LOGAN — A new book by Logan native Matt Browning, titled “Bookstore Explorer: West Virginia,” celebrates the many independent bookstores of the Mountain State through feature stories, photos, interviews and essays. Browning will sign copies of the book at Hot Cup Coffee, 201 Stratton St., in Logan, from 4-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17.
A portion of the proceeds from book sales will be donated to the L.T. Baisden Memorial Scholarship in memory of Logan High School teacher Tracy Baisden, to whom the book is dedicated.
“Bookstore Explorer: West Virginia” profiles the character, charm and history of the state’s many bookshops, and features insightful essays and interviews with such luminaries as West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman, best-selling author Rajia Hassib, longtime Charleston bookseller Gordon Simmons and others. Among the shops featured is Logan’s own Stratton Street Bookshop.
From Harpers Ferry to Wheeling to Princeton, Browning spent months traveling every part of West Virginia and visiting each shop in the state to meet booksellers, gather stories and learn how indie shops are succeeding in the age of online retail.
“For years, independent bookstores were on a downward trend, thanks to chain retailers and online shopping,” Browning said. “Now, though, the indie shop is once again on the rise, and I wanted to learn how booksellers in West Virginia are not only surviving but thriving, while also providing readers a sort of road map to explore our state’s many wonderful stores.”
Browning, who graduated from Logan High School in 1998, dedicated the book to Baisden, crediting her teaching for inspiring his writing career.
“I’ve known since I began writing that I would dedicate my first book to Tracy,” he said. “It was in her classroom that I first felt like writing could be an actual career pursuit.”
Baisden, who taught English at Logan High, died in 2018.
Browning lives in South Charleston, West Virginia, and is represented by Stephen Fraser at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. “Bookstore Explorer: West Virginia” is his first book.
“Bookstore Explorer: West Virginia” retails for $19.95 and will be available for purchase at the signing. A list of additional retail locations and online purchasing is available at BookstoreExplorer.com.