Thursday, June 24, 2004

Bookstore news...

A friend of mine recently sent the following sad news:

Milwaukee has lost a fine book shop with the closing of "The Constant Reader" on Irving Place. For over twenty years, David, the genial proprietor, bought his books carefully and sold them fairly. Other stores in town with ten times the amount of stock, seem to offer nothing. "The Constant Reader" had 15,000 books that seemed to unfailingly and magically, offer everything.

It was also a gathering place for the various eccentrics that give Milwaukee's eastside its special character. Ray, the octogenarian former boxing trainer who would every day lament to all who would listen how his sport had fallen on evil days; Joe, a writer of occasionally clever limericks, who would use the store as an impromptu stage to recite his latest work; they, and many others, were always welcomed at "The Constant Reader." David would listen without complaint and occasionally offer his own perspectives. One of his observations that has stayed with me: a good book is worth four dollars and a really good book is worth six dollars. David sold lots of good books.

It is rumored that the space occupied by "The Constant Reader" will soon be taken by a tattoo and piercing emporium.

I have visited Milwaukee many times. And I always made it a point to stop by "The Constant Reader." My favorite book By The Ionian Sea by George Gissing, I bought at that venerable shop.

Sad news indeed...but at least I know where to go for my next piercing.