Friday, December 4, 2020

A bookmark and a correction about an old bookstore

About 3,200 days ago, I wrote a "Tucked Away Inside" post about a "book fair" coupon found inside a paperback copy of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. That short post had a significant error. I assumed that the coupons and bookmark were promotions for an annual book sale.

In fact, Book Fair was the name of a bookstore in Baltimore, Maryland. Three demerits for Younger Chris, on account of sloppy detective work.

I learned this when I found another Book Fair bookmark, this one featuring a 1981 calendar and discovered inside a copy of a 1977 nonfiction book cheerily titled The Day Before Doomsday.1

In a 2012 post, the Atomic Books Blog noted this: "Over the years, Baltimore has seen a lot of bookstores come and go. 40 years ago, the city region had over 25 booksellers. Here's how they were described in a city guide called Bawlamer: An Informal Guide To A Livelier Baltimore from 1974, published by the Citizens Planning and Housing Association." Book Fair, which was at 3121 St. Paul Street, was described this way in that city guide: "If you were worn out from rummaging through uncatalogued, dust-laden stacks, this neat, well-stocked, well-organized shop may have been just what you were after."

I'm not sure when Book Fair closed up shop. That address currently has available office space, where an entrepreneur could be a co-tenant with Bank of America and Sam's Bagels.

1. Excerpt from Sidney Lens' book: "It is highly doubtful that a war which kills off as many as two billion people (of a world population of four billion) will end in anything but the cries of the sick and the lash of a dictator demanding more work to bury the dead and speed 'recovery.'"

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