What's stopped. What's Going On.
- Local things for local people.
Book Store Closing
Boston bookshop Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop will shut its doors for good
in May. The year long attempt to save the store in a new location will come
to an end. A loss of former customers who thought the store had closed at
the end of 2002, compounded with an overall loss of business to chain
stores, and to the changing shopping patterns on Newbury Street, made
continuing the struggle impossible.
Despite lower overhead, a large stock of over 100,000 volumes, and a
good location only steps from where it originally opened almost thirty years
ago, the shop has finally succumbed to the prevailing trends in the book
business. Blue Bart, the store cat, will retire to the home of a long time
A general 50% off sale began Thursday, April 1st for book fools and
those who wish to be. The sale will continue until all stock is sold,
with further reductions to follow as necessary. Shelving will be sold in
For more information and updates please visit the website:
Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop
353 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115 (617) 266-7746
Also closing: the Grolier Poetry Book Shop, Black Images Book Bazaar, the
Dallas, Tex., African-American bookstore founded in 1977, Main Street Book
Shop in White Plains, N.Y., etc. etc.
*** AVH, as we knew it, took us in when we hardly knew whether we were
sleeping in the street or running for senate. We were interviewed for more
than two hours. We listed our recent favorite reads and attempted to defend
them. (This defense would be an ongoing pattern.)
We learned more about books and people than expected.
We learned that there was a history to the store and we helped with a
tiny 25th anniversary celebration (that was some time ago, now).
The store moved from 339 to 353 Newbury St. and there was a party.
The store earned so many "Best of Boston" Awards that at one point
Boston Magazine decided to stop including it to let others have a chance.
The store cat, Blue Bart (after Tyg, the cat who came before -- whom we
never knew), arrived to little fanfare and much love. There were many people
who knocked on the window or came in and asked, "Is that cat were alive?"
Imagine the temptation.
Soon we were able to find that book even when the customer didn't know
the author or the title, but, you know, "It's green."
AVH would probably not like it, but: send them checks. Send them money. Buy
books during their sale.
AVH is a small and glorious slice of a better life. They close with a
sale to pay off debts incurred in bringing readers to unexpected books, in
searching out the book you wanted, in storing for long years the one book
you will only long years later discover you always needed.
Advance word on new books:
Trash Sex Magic:
"It's to Chicago what Mysteries of Pittsburgh is to Pittsburgh and A
Winter's Tale is to New York -- a winning, touching, open-eyed love letter
-- but with trash, sex, and magic too. Unusual and wonderfully done."
-- John Crowley, author of The Translator
"Perfect Circle is a perfect read, exciting, unique, everything here but the
Second Coming, but, Sean Stewart himself is the prize. What a talent. Write
on, my man. Write on."
-- Joe Lansdale, Sunset and Sawdust
I never realized the Beastie Boys ("You've got to fight for your right to
party") were a political band until Bush got elected.
Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link is now available in Japanese! You can
look at the great cover here
and buy the book here:
New review of Carol Emshwiller's The Mount here at Rambles:
"In a recent interview with Science Fiction Weekly, Ursula Le Guin called
Emshwiller "the most unappreciated great writer we've got." The Mount proves
Le Guin right.... If Emshwiller is not already on your top bookshelf, The
Mount will put her there."
Q. What is Rambles?
A. "Your best source on the web for folk & traditional music, speculative
fiction, folklore, concerts, movies & more."
-- Superlatives make for difficulties. How about a tiny edit to:
"One of the best sources on the web for folk & traditional music,
speculative fiction, folklore, concerts, movies & more."
Print this email out, fold into paper plane. Attempt flight tests while boss
is power lunching, napping, or at Executive Compensation Conference.
Ask your local library/public TV channel/rep. cinema/guy with a projector to
get a copy of Talking to the Wall -- a movie about how the people of
Greenfield managed to stop Wal Mart from coming to town. Are Wal Mart the
biggest company in the world yet? "Welcome to all our shoppers presently
shopping themselves out of a job!"
Some of the people of Greenfield is even now trying to bring a discount shop
to their town, despite there being 5 or 6 other Walmarts within 20 minutes.
Power to the people: not just the Walton family.
(Ok, so not every dollar spent at a local store stays in the community. But,
for instance, in a bookshop the shop buys a $10 book from the publisher (or
distributor, etc) for $5. So when they sell that book, the publisher gets
(not makes, there's a huge difference!) $5 and your town gets $5 (and the
Feds get 4-8% sales tax, mais oui) which goes to pay the booksellers, the
utility companies, the cat food, the annual charitable donations, etc. etc.
If you buy the book at Walmart, they get a bigger discount (how? isn't that
illegal? Oh wait, how complex are their books? I see) so the publisher (and
therefore the author) gets less (say $3-$3.50), the store gets the same
(because the book sold at a "discount". Of that $3.50, not much goes to the
community. Big stores get tax breaks to come to town (in the film, they
worked out that Wal Mart would bring the town 19 new jobs... and local
businesses would lose $34 million in sales).
In the film, which is a documentary, and therefore in the town, there is one
hardware store owner in Orange (near Greenfield (colorful places) who loses
his store due to Wal Mart. He takes a part time job at a lumber place, but
on the whole he'd rather work for himself. He is so cheery, and so sad.
Anyway, enough. This is no fun. Local stores are the answer in some places
(cities and small towns) but not everywhere. Jane Jacobs probably knows the
answer. Thank god for small businesses. Maybe we should have a Thank a Small
Business Day where everyone sends office supplies, coupons for coffee,
catfood if they have a cat, and lets them go first at the post office and
the bank. Yeah. Let's do that.
Maybe close to you?
1) April 28th, 2004 7:30 pm
Kelly Link, Gavin J. Grant, Brian Evenson, Geoffrey H. Goodwin
A Panel On Writing Short Stories
Barnes & Noble, Store #2645
One Worcester Road, Framingham, MA 01701
2) Please join us for the 4th ANNUAL JUNIPER LITERARY FESTIVAL
May 7-8, 2004
The University of Massachusetts Amherst, Memorial Hall
FRIDAY, MAY 7:
5pm Opening reception for the Book and Journal Fair
8pm Fiction readings by Amy Hempel and David Gates
SATURDAY, MAY 8:
11am Question and Answer Forum with Amy Hempel and David Gates
2pm Address by Marjorie Perloff:
"The Poetics of Cultural Estrangement: Viennese High Culture and the New
3:15pm Issues in Independent Publishing Roundtable with: Eric Lorberer
(Rain Taxi, moderator), Carol Ann Davis (Crazyhorse), Christian Hawkey
(jubilat), Allan Kornblum (Coffeehouse Press), Vincent Standley (3rd bed),
Matthew Zapruder (Verse Press)
8pm Poetry reading by John Ashbery
Participants in the Book and Journal Fair: 3rd bed, Coffeehouse Press,
Conduit, Fence, Fulcrum, jubilat, The Massachusetts Review, NowCulture, Open
City, Paris Press, Perugia Press, Rain Taxi, Slope, Small Beer Press, The
Univ. of Mass. Press, Verse Press.
All events take place in Memorial Hall at the University of
Massachusetts and are free and open to the public.
A yearly gathering of writers, editors, publishers, scholars, and
readers, the Juniper Festival is dedicated to the exploration of issues
vital to the literary arts. It presents important new creative, editorial,
and scholarly work through public readings, addresses, forums, and a journal
and book fair. A journal and book fair will run throughout the Festival,
filling Memorial Hall with books and magazines produced through independent
For more information, email juniper@...
Lisa Olstein, Director, Juniper Festival
3) May 7, 2004, 8.00 PM (Friday)
Kelly Link opens for The Magnetic Fields who have a new album out, i:
Calvin Theatre, Northampton, MA
4) June 1, 2004, 7.30 PM
Hannah Wolf Bowen, John Trey, Dave Schwartz, Philip Brewer, Gavin J.
Grant and Kelly Link
A Night of Readings (and More?) from Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet.
1854 West North Ave, Chicago IL 60622
5) Jennifer Stevenson and with Gene Wolfe (The Knight)
June 2, 2004, 7.00 PM, Evanston Public Library, Evanston, IL
June 25, 2004 8.00 PM, Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa
6) Gavin Grant, Kelly Link, Small Beer Press, Sean Stewart, Jennifer
June 4-6, 2004, BookExpo America
McCormick Center, Chicago, IL
Review of Bittersweet Creek and Other Stories & Other Cities at Tangent
LCRW 13 reviewed:
Luis Urrea interview:
Read a story from LCRW:
Born on the Edge of an Adjective
By Christopher Barzak
The New Yorker on height:
THE HEIGHT GAP
by BURKHARD BILGER
Why Europeans are getting taller and tallerand Americans aren¹t.
Issue of 2004-04-05