"The way I see it, whenever someone walks into a bookstore, they are walking into the future of their cultural and intellectual life. A bookseller collaborates with who you are in order to show you a way forward towards more of yourself, a way you might not have known existed for you--but is still entirely your own. Amazon, with its algorithms, can only show you where you've been, can only give you the calcified mirror of your past. In a bookstore, you get a human being who is also a mapmaker of possibility. As booksellers, you are practicing, to my mind, one of our species' oldest arts, the art of fostering, sharing and shepherding our most vital stories into the FUTURE. And I hope you are as proud of yourself as we writers are of you."
Booksellers: 'Shepherds of Vital Stories into the Future'
--Ocean Vuong, author of the upcoming On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin Press), making a toast at a dinner at the Winter Institute in Albuquerque, N.Mex.