Some summers ago, on a warm night in Harvard Sq., I wandered past a space that had been empty since Wordsworth Books shut down several years before. To my surprise, that storefront was well-lit and active again — in fact, hyperactive: there was a greeter, or barker, posted outside. It being Harvard Sq., not Coney Island, this was not the norm. I went in.
This space that had once nattily showcased thousands of books — classics of fiction, science, philosophy and history; glossy new titles packed so steamily together it seemed sexual congress among them was quietly underway; an airy children’s book section — this venue so good for ogling books and people was now every inch taken up with wall panels, posters, and texts announcing atrocities and mass murders that had somehow slipped my notice.