Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Cautionary Tale

California Authors caught this strange and troubling juxtaposition: the former owner of Cody’s Books, Andy Ross, is selling his home because of the losses he sustained in opening a San Francisco branch. That Cody’s on Stockton Street will close this week.

Meanwhile, Amazon founder Jeffrey Bezos has just purchased a $30 million estate in Beverly Hills. His new home is 12,000 square feet and has seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

Fred and Pat Cody started their store in 1956. Bezos started Amazon in 1994.


Susan said...

I find that just heartbreaking.

mark andre singer said...

It was certainly instructive and pleasurable to co-chair a panel with Frances: "Reconstructing the Past: When History and Journalism Meet" at UC Berkeley School of Journalism's day-long 2007 Northgate seminar for mid-career journalists, historians, filmmakers and librarians.
--Mark Andre Singer
Here's my "Library Journal" review:
* Nemirovsky, Irene. Suite Francaise. Knopf. 2006. 416p. tr. from French by Sandra Smith. ISBN 1-4000-4473-1. $25. F

Nemirovsky (1903-42), a Sorbonne-educated Jewish emigre born into a wealthy Ukranian family, had planned to write a five-part novel documenting the turmoil of Nazi-occupied France. Instead, she was deported in 1942 and died in Auschwitz. Her daughters hid their mother's notebook in a valise, and it remained unread for over 60 years. This Knopf edition includes the first two books of the projected quintet, as well as appendixes with the author's notes and correspondence, and the preface to the French edition. The latter includes biographical information that tells the remarkable story of the book's provenance. Part 1, "Storm in June," describes the panic and confusion accompanying several Parisian families' exodus to the countryside as the Germans enter Paris. The pettiness of an arriviste banker and his mistress contrasts sharply with his employees' acts of courage--the kind of heroism of ordinary people that history generally does not record. Part 2, "Dolce," relates the complicated relationships between the occupying Wehrmacht army and French peasants, village merchants, and ruling class aristocracy. Some resisted, some cooperated as necessary, while others welcomed the conqueror into their arms. "Dolce" illuminates wartime economies of scarcity, the brutality of martial law (anyone caught with a radio risked immediate execution), and cultural hegemony (church bells were reset to German time). Throughout the narrative, the uncertain plight of two million French prisoners of war and painful memories of previous invasions haunt the characters. In a notebook excerpt, Nemirovsky reminds herself to "simplify" the language and the narrative. The result is a world-class "you-are-there" prom-epic that is essential for all fiction and European history collections.--Mark Andre Singer, Mechanics' Inst. Lib., San Francisco