Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Despite what you may have read (probably online), the printed book is not dead. To prove it, booksellers across the state—those intrepid folks in the trenches, hand-selling books directly to you, the reading public—will throw open their doors this Saturday, May 3, for the first ever California Bookstore Day.

Event organizers have come up with lots of exclusive goodies to entice folks through the mystic portals of our favorite bookselling emporiums. For one day only, bookstores statewide are offering such limited edition items as an illustrated Neil Gaiman short story, The Sleeper and the Spindle, a signed lithograph of an illustration from Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret (which inspired the film Hugo), a Literary Map of California, and a signed and numbered collection of cartoonist Lisa Brown's Depressed. Repressed. Obsessed., a collection of her delicious 3-Panel Book Reviews.

(Here's Brown's take on the Twilight series. If her work looks familiar, her 3-Panel zingers appear periodically in the SF Chronicle Sunday Book Review section.)

All of these goodies and more will be available all day Saturday at Bookshop Santa Cruz—or at least until supplies run out.  Festivities begin at 9 am. with free coffee from Verve for all browsers and book lovers.

In addition, BSC will offer an exclusive, hand-printed broadside featuring a previously unpublished passage about Santa Cruz written, numbered and signed by Jonathan Franzen. A very limited number of these broadsides will be given out to anyone who buys a California Bookstore Day item, or any BSC Reader's Club member making a book purchase of $20 or more.

From 1-3 pm, there will; be face-painting, balloons and storytelling for young readers. And get ready for Literary Trivia Night, beginning at 7 pm—especially if you know the only NFL team named for a character in a poem, or can name the Patronus of every wizard in the Harry Potter series. Teams can compete for cool book prizes, with refreshments provided by Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing.

Visit the BSC website for more details.
Me, I have fond memories of working at BSC back in the '70s as an infant, straight out of UCSC. (And wondering what the heck I was gong to do with a BA in Aesthetic Studies. Answer: Nothing. I ended up going to the movies for a living instead.)

I worked in the airless, frigid textbook department in the basement, where daylight never penetrated. (Note the quaint florescent bulbs.) Sure, it was kind of like working in a mine shaft, but the precious ore we were excavating was books and ideas, in all their messy, infinite variety.

In this digital age, those of us who still love ink-and-paper books are labelled fetishists—a name I wear proudly! How can you wander among the deep stacks of shelves in a bookstore or library and not feel that primordial rustling, the heart and soul of civilization waiting to be reawakened in the pages of a book?

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