Friday, October 10, 2008

Bookstore Demise

There was a great letter to the Washington Post earlier this week about the closing of Olsson's Bookstore. Too bad I can't find it. The jist of the letter was a fond rememberance of the bookstore staff -- artists, forever-aspiring artists, and street intellectuals. All booklovers who knew their stock.

This staff evocation reminded me of my eight-month tenure in paperback at the flagship store of Kroch's and Brentano's on Wabash Street in Chicago, closed since 1995and now being transmogrified into a highrise with a bit of the old facade still in place.

Our group was similarly made up of artists and writers (almost all in the noble- aspiring category) with a few psuedo revolutionaries and counterculture exiles thrown into the pot given the times. Our life was mostly spent in the book overstock catacombs in the basement and second floor. We had morning break at the Greeks next door and argued about everything, including the Chicago 7 trial that was underway.

In the middle of my eight months an older guy showed up in paperback -- a mercy mission of the head of paperback. The guy was sallow and silent, smirking occasionaly at our antics pushing around book carts. His name was Dennis, an old Beat playwright. One day out of the blue he told me gruffly that I better read Kafka,Celine, and Dostoevsky. He died a few months later from cirrhosis of the liver.

1 comment:

Josh said...

Olson's seemed like a great spot but I only made it there once.

I'm quickly falling in love with both Politics and Prose and Busboys and Poets. Planning on picking up the new Van Jones this weekend: