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Carlisle, Pennsylvania

All through my exploration of Carlisle, I was looking for indie bookstores. I found two. The Whistlestop Bookshop is my favorite. Besides having a lively, lovingly-selected set of books, literary journals and magazines, the owner, Jeffrey Wood, turned out to be a passionate and fascinating man who I talked with for more than hour.

We talked about what he's observed over decades of independent bookselling, about Marianne Moore (raised in Carlisle, I learned), about Virginia Woolf, about the oddities of how towns and states choose which native residents they celebrate (rarely writers, I'm learning: I got funny looks when I asked most folks if they have any suggestions for where I might explore on a literary road trip). We discussed what it means for place to influence writers, and how editors and scholars shape a writer's legacy, and what writers are taught in classrooms (living writers? almost never).

Indie bookshop lovers: Get thee to Whistlestop.

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