A Sad Hello From Sarasota

Holidays are great. Holidays in nice houses surrounded by lovely greenery in a nice, friendly town by the sea with great beaches, restaurants and shopping are even better. Sarasota is a marvelous place, and I’m sure I’d enjoy it even more if I was about, oooh, 78.

But we had some bad news the other day. Wandering into Sarasota News and Books, we saw the sign on the door stating that they would be closing their doors on August 31st. This was, to put it mildly, a real shock. Every time we came to Sarasota (this is the fourth time in three years), we’d always come to this great bookshop, and I’d always buy a few books1. There was a good selection, a nice cafe, and the staff were friendly and kind and let our errant son run around causing chaos. What’s more, it always seemed busy; people were always buying something or other, or sipping latte’s in the cafe, and it had the feel of a shop at the centre of its community.

So it’s a terrible shame that the owners can no longer afford to keep it running. It was the heart of a Main Street that’s so rare in modern America – with cafes, independent shops, and only a few random tramps sleeping on the elegant benches. This was one of the shops that kept Main Street alive, and I can see the whole street is going to struggle now. If a great, popular shop like this can’t stay in business, what about that little t-shirt shop? The antiques shops?

I’m lucky that I live in a huge city with such diverse bookshops as the labyrinthine Foyles, the superb John Sandoe, the elegant LRB Bookshop, and the dependable Daunt Books. And this is why I feel so sad that a great shop like Sarasota News and Books is closing, because in a small city like Sarasota – famed for its culture – there’s only Circle Books in St Armands Circle, or the chainstore monoliths of Borders and Barnes And Noble (not that I have anything against chains per se – Waterstones, back in the day, was marvellous, and some stores are still excellent).

Anyway, Creative Loafing has a personal take from MC Coolidge on the closure.

Well, I was going to post “Myopic Books” by American Music Club, but as I don’t have that with me, you’ll have to do with “Cornerstone” from the new Arctic Monkeys album, which I’ve been rather enjoying. Not exactly a one-trick pony this lot, are they?

MP3: Cornerstone by Arctic Monkeys

1 I only brought a couple of books with me on holiday specifically so I could get a few more from this place. That’s how much I loved it. Sniff.

Buy Arctic Monkey’s “Humbug” (CD/MP3)

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