Sun. Sep 25th, 2022

Meet the Texas indie bookstore that’s making a difference in its community

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Meet Deep Vellum Books — the largest publisher of literature in translation in the U.S. 

The Dallas, Texas-based brand started in 2013 as a publishing company for local writers. 

By 2015, the company opened its first storefront — Deep Vellum Books. 

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Deep in the heart of Deep Ellum, a suburb of Dallas, the bookstore houses almost all of its more than 100 published books.

Deep Vellum Books is located in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas, Texas. The store opened in 2015.

Deep Vellum Books is located in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas, Texas. The store opened in 2015.
(Fox News Digital)

In an interview with Fox New Digital, bookstore manager Riley Rennhack explained the purpose and significance of the indie store.

“We don’t have enough indie bookstores in Dallas,” she said.

“A lot of these books that we carry here are books you aren’t going to find in other bookstores in the city.”

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The bookstore also serves as a welcoming and comfortable hangout spot for people in the community. 

Deep Vellum Books houses almost all of the books it's published over the past decade. 

Deep Vellum Books houses almost all of the books it’s published over the past decade. 
(Fox News Digital)

“It doesn’t matter if you like to read or not … Just come in,” she said. 

With its monthly book reading events, the store encourages anyone and everyone to stop by for a bit, even if they don’t consider themselves a “reader” or have someone to attend with, said Rennhack. 

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“Yeah, it’s book nerds, but most of us are by ourselves,” she said. 

Rennhack explained that the events help attract those who might be alone, together with others who share the same interests.

With its popular published books on a wide variety of topics, Rennhack shared the top five bestselling books at the storefront. 

‘Seven Samuri Swept Away in a River’ by Jung Young Moon

"Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River" is a translation from Korean. 

“Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River” is a translation from Korean. 
(Fox News Digital)

This book is a translation from the Korean and is about the author’s arts residency in Corsicana, Texas. 

As someone who had not spent time in Texas previously, author Jung Young Moon writes about the results of his time in the Lone Star State.

‘Texas: The Great Theft’ by Carmen Boullosa 

"Texas: The Great Theft" was the first book that Deep Vellum published. 

“Texas: The Great Theft” was the first book that Deep Vellum published. 
(Fox News Digital)

This was the first book published by Deep Vellum Publishing.

The story takes place over the course of one day; the main character is none than Texas itself. The book is about two cities divided by the Rio Grande. 

“I grew up here and did public school Texas history — and had never heard about it,” Rennhack said of the story told in “Texas: The Great Theft.” 

‘Penny Candy: A Confection’ by Jonathan Norton

"Penny Candy: A Confection" by Jonathan Norton is an autobiographical drama.

“Penny Candy: A Confection” by Jonathan Norton is an autobiographical drama.
(Fox News Digital)

This autobiographical play by Jonathan Norton tells the tender, funny story of his life growing up in Oak Cliff, a southwest suburb of the Dallas metroplex. 

“It’s a really funny family story. I’ve never seen a piece of literature feature a vacation Bible school joke,” Rennhack said of Norton’s retelling of his childhood. 

In the book, Norton also shares memories of his changing neighborhood — a nod to the larger changes happening over time to the area. 

‘El Paso: A Punk Story’ by Benjamin Villegas

The author of "El Paso: A Punk Story" was obsessed with punk rock bands. 

The author of “El Paso: A Punk Story” was obsessed with punk rock bands. 
(Fox News Digital)

In a translation from Spanish, this novel tells the adventures of a fictional punk band.

After learning that Nirvana got a lot of inspiration from punk bands in El Paso, Villegas decided to visit the area — and wrote this fictional account of a punk band from El Paso. 

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Since the book’s publication date, Villegas has created an album, album art and fake posters connected to the story.

‘The Accommodation: The Politics of Race in an American City’ by Jim Schutze

"The Accommodation: The Politics of Race in an American City" was once burned and banned in the '70s. 

“The Accommodation: The Politics of Race in an American City” was once burned and banned in the ’70s. 
(Fox News Digital)

This book details the violent history of racism in Dallas.

Originally published in the ’70s, the book was later burned and banned. 

“I think it’s the most controversial book in Dallas,” Rennhack said of the book.

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Jim Schutze, a journalist, is the author. He’s a longtime city columnist for the Dallas Observer.

It speaks to the importance of speaking out — and is now once more available to the public. 



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