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As word has spread about Olsson’s closing its five stores yesterday, folks have flocked to the testimonials page the bookseller set up. A handful of writers have weighed in with their memories; a selection follows.
Like others above, I first entered the Georgetown store in the early 1980s and spent hours in the stacks finding new favorites. Olsson’s has given readers of DC good service.
And it has given writers in DC great support. When my first book came out two years ago, I was so pleased to give a reading at the Old Town store, where my family made up half the audience. I was getting ready to give a reading of my new book there next month when I got this sad news.
Thank you for everything! May the music and the word go on. —-David Taylor
I am so terribly sad to hear this news. This is a huge loss for the community of book lovers. Ever since I moved to Old Town in 1974, Olsson’s has been part of my life. Upon finishing a good novel, I would walk down to Olsson’s and select another good read from Olsson’s big table or from the shelved staff picks. Olsson’s and I came full circle in July when I did a reading of my own book at the Old Town store. I was proud to be associated with Olsson’s at that event. This wonderful book store exuded a warmth that occurs only when the entire staff truly cares about books. —-Solveig Eggerz
I share the sentiments expressed here (barring #15): vote local with your dollars, folks…it goes a long way toward shaping the kind of world that we live in.
On November 7, 2003, I visited the Arlington store to promote my book, UNFINISHED BUSINESS: THE LIFE & TIMES OF DANNY GATTON (an appropriately DC-centric subject). About 15 people turned out, and they asked me a lot of intelligent questions. After I finished, I also did an interview with Michael Buckley (WRNR-FM).
My favorite moment came from a guy who said, “I used to deliver the Washington Post during the ’70s, and Danny’s house was on my route: lots of barking, [antique] cars everywhere: it was one scary looking house!” All of us in that room shared a good laugh about that one.
I’ve done signings and gigs where the staff barely grunted in your direction, let alone looked you in the eye — that wasn’t the case here! Your staff went out of its way to make me feel welcome, and the clientele definitely came across as true book lovers.
I’d always hoped to come back on the heels of another book, so I’m as saddened as everyone else is here by the news. My best wishes go out to the employees and their families, and — once again — thanks for a great night! You made me feel right at home, and that’s all anybody like me can ask. —-Ralph Heibutzki
I’m terribly sad about the closing of Olsson’s, and the cancellation of my own event there (originally set for Thursday, October 2, for a performance of my new memoir “Mexican Enough”). Thanks to all the staff who have supported my work over the years. I wish you the very best in your next endeavors. Thanks also to the readers/Olsson fans who have written me, asking about my event. I hope to reschedule in the spring. Please visit my website, http://www.MexicanEnough.com, for details.
Stephanie Elizondo Griest