Celebrating Books (and the people who love them)

Celebrating Books (and the people who love them)

May 5, 2014  |  Events, Local Interest

I love bookstores.

Over the years I have conducted an informal study of them. I have favorites here at home, and when we travel we almost always seek out the bookstores in whatever town we are visiting. Each one has its own character: they can be friendly or serious, inviting or mysterious. But always they sweep me away for a while. I love the signature smell of paper and wood, combined perhaps with leather and must and maybe even coffee. And a cat. I’ll never forget the thrill of discovering the Battery Park Book Exchange in Asheville, North Carolina. It was pretty much perfect.

On May 3rd some people who think like me but are much more clever organized California Bookstore Day to celebrate the wonders of independent bookstores. I was delighted, but not surprised, that one of my literary heroes (and imaginary best friend) Neil Gaiman was involved. I’ll let him tell you about the day, and the little book he contributed.

“This edition, the book you are holding, is rather special. It exists in a very small edition and is only available on one day: California Bookstore Day, which occurs on Saturday, May 3, 2014. This day, I am told, ‘will harness the creative power of authors, publishers, and booksellers in a statewide celebration of books and indie bookstores that’s part party, part literary happening, and part sales event.’

This book is one of the many literature-based art projects, unique books, and collector’s items created for this event, on sale through ninety-three independent bookshops on this one day only. If it brings you into an indie bookshop, if it reminds you how amazing they are, and how different, and how idiosyncratic (in the best way) they are, then it will be worthwhile.”

I can quote that because of course I now hold that special little book in my hands, in my home.

Only ninety-three bookstores across the state participated in California Bookstore Day, and one of them — the wonderful Pegasus Books — is right up the street. Again, I’m not surprised. This event seemed made-to-order for our little neighborhood. It was fun to hang out there for a little while and feel the happy. Special books, used books, new ones, in-house recommendations, home-grown music, story time for the kids, great service from enthusiastic booksellers, and even composed-just-for-you haiku. And cookies.

This will likely become an annual event, and many more bookstores will participate. And that’s good. But it sure was special to be there for the very first one. What a party!

Do you have a favorite bookstore? I’d love to hear about it.

Click on an image to enlarge it, and then scroll through the gallery.


  1. Samantha Schoech

    How wonderful! Thank you so much for supporting Bookstore Day!
    CBD Program Director

  2. I love books too, but your pictures of the people who love books are my favorites.

  3. You’re so lucky to have a few cool bookstores to choose from in your area and that you have one right up the street. We have a couple of used bookstores in the village and one where you can linger over books and coffee! I laughed when I saw the Haiku poet. There were duelling poets opposite each other on the same street in New Orleans. Ray made a picture of one of them but we missed the other one. You will have to go and do that for us!

  4. Your village is the perfect village, so it has to have some bookstores!

    Duelling poets is a wonderful mental image. It would be fun to make it a picture. Speaking of New Orleans . . . we must chat. 😉

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