The beleaguered bookseller said late Thursday that comparable-store sales slid 6.4 percent during the crucial nine-week period ending Dec. 30.
A Boston Globe story. No link, I don’t link to The Boston Globe.
At one time (before the fire) I had a library and a very large collection of books up in the attic, mostly Science Fiction but I read history, biography, detective stories . . . etc. Two thousand? Three thousand? Not sure, it had been years since I had last tried to count.
I have maybe a hundred books now, mostly older titles and all old friends inside the covers. During the late fall power failure (due to a tree down across the driveway and the power line) I started rereading the Hornblower books, starting with Mr. Midshipman Hornblower. During the current sub-zero cold snap I’ve finished Commodore Hornblower and are about to crack the cover of Lord Hornblower.
Oddly enough Lord Hornblower is the oldest book I still have, since I rescued it from the old bookshelf at my parents house before it was sold. It is one of the first books I read through it was (I was told) above my reading level. I think I was eight. My grandmother worked as a bookbinder at Little & Brown in Boston (No, she was not a robot, human beings used to do that kind of work exclusively). She brought all kinds of books home, books that were ‘irregulars’ and dumped into a bin that employees could pick through. When I first read it, C. S. Forester (the author) was still alive. As I grew older I hunted down the rest of the Hornblower books, about the time I acquired the last full novel, “Hornblower in the West Indies”, I discovered that the author had passed away. That was the first time I experienced that shock and sense of loss. I was to feel that way again several times; from Robert Heinlein to most recently Jerry Pournelle. For me, books are personal and close friends as are many of the authors. (The only two I have really known and spent time with was Isaac Asimov and Harry Stubbs, both NESFA members.)
Needless to say I’ve spend a lot of time in libraries and bookstores in the early years of my life. Though I spent a lot of money at Borders I don’t morn it as much as many of the smaller bookstores I used to go to, it’s hard to grow an attachment to a corporate entity. Ditto for Barnes and Noble, the first bookstore to introduce ‘loyalty’ cards to the bookselling business. For which I do not love them. But; “The Million Year Picnic”, “Avenue Victor Hugo”, the Harvard Square bookstore (the independent one, not the Coop). . . and many, many others that I did love.
In fact it is the memories of the cherished small bookstores of my youth that caused me to start writing. (May not get posted, much of what I write when it’s personal and stream of conscious-like doesn’t get posted.) In Brookline I read that the independent bookstore that has been there for years has triumphed over the Barnes and Noble chain store, that has now closed. I like that.
I think that in general I like small over big. Small bookstores, small vegetable stands, small restaurants and (of course) small government over Big Government. I’m almost tempted to try to start a small bookstore/cafe of my own. Almost. I’m still in Taxacusetts, so I doubt it. Then there is the current American trend towards illiteracy, functional illiteracy at least.
Update: the perfect cartoon for this post just showed up!