became internationally famous: the cover photo of Berendt's book. But the exhibit focused much more broadly on Leigh's work, and contained many memorable photographs of the people living and working in the "low country," the coastal areas near Savannah.
This was all well and good, and I can unhesitatingly recommend a visit to Savannah, a quite sophisticated city that a friend recently called "the San Francisco of the South." In this blogpost, however, I want to focus on what a bookish city Savannah is. It begins, of course, with the fact that the city's tourism boom (going strongly for a couple of decades) is based on a book (as well as the movie made from Berendt's book). But Savannah also has several interesting independent bookstores and of our visit, my husband and I visited four of them.
|The Book Lady Bookstore|
The first bookstore, The Book Lady Bookstore, was just steps from where we were staying. It's a treasure trove of used books, as well as those specifically focusing on Savannah and Georgia history. Here, I found a used copy of The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz, a book that I had been wanting to read because I am a huge Francophile. It was a bargain at $10, especially because Lebovitz included a number of recipes that I plan to ask my husband, the family chef, to try out. I also found a book, The Law's Delay, by one of my all-time favorite mystery writers, Sara Woods. She wrote more than 40 books featuring a character named Antony Maitland, an English barrister who is constantly "going beyond his brief" in the search for justice. I have read most of Woods' book,s but never this one, which was published in 1977.
|A small taste of the Books on Bay series collection.|
|E. Shaver, Bookseller|
Our final Savannah bookstore destination meant leaving the historic district and traveling to a strip mall along the main drag (Victory Drive). But Wiley's Book Exchange was definitely worth the brief drive.
One last literary note for Savannah: if you go, you must have a coffee or glass of wine at the Gallery Espresso, an atmospheric cafe located on one corner of Chippewa Square. Besides its great, central location in Savannah's historic district, Gallery Expresso features an array of delicious sandwiches and pastry. It's the perfect place to sit with a book.
You also might meet Chris Berinato, a friendly manager-type at the cafe whose passion is working on something called Seersucker Live in his spare time. The tag line for Seersucker Live is a real come on: "Part literary reading. Part talk show. Part cocktail party." Also, we weren't there for the latest Seersucker Live program, but Chris told us about a program he did a while ago with Daniel Handler, also known as Lemony Snicket. It's definitely worth checking out the YouTube video of that program, and it's just one more demonstration that Savannah is indeed a great destination for book lovers.