Sunday, December 18, 2016

When the lights go down in the city (Journey)

In celebration of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco and Wardini Books in Havelock North: 

My first connection to this celebrated independent book seller/publisher came when I was at Auckland University doing English, way back in 1977. The university's second hand book sale was a great place to collect weird and wonderful text books and hard to find publications like Ginsberg, Corso, Kerouac, and other beat poets and writers - stuff that I was somehow drawn to at this stage in my life.

Stage 1 English's 20th century American poetry course (omg - YES!!!) also had a Lawrence Ferlinghetti text as required reading - A Coney Island of the Mind. I was on board!

It's taken a while, close on forty years, but I've finally visited the store, in North Beach - still in it's original location. My second visit to San Francisco (first one was more for Samantha and Jesse's wedding so we were a tad distracted), and we cruised past the store.

Luckily, Jacky, Samantha and Jesse were waiting so I had a limited time to browse - otherwise I would have come out with loads of books! 

Instead I bought two volumes of Ferlinghetti's poetry to join Coney Island when I get back home and set up Abbey Road Four (ARF) in Maungaturoto!

In the forward to one, written by Lawrence in 1998, he bemoans the trend away from independent booksellers. Luckily, they are not dead yet!

Wardini Books in Havelock North has been a real find in the last four years. I love Unity Books in Wellington and Auckland. Hopefully, I can find another great little independent book store in Northland!

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