Sunday, April 12, 2009

GBL - Literary Feuds

Although we operate from two buildings a couple doors apart (our Main store and Annex, at 506 and 520 Clement St., respectively) we don't necessarily have the luxury of space. Green Apple is crammed, jammed, stuffed, bursting, stacked, packed, and occasionally toppling over with books, albums, magazines, DVDs, merchandise, greeting cards, and clothing.

Naturally, books are our predominant obsession, and we're always coming up with news ways - and places - to present to you, dear reader, the books we love. Aware of the possible double entendre, I'll risk it anyway: at Green Apple all holes are quickly filled. When an empty spot opens on a shelf or on the floor or even under our counters, we rush to fill it in. Sometimes it feels like we don't have to do anything; it happens naturally. Above all, Green Apple abhors a vacuum.

One of the spaces we utilize is our cramped, highly-trafficked, and intimate landing. (You can really get to know a person after spending some time with him or her there.) The section we call the 'GBL' may seem a bit, well, inconvenient, but its 12 themed bookshelves provide us with a chance to be creative and showcase older books we're not quite ready to let fade into obscurity just yet, or those that are primed for a renaissance.

This week we've come up with several new themes around which to fill our landing shelves. The one I want to write about tonight will explain the shiner Gabriel Garcia Marquez beamingly sports at the top of the post: The Shelf of Literary Feuds.

Featured on this contentious shelf are a handful of literary heavyweights who, for reasons mysterious and obvious, just couldn't get along: Norman Mailer v. Gore Vidal v. Truman Capote; Gabriel Garcia Marquez v. Mario Vargas Llosa (whose fist was responsible for the shiner) and Salman Rushdie v. John Le Carre.

We've provided the scoop on the feuds on the shelf, so I won't get into it too much here, but the story behind the Norman Mailer/Gore Vidal feud is particularly worth recalling:

Norman Mailer was so rankled over a comparison Vidal had drawn years earlier - "From Henry Miller to Norman Mailer to Charles Manson there is a natural progression" - that, upon finding himself at a party with Vidal, he threw his glass at Vidal's head and ran to tackle him. After Mailer was pulled off his nemesis, Vidal quipped from the floor: "Words fail Norman Mailer yet again."

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