This month’s bookshop is The Wild Detectives bookstore, bar and venue in Dallas, Texas. Opened in 2014, the shop takes its name from a loose translation of Roberto Bolaño’s Los Detectives Salvajes (The Savage Detectives). Its mission: “to curate all those things that matter, those serious pleasures which turn life into experience.”
The local literary community and friends from around the world help curate the shop’s selection, The Wild Detectives website reads. “Any book you get from our shelves will have been blessed by someone we trust as a reader, whether it’s a new release, a well-known title or those others that went overlooked by the general public; a 100% community curated selection.”
Whether selling books or beers, The Wild Detectives aims to inspire stimulating conversations and create opportunities for new discoveries. “Our plan is clear: feed them culture, get them talking,” the site reads. “All we do – our readings, our shows, our festivals, our plays – revolves around that idea. It’s all about conversations.”
For this Q&A, we caught up with The Wild Detectives co-founder Javier García del Moral.
What do you think is special about The Wild Detectives?
I would say the one thing that really defines us is the ambience and program we create. We are a bookstore with a bar, or a bar with a bookstore, it depends on who you ask and what day you come by. Our space changes a lot and our programming is fairly broad, so I guess the one thing that defines us is that we are kind of difficult to define.
If money was no object, what changes would you make to the shop?
If we had all the money in the world, we would invite all our favorite authors to the store every week. We would do amazing free events with people from all over the world without worrying about the cost, the fees and how many people would attend.
How / why did you get into bookselling?
For the most part, having drinks and conversations with my close friend Paco. It started like a regular topic in our bar conversations. After many travels, relocations and many more bars, we ended up taking it seriously and creating The Wild Detectives.
What’s the funniest interaction you’ve ever had with a customer?
Hard to say. Our space is also a bar and a venue, so the interactions go from the regular bookstore customer that is looking for a book by the color of the cover to some more bizarre encounters late at night after heated-up literary conversations. You can witness pretty hardcore stuff between two avid readers after a few drinks if you dare to make the wrong comment about a book.
What’s your favourite And Other Stories book?
I am a big fan of Yuri Herrera and Cesar Aira, so for anyone that is not familiar with them or with Latin American lit, I highly recommend them. Very different authors, both with a long career. You’re in for a treat once you start with their books.
What book published in the last year do our readers need to get their hands on?
I am from Spain and Sara Mesa is one of my favorite Spanish writers. Last year Open Letter published Among the Hedges (translated by Megan McDowell), an amazing and pleasant novel that gets you in a really dark world without noticing it.
What would be your desert island book?
Ufff, a very long one!