If you like reading books more than buying them, a new Detroit group has a novel idea . . . so to speak.
A book swap Friday and Saturday in Hamtramck is the first event hosted by Literary Detroit, created four months ago to unite writers, readers, scholars, bookshops and publishers.
"We're cultivating Detroit as a literary city, igniting the imaginations of readers and bringing Detroit into conversation with the wider literary world," says lead organizer Anna Clark, a Detroit freelance journalist and writing instructor.
To build interest and freshen their bookshelves, members invite others to visit Cafe 1923 Coffeehouse, 2287 Holbrook Ave., between 3-6 p.m. April 26 and 27.
Bring as many or as few books as you like, and pick up new-to-you books in exchange.
Hang out with us to enjoy the coffee, meet other readers in the city, play with collaborative poetry and talk about your vision for building a vibrant literary culture in Detroit.
Literary Detroit was brainstormed by about 30 people -- "with lively spirits of all kinds at Motor City Brewing Works," as its website says -- "to cultivate Detroit as a literary city, ignite the imaginations of readers and create meaningful on-the-ground connections between readers and writers."
The two-day Hamtramck event is billed as "the first of a seasonal series of book swaps that will be at roving locations throughout Detroit."
Clark, a University of Michigan graduate and the group's main promoter, moved to Detroit from Boston in 2007. "One of the things I miss is the feeling of a living in a literary city," she says in an email about the book swap. "While extraordinary creators are here, there are enormous gaps. That's why we created Literary Detroit."
In addition to free-lance writing for magazines and newspapers, Clark is a creative writing instructor at Southeastern High and Osborn High in Detroit as part of the nonprofit InsideOut Literary Arts Project.
-- Alan Stamm