About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Monday, March 20, 2017

An Easy Walk

Russian Hill Bookstore
2234 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

There's nothing quite like visiting a bookstore that has been on my bucket list for several years. (See previous post.) Likewise, there's nothing quite like discovering a charming bookstore completely new to me. After my tour of San Francisco's City Lights, I still had plenty of sunny afternoon left for exploration and, according to Google, plenty of possibilities. I settled on one that judging by the map looked to be an easy walk, and off I went to Russian Hill Bookstore. I was enjoying a pleasant stroll through a section of Chinatown . . . and then . . . suddenly before me loomed the all-too-obvious inspiration for the name, Russian Hill. To call this a steep slope would be rather like calling War and Peace just a book. San Francisco natives, I'm sure, would chuckle, but bear in mind that I am from Michigan. We have beautiful sand dunes and maybe some ski hills with such a severe pitch, but not sidewalks. With no end in sight!! Nevertheless, I pressed on in the firm belief that the cross street I needed was just a couple of blocks away. Five blocks later, I encountered an even steeper portion of this “hill,” so steep in fact that the sidewalk became a stair case. That's right. A sidewalk of steps! Ready to meet the challenge, I continued on, thinking that this bookstore had better be worth such bodily aggravation.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

City Lights In the Afternoon

City Lights
Booksellers and Publishers
261 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133

Often referred to as a literary landmark and one of the best independent bookstores in the country, City Lights in San Francisco has been on my bookstore bucket list for several years. What a pleasure it was to finally have a chance to visit this famous bastion of alternative culture. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband was scheduled to attend a conference in the City by the Bay, so I took the opportunity to tag along. San Francisco is full of bookstores, and I would eventually visit four of them. (More posts to come.) But of course, City Lights was the very first stop on my whirlwind bookstore tour.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Just for Fun

Attention all readers who have read and loved Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights or any title by one of the famous Bronte sisters. This YouTube creation is for you. Actually, you may have already seen it. It's fairly old. I'd say it qualifies as an oldie, but goodie. As a matter of fact, even if you haven't read any Bronte books, this is still fun. I love it when the classics inspire fun. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

More For The Bucket List

NYT photo of Patchett in her bookstore, Parnassus
Family and friends constitute one of the great blessings in life, and I am extremely blessed in both regards. Since I started this blog, I have received strong support in my pursuit of bookstores, and not just in terms of praise and encouragement for the blog itself. My son Culver, just one example, provides unflinching editing advice whenever I request it. Several family members and friends have been on the alert for bookstores I might like to visit and happily passed pertinent information on to me. Many of them have accompanied me on bookstore visits, some have facilitated such visits, and most importantly, my husband has been willing to put up with my many road trips. I am blessed indeed.

Recently, my friend Paula brought to my attention a wonderful article in the New York Times by Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder among many other notable titles. The article, “Ann Patchett's Guide for Bookstore Lovers,” provides suggestions from her own personal favorites, some of which can already be found on my bucket list, and others which I am lucky enough to say I have already visited.

One of her “knockout stores that sell nothing but children's books,” Wild Rumpus, I had the pleasure of visiting and writing about, and I can attest that it is indeed a knockout. I have also enjoyed one of the stores that she calls “The Venerables,” Politics and Prose in Washington D.C. as well as one of her personal favorites right here in Michigan, McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey. Patchett's own store, Parnassus Books in Nashville, has been on my list for a while now. There are many others in this article that I gratefully add to my list.

And speaking of my bucket list, here is a preview of a potential coming attraction: Next month my husband is scheduled to attend a conference in San Francisco, and yours truly is planning to accompany him. A quick online search shows that this beautiful city is rich with bookstores, one of which, City Lights, has been on my list from the beginning. Needless to say that I will have plenty to occupy my time while my husband is attending conference seminars.

Stay tuned.  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Books to Movies, 2017

cover art obtained from GoodReads
I realize that some book lovers have no interest in seeing titles they have enjoyed give birth to film counterparts. Some are chagrined at the very idea. I, however, am not one of those people. I enjoy seeing characters and events that have moved me translated to the big screen. With that in mind here is advanced notice of just a few of this year's crop of celebrated books due to be released as movies.

Most notable to me is Wonder by R. J. Palacio, due in theaters in April and starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. This book for young readers tells the story of a boy with a facial deformity trying to live a normal life. I found Auggie's story to be touching, uplifting, and moving. If you haven't read this one yet, I highly recommend it. It's a short read, and there's still plenty of time before the movie comes out, but I suspect there may be waiting lists for library copies.

Another book I recommend is the Jeannette Walls memoir, The Glass Castle, which details her upbringing in a dysfunctional family. Due in August, it stars Brie Larson, Naomi Watts, and Woody Harrelson.

Part action, part adventure, part love story, The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin just began production in December and stars Kate Winslet and Idris Elba.

Idris Elba also stars in the July release of Stephen King's The Dark Tower. Other actors include Katheryn Winnick and Matthew McConaughey.

Additional titles to watch for:

-Captain Underpants by Dave Pilkey, June, animated with the voices of Kevin Hart, Nick Kroll, and Ed Helms.
-The Dinner by Herman Koch, May, stars Richard Gere and Laura Linney.
-The Shack by William P. Young, March, stars Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer.
-A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron, January 27, stars Britt Robertson, Josh Gad, and Dennis Quaid.

and, yes, another installment in the Fifty Shades saga will come out this year.

Happy reading and viewing.