Friday, September 16, 2011

Buy a Book Weekend!

Almost 28,000 people have signed the petition to save St. Mark's Bookstore. Cooper Union is still deliberating on whether to lower the shop's rent or let the market forces crush this landmark. Many commenters have said (some rather snarkily), "If everyone who signed the petition bought just one book, they could save the shop." Feeling guilty about spending more time reading blogs than books? Good!

Jen Doll at Runnin Scared agrees. She notes that if all the petition signers "bought a September, the shop would make approximately $405,000. More than enough for to pay the month's rent... But that doesn't happen, not even in the heady days when everyone loved paper."

But it CAN happen. Let's all buy one book from St. Mark's this weekend. Consider it a campaign of unbridled optimism. (And please pass this post on to all your Facebook friends, blog readers, tweeters, etc. The Internet is killing bookstores, might as well use it to try and save one.)

You don't even have to go into the shop--you can sit on your ass and buy it online. It's as easy as Amazon! (If you're one of those Kindle people, you can even buy an evil ebook, if you absolutely insist...the money is going to a good place, so you get a pass. This time.)

St. Mark's Books window

To make your browsing even easier, here are some personal recommendations. Just click the links and go. (Mention "Vanishing New York" when you make your purchase and you might get a free St. Mark's bookmark made of fine artisanal paper hewn from actual trees):

The Art of Fielding is getting rave reviews everywhere. Not New Yorky but definitely on my to-read list.

Tango is a new memoir by downtown performer Justin Vivian Bond. Bond recently got evicted thanks to the demolition of Mars Bar, so buying Tango means you're supporting two East Village "institutions."

I just finished reading By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham and enjoyed the writing very much--it's about a fussy New York art dealer who gets the hots for his wife's little brother.

I also just read Ten Thousand Saints--a great snapshot of New York and the hardcore scene of the 1980s.

Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad is most excellent--more New York, more music, more dystopian technology.

Store Front is the must-have collection of vanishing New York photos by James and Karla Murray.

The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of New York is by one of our blogger pals, Bryan Waterman. Check it out for a rich analysis of city lit.

Miss the sleazy Times Square? The Last of the Live Nude Girls promises to bring it all back in sticky detail.

And who doesn't love Fran Lebowitz?

How about anything by Arthur Nersesian?

If you are in town and you do go into the store, they've got a great remainders table where you can stock up on some excellent titles for cheap.

Tell us what you bought! And finally, remember what John Waters says about anti-bookists: "Don't fuck 'em!"

At the Strand


Dane Vannatter said...

Great recommendations JM. Just bought 3 books on line...

marjorie said...

Thank you, Jeremiah!

I'd also add what I said on the petition -- if you have no kids and are ever in need of a gift for a child, BOOKS ARE THE BEST GIFT. Space is at a premium for NYC parents, and books take up very little -- as opposed to some ungapatchka stuffed animal or clothes the kid probably won't wear. And if you have NO CLUE about children's books, St Marks is a GREAT option. Their selection is tiny (so you won't hyperventilate from too much choice) but extremely well-edited.

AJ said...

Jeremiah, I will do just that, I might even buy a few! I usually agree with most things you say, sometimes I question/disagree about other things, but I absolutely am impressed by your passion and your love for this city. Its a rare thing these days to find people passionate about anything meaningful. I love books so much, and as a younger person I always feel I have to defend myself to my peers regarding actual books. Its been painful for me to see a lot of the established bookstores go under the past few years so I appreciate the call to action!

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks AJ. the fact that you have to defend yourself for liking books is scary--are young people that anti-book? don't let the bastards grind you down.

AJ said...

Sadly they can be. I have always loved reading above most everything else, and you should see my bookshelf at home, its overflowing! I know most of my peers mean well, and it doesnt make them bad people, but sometimes Im appalled at the rate they push things aside for new technology. They look at me like im crazy when I purchase books, or still rent movies from the oldschool video/candy store up the block. P.S I dont know if you have been, but you should check out the video/candy store on 48th and 9th avenue, its been around forever and it makes me happy they are still around.

Jeremiah Moss said...

trouble is, it's an increasing aspect of our culture, to push aside everything for the newest thing. people get pushed aside the same way. the death of books is a canary in the coal mine--an indication that something much bigger is also dying.

i'll add the video/candy store to my list, thanks again.

EV Grieve said...

And, only 3.5 months till Christmas! Woo!

Am with Marjorie — books are the best gifts. Oh, and cash!

laura said...

J, have you heard anything about "an exclusive love" by joanna adorjan (dont know the publisher), & "heart of the city" by ariel sabar (da capo). the second book looks like a good new york read. any comments?

Crazy Eddie said...

Went in person today and bought two.

Casey said...

I was in there browsing last week and already had my eye on a few titles, so will head in there tomorrow and buy 'em up!

Marty Wombacher said...

This is a great idea! I'm going to buy a couple for sure. Plus a fanzine or two, yes they still stock fanzines!

Richard said...

Now this is a great idea. Today I picked up a remaindered copy of Look at the Birdie, a collection of unpublished short stories by Vonnegut I never got around to before, and saw a couple of other titles I'll have to go back for. Thanks for the extra prodding, it definitely helped.

(It also helped that someone proposed a constructive idea rather than offering another petition or just wishing that time would magically turn backward.)

Anonymous said...

This is an absolutely brilliant idea, and I have emailed the link to your post to a bunch of my friends. And I went in there this evening & came home with 5 great books, including one signed by the author!

-cp said...

Just went online and bought three I've been meaning to get for a while: Chronic City, Nemesis and Freedom.

Wonderful idea. I hope we can save this local treasure.

Love the blog.

Anonymous said...

bought three books yesterday. was told business was busier than usual. but they still didn't seem happy