When we talk about literature, we have to talk about community. That was one of the reasons I started this column: I was thinking constantly about writing and reading as social tools and constructs, what they open up for people and what they shut out. My goal has been to interrogate “tired” elements of literature — the traditional canon, tropes and cliches — while elevating the work of writers who make the literary world something inspiring and worthy of admiration.
But community isn’t just an intangible idea, and especially in areas like the arts, it’s important that community manifests in concrete, physical, recognizable spaces. For literature, very often, this means places like libraries, schools and bookstores. Too often, these spaces go underappreciated and underutilized.