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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: madagascar, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Cody's closing for good


Ugh. I just saw this:

“After 52 years, Cody’s Books will shut its doors effective June 20, 2008. The Berkeley bookstore has been a beacon to readers and writers throughout the nation and across the world. Founded by Fred and Pat Cody in 1956, Cody’s has been a Berkeley institution and a pioneer in the book business, helping to establish such innovations as quality paperbacks and in-store author readings. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Cody’s was a landmark of the Free Speech movement and was a home away from home for innumerable authors, poets and readers.”

I’ve had it with this damned emotional roller coaster:

  • Cody’s Books in in Berkeley, California, used to be my favorite bookstore. They shut down their flagship Telegraph store in May 2006. I was very deeply affected.
  • They shut down their downtown San Francisco store in 2007, eighteen months after they opened it, leaving the out-of-the-way 4th Street location as the only remaining Cody’s store. I was disappointed, but learned to deal, still making it out to readings when I could.
  • This March, I was worried when I started hearing rumors that Cody’s was being forced out of their 4th Street location; they were true, but Cody’s bounced back, moving into a beautiful location in downtown Berkeley. I was delighted; Cody’s was back home again, and all was well with the world.

I have compassion fatigue. I’m emotionally exhausted, sick and tired of being sick and tired about this bookstore I used to love. Goodbye, Cody’s. I’ll miss you like crazy. Please, no more medical heroics—just shut down with dignity, and let’s hope those wonderful booksellers can find reasonable jobs someplace else.


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2. Visiting Chicago

BookFinder.com is written in the Perl programming language. Charlie and I attended our first Perl conference this week, YAPC::NA 2008 in Chicago. I enjoyed the conference, and we came back with lots of ideas on software development tools and practices, but one of my favorite parts of my short trip to Chicago was sneaking out of the conference early to go visit local bookstores.

I particularly enjoyed stopping in at Women & Children First, one of the best known indie bookstores in town. Women & Children First sells new books, and is located in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. I’d heard of their reputation for good picks and readings (e.g. they’ve recently hosted events with Jhumpa Lahiri and Barbara Kingsolver). As I expected, their tiny space featured strong collections of Chicago-themed, feminist, and LGBT titles. (I bumped into an old Bay Area acquaintance, now working as a community organizer in Chicago, browsing in the nonfiction section in the back.)

I was taken aback by how kid-focused the store was. While I was there, they were doing a wonderful reading hour for young kids, the best I’ve seen outside of a library; the booksellers had really built a connection with the gaggle of six and seven year olds, reading stories, having them play-act roles, and generally acting more like family than salespeople trying to move product.

The mix clearly works, and boy, do they have fans. While trying to find my way to the store, I asked a few pedestrians for help with directions; every single person I talked to positively beamed while giving me directions. It may be hard out there for local new booksellers, but being able to elicit bright smiles at the very mention of your name is a pretty good indicator that you’re doing something right.

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3. Ilakaka, Madagascar


Ilakaka, Madagascar

Coordinates: 22 40 S 45 13 E

Elevation: 2526 feet (770 m)

Perhaps best known for its abundance of arboreal, mainly nocturnal primates (in fact the only place in the wild where lemurs remain), Madagascar recently discovered another, more lucrative source of natural wealth: precious gems. (more…)

0 Comments on Ilakaka, Madagascar as of 1/1/1990
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4. WSJ on community bookstore rescues

The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting story on the phenomenon of communities “rescuing” local independent bookstores in trouble, via membership programs, loans, or selling shares to the public. Per the Journal, the rescues make for a dramatic story, but some are more effective than others.

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5. Cody's Books moving downtown

We’re delighted that Cody’s Books, our favorite Berkeley new bookstore, is moving to the middle of the city’s downtown arts/business district:

After the widely publicized closing of their flagship Telegraph Avenue store, and the recent closing of their San Francisco branch, they’ve been living out of the single store in the 4th Street high-end shopping area, nestled between Restoration Hardware and a variety of expensive boutique stores — a far cry from their grittier Telegraph Avenue roots.

We do have mixed feelings about the move. Unfortunately, it’ll entail shifting to a significantly smaller space, and dropping some of the categories that we’ve known and loved; I’m disappointed, for example, that they’ll be cutting the computer section; Cody’s used to have one of the best technical book inventories in the area, outside of Silicon Valley and San Francisco proper. On the other hand, we’re also looking forward to having the store (with its great readings series) be much closer to the center of town, and blocks away from our office.

This move also consolidates our downtown’s reputation as a book district, home to Cody’s Books, Pegasus Books, The Other Change of Hobbit, Comic Relief, Half Price Books, Eastwind Books of Berkeley, and Berkeley Public Library’s central branch, all packed into six downtown blocks.

[Now reading The New Kings of Nonfiction edited by Ira Glass]

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