We wanted it to be livable and sort of pleasant. We wanted it to be a little dumpy, too, because that’s sort of our MO.
The novel might not be dead, but some independent bookstores are struggling to stay alive. Last week, we reported that America’s oldest LGBT bookstore, Giovanni’s Room, is closing soon. Now, America’s oldest black bookstore, Marcus Books, has received an eviction notice. The 54-year-old bookstore is a mainstay of San Francisco’s African American Fillmore District but hasn’t been able to pay its rent for a while.
My first serious relationship: I was only there for 3 months before another store wooed me away with the promise of something more serious — and we got serious really fast. I was hired as the assistant events director, but before long I was writing the newsletter, creating the window displays, and redesigning web pages. My life became inseparable from the bookstore. When my shift was over I would stay for upwards of an hour just talking to my coworkers, I was always there on my day off, and outside of my roommate my entire social life was the bookstore.
Those were the golden years of my bookseller life. I eventually left to start grad school in Ireland, but a part of me always wonders if I should have stayed, if I didn’t realize how good I had it. Isn’t your first serious relationship always also the one that got away?
They’re all gone now, but when I moved to New York, in 1991, the city seemed to be nothing but bookstores. I’m sure there are others for whom the city was nothing but banks or museums or night clubs or restaurants, but for me all of those were secondary to the bookstores. I spent my first few days in New York traipsing among them, looking for work and feeling awed. Those myriad palaces of the printed word were my first index to the varieties of literary life in Manhattan. Each store excited me in its own way, and I can still recall them.
Fox Books has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, The Onion reported. But in reality, Barnes & Noble is facing some big problems, which inspired Michael Agger to write a thank you note to the troubled bookstore. “Going to Barnes & Noble became a Saturday afternoon. It was as if a small liberal-arts college had been plunked down into a farm field.”