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Sprouting Leaves

As major players such as Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble inhale more and more of the book market, the ease with which independent stores can operate has lessened in equal measure. Like record stores, book shops are dropping off the map right and left to be replaced by mouse-clicks, big-box stores and a public more inclined to zeroes and ones than chapter and verse.

But for Talking Leaves, which celebrates its 32nd year in Buffalo on Saturday, there's more than enough reason to celebrate. The company, with one location on Elmwood Avenue and another on Main Street, will host a film screening on the subject of its very existence along with a series of readings from authors and professors from across the globe.

The film, "Indies Under Fire," will screen in Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave., followed by a panel discussion with its director, Jacob Bricca. It's a documentary about three financially strapped independent bookstores in California struggling as huge retailers attempt to encroach on their territories.

The series will continue with a series of readings at Hallwalls. The first, "Task of the Critics" on Tuesday, includes University at Buffalo professors Charles Mancuso and Henry Sussman, local author Julian Montague and Lancaster University sociology professor Yoke-Sum Wong. On Thursday, "Flesh for Reading" features various professors from around the world on topics ranging from gender studies to capitalism. Finally, the series concludes on April 28 with "Daddy Does Cybernetics: Diary of a Mental Patient," a text and video collage by Syracuse University professor Jackie Orr. For more information, visit softarcades.com or call 877-8554.

-- Colin Dabkowski

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