Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

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Tag: Pennsylvania

“In the Furnace” by Joe Kraus

You have to go down a lot of steps to get to what’s left of the furnaces, so not many people come here. That’s why I use this place, but it got me thinking all the same. This was where it started, where – like the historical marker says – we made the steel that won the Civil War. Now it’s four ruined rock walls. This used to be the heart of the city, or maybe the lungs for the great bellows it had. Now it’s broken and useless. The city’s own black lung . . .

“Sugartime” by Erik Arneson

I was running a dust cloth across the top of the glass display case housing my most prized first editions—Hammett’s The Dain Curse and Christie’s Perilat End House among them—when the bell above the door jingled and a middle-aged man stepped into my used bookshop in Philadelphia’s Spring Garden neighborhood. His cashmere trench coat made me hopeful for a big sale, but the ratty Yankees cap and knockoff sunglasses he didn’t remove gave me pause . . .


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