City Lights Bookstore

Address: 3 East Jackson Street; Sylva, NC 28779
Phone: 828-586-9499 / 888-853-6298 (toll-free)
Owner: Chris Wilcox
Twitter: @citylightsnc

I am particularly fond of this store, nestled in the North Carolina mountain town of Sylva – it’s an unexpected treat in a small burg off the beaten path. City Lights has a great staff headed by a great owner, Chris Wilcox, who worked here for 12 years until his mentor Joyce Moore offered to sell it to him. “What a fantastic opportunity!” Chris says, reminding me that the store has been in the same location in historic downtown Sylva for 25 years.

Chris says he and his staff are grateful that customers don’t all like the same sort of books, although “we do sell more novels than any other type of book in general.”

Some of the novels City Lights sells again and again include “One Foot in Eden” by Ron Rash “Burning Bright” by Tracey Chevalier, “Serena” by Ron Rash, “Look Homeward, Angel” by Thomas Wolfe, “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett, “Mason Jars in the Flood” by Gary Carden, “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy, “The Collected Short Stories of Flannery O’Connor,” “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd, “Garden Spells” by Sarah Addison Allen, “Devil Amongst the Lawyers” by Sharyn McCrumb, and “In a Dark Season” by Vicki Lane.

“Southerners love a good story, and that’s our business,” says Chris. “We sell stories, and our customers often share stories with us.” Of course, some of those stories revolve around mountainous Appalachia, so City Lights features an “Appalachian Book of the Week,” paying homage not just to Southern roots but to old regional folkways as well. Books with titles like “Moon Women” (by my dear friend Pam Duncan) and “Tales of the Porch” keep a familiar feel for local customers yet offer something a little different for people like me – and hopefully you! – who wander in for a spot of bookish community while exploring this beautiful area.

Posted September 21, 2010 at 7:24 am · comment · Leave a Comment

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Susan Gregg Gilmore