Yesterday, I visited Porter Square Books in Cambridge. It is a wonderful independent, local, bookstore and whenever I’m in the area I try to pay a visit. Was a beautiful day so the bookstore was as quiet as I’ve ever seen it, even post-Boston marathon bombing in 2013.*
Started to browse in the front of the store, in the fiction section. My cousin’s 16th birthday is coming up so was thinking about a book for him. And I see this sign: “If you are looking for F. Scott Fitzgerald ask at the counter.” Which I thought was weird, like did I miss something? Did Fitzgerald get banned in Boston and just totally missed it?
This sort of bothered me, while I continued taking a look around the store, found a few gifts in their lovely children’s section which has a nice selection of multi-cultural books and authors, before I checked my watch and I realized I’d lost track of time. So I went to the counter to check out. The clerk rang up my books and I said, “Can I ask you a quick question? Why is F. Scott Fitzgerald behind the counter?” And he was very sweet and explained to me that F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of their top four (4) most stolen authors.
This sort of blew me away and I went to meet my Bookcrossing friends at a Panera Bread Cafe a few doors down. Everyone unpacked the books we swap and trade and got some lunch and started to catch up. And told them my little adventure over a few doors down and before I could recite the rest of the authors — everyone wanted to guess. So that was fun — everyone was contributing names and they got two of them, but the remaining slot was unknown so when they were done guessing I told them.
S. Scott Fitzgerald —
And this was the stumper:
While Bukowski and Vonnegut make sense to me, I don’t really understand Fitzgerald or Hemingway because I think of them as required, high school reading. When our teachers used to just hand out the copies for required reading, but maybe they don’t do this any longer.
Figuring each indie bookstore has their own list–and I should ask and every time I visit one and see what they say.
*In April 2013, the U.S. was still participating in World Book Night. My friend lives in North Cambridge, so she and I signed up to pick up our books at Porter Square Books, and there was to be a sort of party. My friend and I arranged to meet earlier in the day, a sort of belated birthday celebration for me, we saw an independent movie based on a true story about Australian/Aboriginal girls that formed a Motown group and sang for the U.S. troops in Vietnam. During the film, they showed them performing in Vietnam, when there was an attack and they had to run for cover as bombs exploded. Hadn’t been to the movies in awhile and commented to my friend in a whisper — my god this sound system — feels like the building is shaking. Which of course, it was from the bombs going off across the Charles River at the marathon. But we had no idea until we left and went to a nearby restaurant for an early dinner and found out what happened. We went back to her apartment to see the news and call the bookstore to see if we could still pick up the books. Which we did — the party was off but the clerk gave us some cookies they had set up earlier that day. Think she was relieved to see us. My friend actually drove me and the books back home which was very generous of her, because at that point no one knew really what was going on and/or if the attacks were over. Days later, my friend called Porter Square Books and ended up picking up several boxes of books never claimed. She and I managed to give them out/away about a month after.