An Incredible Book Journey: Time Was Soft There

Over the next six weeks, I will have the joy of visiting independent bookstores in 23 cities. Follow the trip and meet the many wonderful friends, book people and random characters I encounter along the way.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Glory of the Bookstore

When I think of bookstores, that cliché about sex comes to mind. There is no such thing as a bad one. (Unless there is bookstore that specializes in grotesque hate literature and preaches racial violence; that would be bad. But anyways.)

Whether large chains or local crevices, online or on the corner, bookstores are places you can stumble upon new writers, reach out to old masters, and be swept away by wondrous ideas. And, as a general rule, brilliant people work in bookstores. If at this instant we transported all the bookstore people to one big beach party, it would be a hell of good time.

On this rather ambitious tour of mine, I have decided to visit only independent bookstores for a few reasons. First, my book is about an independent bookstore, perhaps the most famous in the world, Shakespeare and Company in Paris. Second, as an editor with Kilometer Zero, we discovered independent bookstores are more willing to give alternative publications space on their shelves, and for this I will be ever loyal to their cause. And finally, independent bookstores foster community far better than Amazon or large chains ever can. Everything from the note board with apartments to rent or music lessons on offer, to the weekly reading groups, to the booknut behind the cash who will linger over a Paul auster conversation with you, create an environment where people can relate to other people.

So far, I am scheduled to visit 20 independent bookstore in North America and a few more will be added to the list in the coming days. Come and see me if you can. I am on the road starting November 1st and the first stop is in Boston on November 2nd. It should be a mad mad time.


At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Sarah Schmaltz. I plan to go out and purchase you book very soon. I live in Portland, OR and hope you plan to stop here as part of your tour.My email address is Ciao.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger thewordygecko said...

I've never been to Shakespeare and Co, or even to France, but I'm going to buy your book because I've read about this shop, its owner and the history of it, and it sounds like heaven. Okay, he's grumpy, never mind. We can excuse that for the glory of the books and the shop. One day, I hope to get there, and breathe in deeply. I love the fact that the owner says you should read a book a day! In this mad mad world, where our time is eaten up more and more by crap, this is almost a revolutionary edict.

Best wishes for your tour, and glad you're sticking to the independents.

Brisbane, Australia

At 4:53 AM, Anonymous Stephen Pain said...

Good to see the bohemian spirit lives on.
Say hi to everyone.

Stephen "Rasputin" and so on.
An old lag at Shakes

At 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello my dear friend:
I am so happy that you wrote a book about Shakespeare& Co, it must be interesting book with tons of eccentric characters.
Please send me a copy of your books booth " Time was soft there" ( is that about Shakes) and "Books, Baguettes and Bugs"
Currently I am living in Toronto, Married and becoming a family man.

Jeremy, you can reach me at
say " hello" to everyone.

Chinois a Shakespeare.

At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Jerry,

I really hope things go well for you and your new book. I do want a signed copy addressed to me if possible. I can't help feel a little strange that I was one of the people responsible for having you book it from canada to some little book store in france. oh well c'est la vie- Now put the pencil down and give me a ring sacraman.

P.s thank you for changing my life

Dirk Diggler

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