Posman Books at Ponce City Market is a bright, cheerful store with a good if shallow selection of books. Along with well-stocked shelves, books lie upon tabletops and tucked away in the space below.
The bookstore's Atlanta location is its only one outside of New York City, where it operates at Chelsea Market, a development similar to Ponce City Market and I believe run by the same company, and at Rockefeller Center.
Concentrating more on paperbacks than new hardback releases, Posman like other bookstores offers gifts, cards, buttons and other items. I was tempted by art-deco posters from different Atlanta neighborhoods, but they were not quite distinctive enough.
The children's section appeared ample, covering the entire back wall and jutting down a side wall, but I didn't peruse it, my children's book days now long gone.
Perhaps I overlooked them, but I didn't see a few recently released books, especially bios of Nelson Algren and John Hersey. Now that I think about it, I didn't come across any biography and memoirs section. I was happy that the poetry offerings are fairly extensive.
A high point was a well-laden table of new Penguin Classics deluxe editions, with fresh new covers displaying imaginative artwork. I was tempted by new editions of "The Dubliners" and "Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass," but decided upon "The Portable Dorothy Parker."
What a treat. The book reprints the full text of the original Portable Dorothy Parker, released in 1944, which showcased her famous short stories and witty, mordant poems. The brassy Jazz Age fizz is tinged with bitters.
In the new edition, that original text in augmented by a selection of her acidic theater reviews and essays for the early Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, along with her later work for Esquire. The book also gives a selection of her letters, including a couple of early ones to her father and sister.
The selection makes clear a major reason for the decline in magazines; writers like Dorothy Parker are gone. Today's humorous essayists lack her light touch, her skill at seasoning her sentences with personal asides. Today's young humorists do a lot of throat clearing before getting to the laughs, which all too often fizzle.
Dorothy Parker's barbs fly right to the target, and land with a sting.