September 26-October 3 is Banned Books Week, a "national celebration of the freedom to read." Libraries and book stores around the country are holding events this week to raise awareness of the fact that each year, individuals and groups attempt to have hundreds of books removed from schools and libraries.
According to the American Library Association, the most frequently challenged "classic" book in America is The Great Gatsby. With this in mind, I bought a copy of it while I was in Asheville. I've read it before, but did not own my own copy. I got this one at Downtown Books & News, a great used book store on North Lexington.
Celebrate Banned Books Week by buying a frequently challenged book at your favorite local book store. Share your favorite challenged books with young readers! Check out this link for more ideas on fighting censorship in your community.
While I'm giving a shout-out to Downtown Books & News, I'd also like to mention some other businesses I recommend in downtown Asheville:
Beads and Beyond - gorgeous gemstones and lots more, in the cute little Wall Street neighborhood.
Chevron Trading Post & Bead Co. - also on N. Lexington, this bead shop had (among other things) probably the best selection of seed beads I've ever seen outside of a catalog. They also had a comfy couch by a fireplace, great music playing, and a big, fat, friendly cat. I did not want to leave!
Earth Guild - For the more esoteric crafts, this store on Haywood has lots of supplies that are hard to find anywhere else. Spinning, candlemaking, basketry, rugmaking...just to name a few. I bought some wool dye there.
Flying Frog Cafe - It's a fine dining establishment downstairs, but upstairs (where we ate) the Flying Frog Bar serves drinks and lighter meals. It's on Battery Park Ave. and has a very eclectic menu. The food was delicious and they made a really good mimosa (at dinner--how decadent!).
Malaprops - If you don't want to buy your books used from DB & N, buy them new at Malaprops! A great little store on Haywood, just up the hill from Earth Guild, they also have a cafe.
Support small businesses at home and when you travel!