Cometbus #51: The Loneliness of the Electric Menorah
by Aaron Cometbus Author
This issue of Cometbus is a history of the East Bay through the lens of independent bookstores and their mercurial management. Aaron has delved into East Bay history to produce this complex set of interweaving stories. He has done a ton of work on this issue, combining information gleaned from over 40 individuals. The stories are as obscure (to most people) as they are engrossing, and a whole secret history of Berkeley's Telegraph Ave. is revealed. Entrepreneurial booksellers and their long-standing feud, street vendors, and the Symbionese Liberation Army all make appearances. There's also back-story on Cody's Books, Shakespeare and Co., and Black Oak Books. And of course Aaron still manages to personalize it, with a pervasive sense of sentimentality and charm. Although the zine's central focus is on Telegraph Avenue, the underlying story is of the complicated relationship we often have with place.... and of course a great character study of people who are passionate about books, a precursor to Aaron's New York City bookselling stories in issue 56.
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