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Food for Thought Books collective fundraiser in Amherst features music, readings

The cooperative, now in its 37th year, has stepped up fundraising efforts this summer to avoid closing the store, according to members of the cooperative who cite changes in the retail book market for the financial troubles.

The event will feature a performance by the band Rusty Belle and readings by local writers Mira Bartók and Jedediah Berry.

Rusty Belle, which originated in Amherst, describes its music as roots-rock junk-folk. It will cover Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush” album in its entirety.

Bartók is a commentator for New England Public Radio and author of “The Memory Palace,” a New York Times best-selling memoir and winner of the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award. She is also the author of 28 children’s books. Her writing for adults has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, noted in The Best American Essays series and has appeared in numerous literary journals, magazines and anthologies.

Jedediah Berry is the author of the noir fantasy “The Manual of Detection,” winner of the Dashiell Hammett Prize and the Crawford Award. The book has been widely translated and was adapted for broadcast by BBC Radio 4. He teaches at the Written Arts Program of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Raffle prizes have been donated by local businesses, artists and craftspeople.

The suggested donation for admission is $10.

According to collective members, the store has made serious cuts, including reductions in hours and benefits for themselves in an attempt to stay afloat. They have been attempting to increase memberships and hold more fundraising events to offset what they say has been a loss of business to Internet retailers.

“With the place of bookstores in the world shifting, and as customers have turned to Internet shopping, many feel we need to preserve community gathering places like Food for Thought Books,” they wrote in a statement seeking support for the event.

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