The MacLamity

The News That Stays News, Reported Live

Thursday, October 06, 2005

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I spent a summer of lunch breaks visiting Kepler's, but I'm not sure it was all that. 'Visiting the store," says one customer, "was like going to the movies."' Hmm, no. Not really! It was like going to a bookstore with a decent poetry section and friendly staff but which, like most large, non-chain bookstores, sometimes didn't have what you were looking for. Kepler's didn't do much that Barnes & Noble does better. If a bookstore's going to be non-chain in these day and age, it needs to take a strong editorial line, like Labyrinth (we're for wannabe and actual academics who want to save money!) City Lights (We're for hippy nostalgics!) Shakespeare & Co. (We're for Movable Feast nostalgics and Joyceans and literary 19-year-olds who want to sleep cheap!), and St. Mark's Bookshop (Theory + experimental fiction + oddball magazines + easily digestible coffee table books of hard to digest artists; if MacLamity had 100,000 euros, this would be his library!). Book shops like that may not have what you want, but they do a good job of convincing you that you want what little they have (last time I was at Shakespeare & Co. it seemed like a good idea to buy this. It was the heady atmosphere of Eliot and Joyce and the dirty tables and the thirst to read some hardcore modernistic touchstone and the way the store had done a display of it as if it was the new Michael Crichton. Luckily, i didn't have the cash on me.)