Archive for June, 2012

A dark day in Paris

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Village Voice silenced in Paris, Red Wheelbarrow to be emptied too

Not shocking yet still sad, the famed and fabledVillage Voicebookstore on Rue Princess inParis Sixth arrondissment will close its doors for good on July 31. During my early days in Paris, I sat close to Amy Tan as she read, and this is where I met David Sedaris, and made contact with Diane Johnson. Owner Odile Hellier is an incredible woman,  and we love her helpful staff. Bookstores and print journalism are threatened by this new world of electronics.

To  borrow the American Library in Paris lament,” in a letter to friends and patrons, founder and owner Odile Hellier cites the reasons which will surprise no one who follows trends in publishing and bookselling. On-line book retailers such as Amazon and the growing popularity of e-readers, among other market forces, are threatening independent bookstores all over the world.

What is more, when Village Voiceopened its doors in 1982, the St. Germain quartier was funkier. Once known as the “triangle d’or de l’edition” and a cultural crossroads inParis,i, Hellier laments, “the neighborhood has been overrun by fashionable boutiques and bars and lost its attractiveness to book browsers and buyers.”

TheVillage Voiceis familiar to expatriates and visitors alike for its unique offerings of books tucked by the thousands into the tiny space’s nooks and crannies, and for the good judgment and personal attention of its booksellers. What is more, for three decades Odile Hellier’s bookshop has been a coveted rendezvous with readers for an incredibly distinguished roster of American and other English-speaking literary figures.”

So I continue my own lament and comments, the petite Red Wheelbarrow stands on a narrow street in the Marais. This independent shop will also be missed. Shakespeare and Co;, a left-bank cultural and tourist landmark lives on for now.

I remember our beloved Bright Books inSt. Petersburg,Florida. Dear independent bookstores, rest in peace.

Pam’sParis, a bit darker today