Friday, March 19, 2004

Buried under a mound of receipts, bills, and forms--that's been my week as I struggled to prepare myself to meet with our tax accountant. All this, and work, too. Blogging has had to take the back seat. Again.

I am so sad to learn that Avenue Victor Hugo on Newbury Street is closing in May. And to top it off, the Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Harvard Square is also going out of business. As far as AVH is concerned, what is this world coming to when a major urban center can't support a quality used book store? (By quality, perhaps I really mean literary, as opposed to the used booksellers who primarily sell romance and mysteries). I last visited AVH last summer--and bought a slew of books. But see? Maybe that's part of the whole problem. I was there eight months ago. Not recently. Part of the reason for this is that Ken does not enjoy book browsing as much as I do, so although I might enjoy used bookstore hopping of a weekend, we do it rarely.

Both AVH and the Grolier attribute their closings to the chains and to the internet. Certainly the used book sites on the web have been the death knell for used book stores.
The Grolier has literally tried everything to stay afloat; I find this loss especially hard to take, perhaps because it emphasizes how much literary culture is changing. Is there a place anywhere in the world for bookshops in the future? (By bookshop, I don't mean the chains, of course).

Finding Dancing with Einstein by Kate Wenner at my local library has been consoling. I've been reading it at the gym. After seven years of wandering the world, Marea is trying to become connected to something permanent, so with high hopes she landed in Manhattan, settled in a beat-up studio in Greenwich Village, found a night job baking bread, and by day starts seeing four different therapists: a Jungian, a feminist activist, an existentialist, and a training psychoanalyst. Whoa! It's great fun, but it's far from a light read. An excellent work-out for the brain! The childhood relationship with Einstein is a bit of a stretch, but the story is so good, that is easily forgiven.


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