My Independent Bookstore Day Haul!


Since I don’t want to spend a ton of time online and instead want to spend my Saturday night reading and doing laundry (my how life changes as one gets older), I’m just going to show off my Bookstore Day haul…

My first stop was the wonderful Books Inc. in Alameda, where I met up with friends and went to the Rad American Women A-Z reading.  It is an “alphabet” book of trailblazing American women from Angela Davis to Zora Neale Hurston, and a MUST HAVE for all young girls so they, too, can grow up to be role models.  I must admit I got pretty emotional, especially after Kate Schatz, the author, had her mom read the letter “X.”  I swear, I think I was a suffragette in a past life — every time I vote or hear about historical struggles of women, I cry.

But it was a GOOD cry, because the audience was filled with little girls who were enthusiastic and excited and who will be the future feminists of America.  (Hopefully they will be paid the same amount as their male counterparts, and their bodies will be their own.) It was a beautiful sight to behold.


Continuing that theme, I picked up We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the print version of her TED Talk by the same name.  I read it as soon as I got home, and it was just fantastic.  Accessible and true, it really is a call to action for feminism, simply that women should be treated equally by everyone, and we should raise our children to be aware of that instead of perpetuating gender roles that can do potential damage to girls and boys alike.  And that you can wear lipgloss and clothes you like and love men — or not — and still be a feminist.  That’s what I love about this “new wave” of today’s feminism — it dispels earlier notions and makes so much damn sense.

After Books Inc. I headed to my local neighborhood bookstore, Walden Pond, in Oakland.  I actually had a specific book I needed: Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor.  Which is absurd — I have it in a box somewhere, and I was just at Flannery O’Connor’s house AND farm in Georgia, and I didn’t buy it.  Because I thought I had it.  And now we are reading it for a book club at work (which is going to be kind of weird), and I need it.  I love Walden Pond anyway, but one thing I especially love about it is that they have an actual Flannery O’Connor PERMANENT DISPLAY. How great is THAT?


Alas, the ONE book they didn’t have was Wise Blood!  But I could not leave empty handed — I had to replace my copy of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (I loved it in high school and have been wanting to reread it), and the latest by the brilliant Lorrie Moore, Bark.

And I can justify these purchases because I have 4 flights in the next 2 weeks, and it’s my favorite time to read.  Yeah, okay, to be honest I do NOT need any more books — if I stacked up my “to read” pile it would be at least 6 feet tall, no joke — but what I do need is for independent bookstores to stick around, so I will help out in any way I can.

Besides, what I realized today is that the one place where I feel completely comfortable, other than my home, is in bookstores,  Being surrounded by books is what makes me feel at ease and comfortable — I am VERY good at being surrounded by books.  Bookstores are my temples — I have a lot of friends on those shelves, ones I know, and ones I have yet to meet.  And more than anything I love sharing my favorite books with people.  Today I got to recommend The Secret History, one of my all time favorites, to my friend Jessica.  And I just love that so much.

See?  Look how STOKED I am to be in a bookstore!

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Alas, I didn’t find Wise Blood on Bookstore Day, which means I need to keep it going.  (Maybe it’ll even come into my own little volunteer bookstore where I will be tomorrow morning.)  And believe me, I don’t mind.

Thank you to everyone who shopped at independent bookstores today, and made it such a happy celebration! Okay, off to read and do laundry now…

Day 10: A Book I Like (Number 1)

I’ve really been enjoying this 100 Day Project, and updating my website every day.  I’m proud of myself!  And I find myself thinking of things to write, what I think you might like to read, trying to write short, quick pieces instead of my usual long winded ones, which is actually a challenge.  It’s been fun!

And I keep thinking about structure.  I know it doesn’t matter — it’s my website and I can do whatever I want — but I like the thought.  So I’ll be doing HOT TOPIC call-outs on Wednesdays (I got THEE best suggestion today and I’m thrilled) and posting the finished piece on Saturdays.  I like the whole Throwback Thursday thing, a few free days, and on Wednesdays I want to do a regular “A Book I Like.”

I’m not very good at writing book reviews or copy, but I love recommending books and love it when people enjoy my recommendations. It’s one of my favorite things in the world.  I was a great bookseller! (Well, I still am to a degree on Sunday mornings at The Bookmark, so come on in!) So I’m not going to write lengthy reviews or pithy blurbs — just know if I post it here I think it’s worth going to the bookstore and picking it up.  (And yes, go to a bookstore.  They need your love.)

So tonight I’ll start with the two books I’ve read for the two book clubs I’m in this week, since they are still fresh in my mind. (As I’ve gotten older, I’m starting to forget details and plots of books I’ve read, but can remember storylines and mostly how I felt when I was through. And I do read a lot of books  It’s just that now some of them have fallen out of my head.)

The first one is Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson:


Now, I know some of you will say, “But it’s a kid’s book!”  Stop right there.  So many Young Adult books are better than many adult books these days.  I’m constantly thrilled by this genre, which just keeps getting better and better with talented, lovely writers.  This one is the cream of the crop — it’s absolutely wonderful.  And if you say, “But it’s poetry!” I’ll stop you again.  I normally prefer prose, but good poetry — its use of beautiful language and a story to tell — makes me marvel.  I marveled at this.  Five stars.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan


This one is fun — a quick read, but you think about it afterwards.  I was especially interested because of the tech vs “OK” (“Old Knowledge” = pre-internet = print books ) aspect and I love the bookstore setting.  The beginning is charming, and momentum is quick, and I liked the overall message a lot.  I’ll admit, I wanted it to be quirkier — I guess I was expecting more Tales of the City than a literary DaVinci Code, but I enjoyed that part about it, too.  Perfect airplane reading, which I appreciate the most. And bonus: the cover glows in the dark! Three stars.

Go get them and enjoy!