Reading Is Fundamental: Nationals Closer, Sean Doolittle’s Local Bookstore Quest

This post was originally published by The Good Men Project.

May 29, 2019 by Michael Kasdan

The author Neil Gaiman – he of American Gods, Coraline, Neverland, and Good Omensfame – once said that our future depends on libraries:

[W]ords are more important than they ever were: we navigate the world with words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to communicate and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate, and translation programs only go so far.

The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.

The same could be said of local independent bookstores; the ones that you can wander into and plop down in a hidden corner and lose yourself in a book for a while. In my town this place is called [words] Bookstore, and if you’re lucky your town has one too. Unfortunately, however, the local town bookstore is a disappearing breed in the face of large-chain book-sellers and Amazon.com.

Well, luckily Mr. Gaiman now has an unlikely ally: Washington Nationals’ lefty closer, Sean Doolittle.

Photo: NW DC Little League

Photo: NW DC Little League

Jared Diamond recently reported for The Wall Street Journal, in his piece entitled “The All-Star Closer Who Is Trying to Save Bookstores,” that Sean Doolittle is seeking out an independent bookshop on every road city stop that the Nationals make this year, in an effort to support local businesses and literacy as well as to feed his voracious reading habit.

If you spend a few minutes listening to Doolittle or perusing his Twitter feed (he goes by the handle @WhatWouldDOOdo), a few things become readily apparent:

(1) He is a smart, charismatic and engaging guy;

(2) He looks a bit like Seth Rogen and is damned fun follow on Twitter, especially if you’re into Game of Thrones or Star Wars; and

(3) He is a voracious reader, who would be a welcome addition to just about any local book club.

As to his continuing local bookstore adventures, he explains:

“I want to support these places that are active in their communities, that are trying to be supportive and inclusive spaces for their communities.”

To follow along and see all of the local bookstores that Doolittle has been exploring, check out this great running thread where he keeps an updated list of his visits, complete with pictures.

Each bookstore has such unique character and color, that they alone would be worth the road trip.