On how local bookshops are battling the stupidity, bigotry, and moral decay of our time. Personally, I would like to find a quiet corner in a nice shop somewhere, put a cot and a coffee pot in there, and just curl up for five or six years until the pendulum swings the other way. Maybe get a couple chairs or couch cushions and a blanket and a flashlight. Possibly a teddy bear. Maybe also a series of 1970s comic books and a slingshot in case anyone tried to come in. Sigh.
In the current climate of anti-intellectualism and widespread disinformation, bookshops can’t help but take a political stance. Some bookshops, such as Gay’s the Word in London, have been dealing with bigoted attacks for as long as they’ve existed, while other shops’ experiences have been more recent. I’ve been in contact with several bookshops who’ve faced attacks, vandalism, and other action from racist, homophobic, and transphobic groups in recent months, and have found that, no matter how disturbing the attack, booksellers have responded with bravery, dignity, and even good humour.