Literary lions! Borough’s best writers salute Community Bookstore

Slopers band together to save ‘Community’ effort
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

Park Slope’s literary community held a lovefest on Saturday to not only honor the 40th anniversary of the Community Bookstore — but also to celebrate its own survival.

More than 800 book lovers defied the supposed death of print to mark the ruby anniversary of the Seventh Avenue shop — and there were the requisite readings of classic Brooklyn prose — but the mood was that of a confident roast.

Novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, for example, thanked pioneering Brooklyn writer Paul Auster and his novelist wife Siri Hustvedt, for persuading him to move from Queens to Park Slope 10 years ago.

Novelist and playwright Mary Morris echoed the idea of the Austers as a team of neighborhood literary boosters, saying that the couple had convinced her and her husband to relocate, too.

“When we moved here, you couldn’t get brunch,” Morris said. “There wasn’t a coffee bar. But the Community Bookstore was here.”

It’s still there, bent, but unbroken.

In 2007, then-owner Catherine Bohne faced a major financial crisis, but customers stepped in with loans to keep the store afloat.

“It would be really sad if places like this folded up,” said Victoria Brazell, a Park Slope resident who attended the post-reading, wine-and-cheese party at the store with her husband, Bill.

Brazell suggested that the event’s huge turnout was a sign that chain bookstores and e-books won’t snuff out indie booksellers in Park Slope any time soon.

“I’m sure e-books are here to stay,” she said, shrugging. “I just can’t get into it.”

That’s good news for co-owners Ezra Goldstein and Stephanie Valdez, who took over the store from Bohne a little more than a year ago — and the pair looked pleased when they accepted a proclamation from Borough President Markowitz.

When it was time for Auster to speak, the ultimate Brooklyn writer offered up poems by George Oppen, whose career as a poet flowered only after he moved to Brooklyn in 1960.

Nearby, novelist Nicole Krauss and Foer, who are married, took turns watching their two young sons in a hallway.

Perhaps the next generation of Park Slope writers?

Community Bookstore [143 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783-3075].