Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wandering Around Seattle Bookstores (and Donuts and Ice Cream) Part II--Queen Anne, Third Place Ravenna, Elliot Bay

Situated at the base of Queen Anne in Seattle over a couple of days, I was of course compelled to climb to the top.  Fortunately we had a map of Seattle staircases and I headed up East 2nd, climbing four different staircases and taking one back down to my destination, a Top Pot Donuts on West Galer. Jason and I have ruminated on the joys of a creative donut shop on Downer, which I think hit its peak after we stayed near New York's Donut Plant on a convention trip, but it still periodically comes up.

I wound up tasting five donuts--plain cake (I like purity), blueberry cake, maple-frosted chocolate cake, old fashioned lemon glazed, and another chocolate combo of some sort. As you know, Starbucks had branded some of their donuts Top Pot, but a frozen and defrosted donut is a very different thing from one that at least was made, if not in the shop, then someplace nearby. If you want to know why I am not 300 pounds, I did not actually finish all five.  It was a tasting menu.

Top Pot is not far from Queen Anne Books, our first bookstore of the day.  I had a very nice conversation with Anne (no, not Queen Anne) when she figured out I worked in a bookstore.  How could she not, when every other word to Kirk is "What do you think of this display?" "Is this a good card line?" and so forth. They've done a great job of making their website and ebook options available in the store.  There's strong neighborhood support so I just say this to the Queen Anners--don't just give them lip service, keep buying.

I wound up buying The Hare with Amber Eyes, since I don't have a copy and yet based on the recs from Peter and John and the women from the book club I work with and all the reviews and the Costa Award, we've been selling a lot of copies, both in hardcover and paperback. It seems time to have this book stare at me from the shelves and make me feel guilty for not having read it.

We met up with Carol at the El Diablo Coffee House and headed to Ballard, where we went to the Ballard market and I ate some heirloom tomatoes that scream with flavor and are not mealy or mooshy in the least.  This follows up my two outrageous peaches from Peach o Rama at my new home away from home, The Metropolitan Market on Mercer. Debbie (remember her from yesterday?) had said she missed the Wisconsin corn most of all, but hadn't really known the joys of a peach until she moved to Washington.

In additon to perusing the stalls, Carol led me to some of her favorite home, gift and stationery stores, particularly Camelion Design, her favorite.  She bought some nifty glasses (couldn't find them in the move) and when I realized they were from Roost, I was excited to tell her that I had just picked up this line for the store.  We are going to have some spectacular ornaments this fall, but more on that later, when you care about that sort of thing.  Then we had coffee and quiche at Fresh Flours Bakery.

Off to Ravenna Third Place Books, where new and used mix together in happy coexistence. Airy with lots of recs and very nice stock, and I was quite jealous of their spacious parking lot. Carol and I mused over flat shelves--there are both advantages and disadvantages. If you face books out, you have to use proppers.

We didn't get a chance to talk with anyone (I know some folks from Third Place, but I expected that they'd be at the larger store, and if here, not late on a Saturday afternoon).  Somewhere along the way, Kirk wound up purchasing a copy of Little Bee. When I questioned him on his choice (I think we have a galley and a finished copy), he noted that I was certainly fond of the book and he needed something to read in Seattle, not in Milwaukee where our other books were.  I know, you're going to say something about ebooks traveling with your device. Well, I'm not listening to you.  We wanted to get something from each bookstore and we did.

A little more driving around, and then a visit to Carol's place, where from there, we could walk along Broadway to the new Elliot Bay. Everything I've heard was true--a beautiful space which echoes their old location. Lots and lots of recs. Carol and I talked about Donald Ray Pollack's The Devil All the Time, and she agreed that she should read him (knowing Carl liked it helped the cause).  We started her off on Knockemstiff.  And though she has so many unread books, I felt compelled to give her one of Stacie's favorite new reads, Yannick Murphy's The Call, the story of a large-animal veteranarian in New England and his family.  Let me just say that from what I've read, this is not your parent's James Herriot.

For myself, a copy of Martha Southgate's novel, A Taste of Salt, her novel about a successful scientist who struggles with her less than successful family back in Cleveland.  It's partly because she's working at Book Court and partly because I Lori Tharps recommended it to me and though I have a copy, I never wound up reading her last book.  I'm making amends...because whatever else happens, I bought this one.

Off to Oddfellows with Kirk, Carol, and Jason, touted by Carol and also recommended by our friend John, who was, until he took over Canada, a Pacific Northwest rep.  A little Molly Moon's ice cream, also recommended by Carol (and had the salted caramel, also recommended), and you'd have to say this day was about as bookish as  you can get.

Don't worry--I'm not going to document my every move on this trip.  But I still haven't been to University Bookstore, and there is Vancouver, BC to come.

No comments: