Durham Tonight

Monica Byrne, author of The Girl in the Road, at the paperback release reading at Letters Bookshop. Skylar Gudasz also sang.

Monica Byrne, author of The Girl in the Road, at the paperback release reading at Letters Bookshop. Skylar Gudasz also sang.


Two multi-talented women appeared tonight in downtown Durham’s only bookstore, Letters (440 feet from The Star’s desk in darling downtown Durham). The paperback edition of Monica Byrne‘s well-received first novel, The Girl in the Road, has just come out, and Byrne interleaved her readings with beautiful songs written and sung by Skylar Gudasz. It was a very Durham event: wine was served, along with Krispy Kremes from the new store on Hillsborough Road (finally!).

Yes…they are wearing their high school prom dresses. I think the answer is, because they could. One presumes they had their art to keep them warm on this frigid night. Or maybe the tiaras were doing the job.

Letters Bookshop owner Land Arnold has both hard and soft cover copies of Byrne’s book, and a set of shelves well-stocked with books by other North Carolina writers, as well as ever-growing sections of new and classic books of all sorts. You can sign up for email notifications of readings and other events if you drop in and browse. He will order anything you want if he doesn’t have it.

Of all the changes in downtown Durham, the closure of the Book Exchange came hardest on me. But now there’s Letters. It is not as idiosyncratic, but you can find things yourself: the books are shelved alphabetically by author, rather than by an arcane system understood only by the Book Ex’s staff.

Letters is conveniently located in the same block with coffee, wine, pizza, panini, tapas, fried chicken and cupcakes.

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