Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Salon: Visiting bookstores in other cities

I went to San Francisco last weekend to visit my husband, who was out in the Bay Area for a long training. I'd been out there before and we had done all of the touristy type stuff the last time we were there. So this time we had no plans. Well, almost no plans. Because when I visit a city, I always want to stop in at an independent bookstore or two. And my husband knows me well enough to not only know that but to plan for it.

My first morning there we wandered from our hotel to the farmer's market to get ourselves some breakfast. As I snacked on lovely grapes, dates, and clementines, we also meandered through the shops in the Ferry Building and stumbled across Book Passage book store. I had no idea it was there but I do have this special super power where I'm a bit like a homing pigeon for bookstores, ending up in front of them even when I have no idea they exist. And if you ever need to give me directions, include the locations of bookstores in your landmarks and I'm likely to find I know exactly where I am going even if it didn't sound like it to start with. So we strolled into the store and I immediately set about building a stack of books to buy. I even convinced my husband to buy two books as well. When we left, we detoured back to the hotel to drop of my new purchases and then my husband gamely headed off with me to visit City Lights book store because one book store is never enough but two might be. I had another nice browse, a friendly chat with the guy behind the counter, and walked away with yet another stack of books to lug home (and my husband got another couple as well).

When we made it back to the hotel after this little pilgrimage, I loaded all of the books into my LibraryThing account and discovered that I had done what I always do; I'd bought a couple that I already own, meaning we'd have to retrace our steps the next day and return them. Meanwhile the credit card company had also called, worried about fraudulent charges on hubby's card. I just snickered. I know we were all the way across the country spending money but I can't help but think that if we'd used my card, they wouldn't have blinked over a large bookstore charge. I have them trained to expect that from me, after all. ::grin::

The following morning after a lovely breakfast with an old friend and his partner, we headed out to return my duplicates. (Don't tell my husband but quite honestly, I was not unhappy with the prospect of going back to the bookstores.) It turns out that City Lights only gives you store credit for returns so I had to browse a little more. The man behind the counter remembered me from the day before and said he was confident I'd easily find replacements.  He doesn't even know me and yet somehow he just *knows* me, ya know?  Not shockingly, I did find more to take home. Then we walked about a billion miles out of our way (apparently Apple maps thought we needed more exercise--maybe it saw all the books I was planning on reading while curled into the couch when I should have been exercising), finally getting back to Book Passage and returning that duplicate as well. Another quick saunter through the Ferry Building shops and I also had a new canvas bag to bring all of my new treasures home since they wouldn't all fit in the small bag with which I had arrived. Now I just need to feed them all into my bookshelves here, provided I have room (I probably don't). Good thing I'm in the middle of reorganizing the shelves anyway! Oh, and I've already read one of the books I brought home with me: Marry Me by Dan Rhodes. So it doesn't even have to languish on my tbr shelves like the others. But even if I don't get to them in a timely manner, whenever I see them on the shelves, I will remember this latest San Francisco trip and smile.

This week I not only took a real trip, I visited many places and situations between the pages. I inhabited a nursing home for teenagers with physical and mental disabilities. I experienced early twentieth century Yorkshire and a coal mining town from both a working class and an upper class perspective. I dipped into brief, blackly humorous snapshots of love and marriage. I traveled to France with a group of Gold Star mothers on a pilgrimage to visit their sons' graves. And now I am visiting the Southern childhood and memories that created a writer. Where did your weekly reading take you?

16 comments:

  1. Well Kristen, it certainly sounds like a GREAT time! And I love exploring new book shops! Hmmm, which book are you reading about the Southern writer?

    Enjoy your week!
    Suzanne @ Chick with Books

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  2. Haha, this sounds so much like me, down to the fraudulent charges. But visiting "foreign" bookstores is the best!

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  3. Wish I had my hubby's card to rack up book charges. Sounds like a fun time!
    Harvee
    Book Dilettante

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  4. What a wonderful trip!!! I am a little green with book envy!! Happy Reading!!

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  5. My weekly reading took me from the bottom of England to the top of England (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry). When you mentioned San Francisco at the start of this post, I was wondering if you were going to go to City Lights. I'm glad to see you got there. It definitely would be somewhere I would go, if out there too as I remember reading Ferlinghetti in college.

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  6. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip to San Francisco! Enjoy your new finds!

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  7. Sounds like a fun way to spend your holiday!

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  8. This sounds like so much fun!

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  9. Sounds like a wonderful trip! I lived in Monterey, California many years ago and visited San Francisco a few times, but don't think I ever went to Book Passage or City Lights. I did go to a Bob Seger concert at the Cow Palace though. Enjoy your books!!

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  10. Oh, I love browsing in bookstores, and that treat is so rare these days. Sounds like I need to get to SF soon!

    Enjoy the books...and thanks for visiting my blog.

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  11. Book piles are so satisfying. I love the feeling of having a whole pile of books I can read. This week my reading journey took me to Utopia, a farm with people very set in the ways, but soon to be changed by a young orphan, and now, Lilliput. Ideally I'd be exploring London's Victorian streets with my trusty doctor friend, but I have to focus on class book lists for now.. ;)

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  12. My favorite part of going through Heathrow - other than the fact that I am going to London - are the plethora of WH Smith's and all those "foreign" books. Always come home with a stack!

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  13. What a fun trip! You had me at Farmers Market and bookstores!

    Joy's Book Blog

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  14. It's been a long while since I've been to SF, but I know one thing, I don't think my dh would have been a good sport like yours was with all the bookstore travels:) enjoy

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  15. Sounds like a very productive trip.

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