May 27, 2015
Join Melville House and Book Riot on June 6th for the Christopher Morley Walk!
by Liam O’Brien
Brooklyn has a lot going for it. We have incredible food, lots of parks, art pretty much everywhere, and some kick-ass independent publishers. For people who love real honest-to-god glue and paper books, you have a beautiful array of options.
Almost a century ago, Christopher Morley already knew this.
New York is Babylon; Brooklyn is the true Holy City. New York is the city of envy, office work, and hustle; Brooklyn is the region of homes and happiness.
The lines above are spoken by Roger Mifflin, the travelling-bookstore-driver of Morley’s novel, Parnassus On Wheels. Reprinted as part of Melville House’s Art of the Novella series, Parnassus On Wheels tells the story of what happens when Mifflin decides to settle down and sell the traveling bookstore—and the adventures and antics that await its new owner, Helen McGill, who holds out hope in an escape from her hardworking farm life manifested through the power of books.
Along with being the prequel to Morley’s later masterwork The Haunted Bookshop, Parnassus On Wheels writes a love letter to the local bookstore that we as Brooklyners are more than willing to adapt to our own purposes. Which is why Melville House, in partnership with Book Riot, is going to be taking Parnassus On Wheels on the road (so to speak) with the Second Annual Christopher Morley Walk!
The Morley Walk is a walking tour of Brooklyn’s treasured indie bookstores, as well as a marathon reading of Parnassus On Wheels. We’ll be starting at WORD Bookstore and taking the East River Ferry south, stopping at powerHouse Books, and then on to BookCourt, Greenlight, Unnameable Books, Community Bookstore, and finally Terrace Books. Afterwards we’ll sooth our tired feet and throats at a local watering hole to be announced.
If you are a fan of books, Brooklyn, Brooklyn bookstores, Christopher Morley, Melville House, Book Riot, or the sacrament of the printed word in the greatest city in the world, you should come! The Facebook event is here, and it will be a lovely time; racing bibs, an increasingly chaotic and entertaining livetweet session, a cargo bike full of iced coffee and snacks, and my incredible reading voice are several of many things you will encounter.
But truly, the event will be about more than Christopher Morley’s work. It’s also about supporting, patronizing, and lauding Brooklyn’s local bookstores. Come hang out with your current and new best friends, and say hello to booksellers on their busiest day of the week—preferably as you buy a book you’ve always meant to read.
Email [email protected] if you want to get on the list of readers—and we look forward to seeing you on June 6th! And to quote Roger Mifflin once more:
“Lord!” he said, “when you sell a man a book you don’t sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night – there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book, I mean. Jiminy!”
Liam O’Brien is the Senior Sales & Marketing Manager at Melville House, and a former bookseller.