Title: In Praise of Good Bookstores
Author: Jeff Deutsch
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Genre: Books and Reading
Yes, this book starts off on a very boring note, and yes it also tests your patience, but I request you to also endure while reading the first couple of pages, because after that it gets better, and to the extent that you find yourself nodding your head to every observation or thought made or had by Deutsch.
I do not know for how long the bookstore will last. The physical, brick and mortar bookstore – the one that isn’t Amazon or the likes of it. Maybe it will for a very long time, but that also depends on us – the readers. To make them last, for them to not only survive but also thrive. Deutsch has always been a bookseller and he draws from this rich experience of his and gives us a book that makes so many points in praise of good bookstores, and how they are places of discovery and communities should only be thankful to have them around.
At the same time, I wish Deutsch would also speak of people who work for bookstores with limited knowledge of books, and how to work around that, or for that matter the stocking issues as well when it comes to bookstores – the book you want is almost never available. Having said that, Deutsch also looks at the practical aspects of a bookstore – of it as a space – of how qualities like time, abundance, light, and the presence of community make or break a bookstore.
In Praise of Good Bookstores also gets pedantic at times, and the author does quote a lot of literary greats, but it also quickly manages to get the book back on track about the elements most need for a bookstore to be good, great, and the best. It does tend to get caught up in the nostalgia and the old-world charm of a bookstore but also balances it with the real-time situation of the day. I would most certainly recommend this read for a balanced perspective on why physical bookstores are needed and praising the good ones that are around.