About Us

Poetry section of original Main street location, circa 2010
(Above the poetry section of original Main St location, circa 2013)

Talking Leaves Books has been providing the reading public of Buffalo and Western New York with a distinctive and unusual selection of the finest writing and thinking bound into books for nearly 50 years.

Thank you for visiting--we are pleased to welcome you to our community of customers and members, people whose interest in the world of books goes beyond the ordinary, the merely commercial, the solely practical (though it surely may include them). In addition to finding out about our events and our interests, you can search for and order books, to be shipped to you or your friends, or to pick up in the store.

The name of our store derives from a recurrent conceptualization of books by peoples who were unfamiliar with print; book pages were seen as "leaves" that "talked," imparting wisdom and knowledge and spirit (not "data") in order to represent, expand and preserve them. Books were seen as an intriguing way of keeping track of the treasures of the people: their minds and their ways of being in, and understanding, the world.

The best books do precisely that: they open us up to new worlds, or illuminate more clearly our own; they stretch and deepen our vision and our comprehension of the universe and its creatures, cultures and ways. The goal at our store has always been to find and present these sorts of book to our community, to engage actively in the community to promote literacy and conversation, and to provide a safe place for the public discussion of the substance of the books we offer. As our culture becomes both more uniform and more fragmented, the voices and visions from outside the mainstream become ever more significant. The world we inhabit is fragile, for all the life forms that exist within and sustain it; books, filled with imagination and wonder and wisdom and knowledge and information and argument and critique, and the conversations they inevitably spark, engage and enhance--internally and in the public sphere--are essential to its sustenance and survival.

If your interest in, or passion for books tends to the idiosyncratic, the unusual, the marginal, the "original," and stems from an inquiring, free-spirited, critical and independent mind, we think you'll enjoy browsing our website; the pages here will tell you more about us and what we like to do, and more about some of the books that excite and inspire us.

Please look around here, stop by the store if you can, talk to us in either place. We welcome your business and your conversation.

Jonathon Welch, co-founder