Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bookstore Visits in San Francisco

How can one go to San Jose and not spend a few days in San Francisco? Fortunately I had some meetings with other booksellers here, giving me some good companions for this sort of outing.

We're staying at the Hotel Rex, part of the Joie de Vivre restaurant group. Years ago I remember reading that all their boutique hotels were inspired by magazines, and this was supposed to be The New Yorker. Lots of books around. I've heard that the founder's book (Peak) is quite good. I once stayed at another of their hotels, the Commodore, only to find it is now a dorm for a nearby art school.

We all went down to see Book Passage's store at the Ferry Terminal. Just beautiful, particularly the picture window, framing boats in the harbor. For some reason, I always thought it was mostly cookbooks, but it's a full-line bookstore. I bought some very nice cards.

I couldn't do the full tour, being rather tired, so I opted out** and did a quick trip to Green Apple in the Richmond neighborhood with my friends David and Arsen from Boulder Book Store. I've been rather obsessed with seeing the store since they did those crazy videos of a book competing with a Kindle. It was really off my radar on my previous trips to San Francisco, but thinking about it, I really haven't been in a number of years.

The store is a cluttered delight, not quite mixing new and used, but they are certainly adjacent. There are lots of hand-written signs, many of them funny. Lots of surprises, sort of like Powell's crazy uncle. And Powell's is already somebody else's crazy uncle, maybe Boswell's*. And you understand I mean crazy in a "I wanna be like that" way, not the straitjacket way.

I bought a nice tee shirt and a copy of Joel Best's Stat-Spotting: A Field Gide to Identifying Dubious Data. I enjoyed his Flavor of the Month, which I read several years ago.

Then Burmese food at Mandalay (prawns and okra) and back to the hotel for an early night (9:30, really). I'm worn out from this traveling.
*Being so large, Powell's is also a lot of other relatives.
**I'm hoping to get a friend to drive me there tonight, when I'm more rested.

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