Located near Rice University, not far from the center of the hustle and bustle of the fourth largest city in America, is a shining jewel of literary charm and opportunity. Brazos Bookstore is nestled in a small business center at 2421 Bissonnet, near downtown Houston. Small enough for the reader to be warmed by the intimacy of a literary and informed staff yet large enough to carry a “careful, intelligent book selection.” Brazos Bookstore offers an extensive inventory of literary fiction, non-fiction, biography, history, poetry, literary criticism, philosophy, architecture, cooking and travel. Jane Moser manages Brazos Bookstore and brings a respected and extensive degree of experience and knowledge to her position. Sunday afternoon, Feb. 17, Dr. Scott Kaukonen’s English 383 Practicum in Publishing class took a field trip to the Brazos Bookstore for a lecture on the importance of independent bookstores in America and the current trend toward their closings. Independent bookstore failures are largely due to competition from large literary megastores who continually present an economic crisis by offering lower prices through sale volumes. Barnes and Noble, Borders Bookstore, and the ‘monster’ presence of the internet giant, Amazon.com have left many longstanding and significant community bookstores with little left to do than to place a ‘Going Out of Business’ signs on their doors. The legacy and charm that small neighborhood bookstores offer local communities is passing and the only way to stop this trend is to vigorously promote their presence, substance and ultimately their value to local areas of residence and commerce.Moser shared with Dr. Kaukonen’s class that Brazos Bookstore is a venue where authors may present to the public new and exciting literary works through their own personal readings. Brazos has a strong backing in the West University area near downtown which is close in proximity to Rice University, St. Thomas University, Houston Baptist University, The University of Houston and many other smaller schools of higher education. Brazos Bookstore is professionally associated with In-print, a nonprofit organization founded in 1983 committed to promoting the nationally renowned In-print Brown Reading Series. Dr. Kaukonen’s class attended an In-print program at the Wortham Theatre to hear readings by two accomplished international authors. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of the recently published Half of a Yellow Sun, read from the novel at the Wortham Theaters. Her novel has received strong reviews and is based on Biafra’s 1960’s violent struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria. Love’s endurance and complications within the themes of ethnic loyalty, class, race and the end of colonialism, permeate the novel’s plot. She is a recipient of many literary awards and nominations, among them the 2003 O. Henry Prize for The American Embassy. Her website features the following personal inspirational quote: “I just write. I have to write; I sometimes feel as if my writing is something bigger than I am.”What Is the What author, Dave Eggers, also read from his 2006 novel. It is the autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, a member of the Lost Boys, young survivors of the violence in Sudan who were resettled in America. Eggers’ novel was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. All proceeds from the book go to aiding the Sudanese in America and Sudan. McSweeneys, an independent publishing house, was founded by Dave Egers and produces a quarterly literary journal.Brazos Bookstore provided Eggers and Adichi’s novels in the Wortham Theatre foyer for purchase and the opportunity to have novels signed by the authors after the readings. The field trip was a remarkable opportunity for students in SHSU’s Creative Writing Department to learn more about writing, literary journals, the importance of independent bookstores in the American economy and the ability to see reknowned and emerging writers in American literature. Visit the Brazos Bookstore website at http://brazos.booksense.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp for online orders, a list of upcoming readings in the Houston area and for professional reading suggestions in fiction, non-fiction and poetry under the What Houston’s Reading section. You won’t be disappointed when you visit Houston’s best independent bookstore since 1974. Services include: author appearances, signed copies, staff picks, fiction, non-Fiction, graphic novels, art and architecture, biography and memoir, history, food and cooking, travel, Brazos projects, and book orders.