AUBURN — LaDarrion Williams presented his book Blood at the Roots at Auburn Oil Co. Booksellers on May 29.
When Auburn Oil Event Coordinator Robin O’Bryant and Manager Katy Hall heard about the book and Williams’ Alabama heritage, they knew they wanted to host a book talk for him to share with the community.
“LaDarrion is not only a debut author, but a black baby author in the fantasy genre, which is not very typical,” said O’Bryant.
Like many, Williams grew up without representation in the novels he was reading and sought to change that for future generations.
“He loved reading fantasy, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and all of that when he was growing up, but as a black teenager in Alabama, there was no representation for him,” said O’Bryant. “So he’s written this book for young black youth to see themselves and it has absolutely taken off in the last few weeks.
“He’s been on NPR, People Magazine, the Washington Post, LA Times — he’s been all over the place and busy. I was really excited when he debuted at number five on the New York Times list,” O’Bryant said.
At the heart of Auburn Oil Co. Booksellers is the desire to create a welcoming and inclusive community where people can enjoy reading and the rest it provides.
“We’re a part of the community in a different way than a big box store,” Hall said. “I think we have a good idea of what our community likes to read and what would be good for it, and also supporting the local authors.”
O’Bryant said that Auburn Oil Owner Mike Armor’s three goals for the store are, “to foster a love of reading in kids, for this [Auburn Oil] to be a gathering place in a community and he wants everybody to be able to see themselves in the store here. He wants there to be something for everybody, and that’s something that I think that we’re all very focused on.”
Auburn Oil hosts a variety of other events including silent reading hours, book clubs, movie nights and more. One of its most popular events is called “Page Pairings,” which are literary-inspired wine tastings.
“We have six different wines, and we have six different booksellers who each pick one of the wines, and then they choose a book that’s somehow related to it,” O’Bryant said. “We have stations set up, people come in and tickets are $35. You get to taste all of the wines, and then you get to pick the book you like the best to take home with you. We also have discounts on the wine that night.”
Auburn Oil hopes to continue to provide opportunities for community members to join in their shared love of reading in fun and creative ways that serve diverse ages, experiences, and interests. To learn more about the events at Auburn Oil visit the website