Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Author Events at Recycle - Sunday Signings & RBC Meetings

We have got a ton of author events coming up.  Take a look:

Sunday, June 19 - book signing - 9:30-12:30, Paulette Bordeaux, Mulberry
Sunday, June 26 - book signing - 9:30-12:30, Ruchi Rai, A Conscious Peace
Wednesday, June 29 - RBC - 6:30-8:00, Paulette Boudreaux, Mulberry
Sunday, July 3 - book signing - 9:30-12:30, Betty Auchard, Living with Twelve Men
Sunday, July 10 - book signing - 9:30-12:30, Adam Henig, Under One Roof
Sunday, July 17 - book signing - 11:00-2:00, Aria Glazki, Mending Heartstrings
Sunday, July 24 - book signing - 9:30-12:30, Joshua Russell, Little Boy Soup
Wednesday, July 27 - RBC - 6:30-8:00, Toni Piccinini, The Goodbye Year
Sunday, July 31 - book signing - 9:30-12:30, Audrey Greenhouse, The Neverland Wars
Sunday, August 7 - book signing - 9:30-12:30, Alfred Jan, A Gelett Burgess: Ethics & Aesthetics
Sunday, August 28, book signing - 9:30-12:30, Alina Sayre, The Illuminator Rising (book #3 - Voyages of the Legend series)
Wednesday, November 16 - RBC - 6:30-8:00, Toni Pacini, Alabama Blue

1.  June 9 - Joshua Russell (the same last name as mine is NOT a coincidence) - Little Boy Soup
2.  July 17 - Daniel Silva, The Black Widow (#16 in the Gabriel Allon series) - no CA appearances

Check out this mobile library:

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Walter Mosley's 14th Easy Rawlins Mystery - Charcoal Joe

Back on February 27, I wrote a review of Walter Mosley's 1st Easy Rawlins book, The Devil in the Blue Dress.  I didn't love it, but I did give it a 2.5/4.  I also told you how I came to read book 1, and how I was planning on reading the latest in the series, #14, Charcoal Joe.  Well, I did.  And I can see a pretty big development from #1-#14.  This one gets a 3/4 from me.  And it does make me even more excited to see Walter Mosley on June 16, at Kepler's.  After all, he is the winner of the 2016 Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.  That is cool.

When you read a series with a fair amount of episodes, the plot is pretty insignificant.  I mean, do you care who Gabriel Allon will save in the next Daniel Silva?  Nah.  Same here.  But that doesn't mean I don't have anything to say (perish the thought!).  Some observations:

1.  I really liked the relationship between Easy and his daughter, Feather.
2.  One of the ancillary characters, Fearless Jones, ends up arm wrestling with a big cocky auto repair shop bully.  I found myself looking forward to the match.  I guess that means I cared about not only Easy and Feather, but also Fearless.
3.  Very late in the book, Easy and Feather meet Fearless at the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood.  My mother told me a story about her and my father.  Many, many years ago, they went to dinner at the Brown Derby.  When the maitre d' went to seat them, my father said "We don't sit in this room."  So he took them into a private room.  And inside were a whole bunch of stars, including a table that had Sharon Tate and Roman Polaski.  And, of course, we all know what happened with Sharon and Charles Manson.  My father had a lot of chutzpah (a good Yiddish word; look it up.
4.  Mosley still made me tear up once or twice.  I didn't do that in book 1.

I still want to give you a few examples of his writing:

1.  "Uncontrollably his left knee was bobbing up and down like a seamstress's joint working a foot-powered sewing machine."
2.  "Mouse was a colorful man, his beauty defined by the distance one had from him."
3.  Deciphering his age would have required an algebraic equation that depended upon the variables of smoking and liquor consumption."
4.  "Walk softly wherever it is you goin'.  You know Charcoal Joe is a tombstone just waitin' for a name."

I can go on and on.  Suffice it to say that I really like his writing.


1.  J. Ryan Stradal, author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest, will be coming to The Wine Steward, at 641 Main St., in Pleasanton, CA, on Tuesday, June 7, at 3:00.  Since I read Kitchens for Books, Inc. 4th Tuesday Book Club, back in 2015, and gave it a 3.25/4, I will definitely be there (and I don't even drink wine!)
2.  The 3rd book in Greg Iles Natchez Burning trilogy will be coming out in 2017.  That's all the info I have so far.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Do you remember when Ann Patchett bought a bookstore a few years ago?  And how that had an impact on print book sales?  Well, now it's Judy Blume's turn.  Take a look.  (P.S. There's absolutely nothing wrong with ebooks or audiobooks.  It's just that for me it will always be print.)

The beloved Judy Blume, on why indie bookstores are thriving!

At 78, the multimillion-selling author has begun a new career, opening her own bookshop – and joining a business sector that’s flourishing again in the US

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney - A Big Surprise for Me

You all know that I have a tendency to disagree with most everybody when it comes to literary fiction bestsellers.  By the time I get to them, they have been hyped ad nauseum, and there's just about no chance for the book to live up to the buzz (The Girl on the Train anyone?).  So when Margie Scott Tucker, the Books, Inc. impresario who runs the 4th Tuesday Evening Book Club in Palo Alto, told us last month that The Nest would be our May book, I thought (petulantly, I might add) "Do I have to?"  But because I enjoy the book club so much (even when Meg Waite Clayton doesn't come), I figured what the heck.

In my typical long-winded fashion, I'm trying to say that I was way wrong.  The Nest is not only very good, it's actually going to go on my rec table at Recycle Books.  I ended up giving it a 3.5/4 (which is the minimum rating to have the privilege of being selected for Sunday mornings), but I have to say it's one of the best-written, but still readable, books I have read in a very long time.  I know that's saying a lot.  It's one of those books where every word, I thought, was perfect.  These are the kind that are usually too literary for me, but that wasn't the case with The Nest.  Why am I not giving it a 4/4 or even higher?  Only because the story and characters didn't blow me away.  I liked it and them, but not ferociously so.

Instead of telling you specifically what the book is about, let me quote a paragraph on the inside flap of the cover:

The Nest is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend on one another, and the ways we let one another down.  In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.

Let me list some of the best features of this book:

1.  The prologue grabs you immediately and makes you want to read on.
2.  You feel you know the characters, and find them interesting, as soon as they appear.
3.  Especially as the book moves along, you find that you are looking forward to the next chapter and to which central character hits the spotlight.
4.  The Nest is proof that I don't have to do a bunch of crying in order to like a book a lot.  In fact, I did almost none.
5.  It's fun to read a story about a bunch of dysfunctional characters and see how, or whether, they progress into functional characters.
6.  I can't believe that this is a debut novel!

I've told you how well-written it is.  But there are still just a few passages I want to quote for you:

"He would sing into her ear, his voice pockmarked from whisky."  How great a word is pockmarked?
"The quick pulse at the corner of her eye was beating as if there were tiny wings trapped beneath the skin."
"...the humidity crept northward and eastward, slowly making its way up the Jersey shore until it settled over the city like a clammy, uninvited embrace..."

I could go on.  Her use of the English language is just outstanding.  But the story and characters are very good too.  I think everybody would like this at least a little bit - even an old curmudgeon like me!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ann Bridges' 2nd Novel, Rare Mettle, Is a Hot Topic for Current Events

On March 11 of this year, I wrote a review of Ann Bridges' Rare Mettle.  It's a fictionalized account of a very non-fictionalized current event.  The fact is that China owns 97% of rare metals that are used in a whole bunch of digital devices - the iPhone, for example!  Well, as you can see from Ann's post today, this whole situation is hitting the news.  Take a look.  And if you want to hear about it straight from the author's mouth, then get over to Books, Inc. in Mt. View next Thursday, May 26th, at 7:00.  That's the date/time/location of Ann's official launch of Rare Mettle, her 2nd book, following her debut novel, Private Offerings.  I guarantee you will find the author and the subject matter  fascinating.

Many of you have actively supported my efforts to bring a little known topic to light through my novels, that of our region's and country's reliance on China's supply of rare earth metals and the potential impact on our economy and national security. No matter your opinion on the broad geopolitical issue or the range of possible solutions, not talking about it creates even greater risks. Fiction has often been used to kick-start change in attitudes and policies. Remember To Kill a Mockingbird? The Kite-Runner?
I would appreciate it if you would reach out and respond in some way to today's San Jose Mercury News column (link below), and make your perspective known on what we need to do to take corrective actions for a sustainable future. No need to be a expert--simply saying you are concerned is enough to let Silicon Valley leaders know they can no longer avoid the discussion, and respond appropriately.
Well respected columnist Scott Herhold did his research, and understands the basic issue of over-reliance on China and its potential repercussions; the brain-drain to China; the over-emphasis on the E in STEM (including telling young women that coding game apps makes them "scientists"), not the S; and our dwindling resources.
Use any and all social media, email him, call him, write a Letter to the Editor, use this with any Silicon Valley or global contacts you want who might want to join in with the discussion, forward this email on. If we can raise awareness here, it will have positive global repercussions. 
Thanks, and let's grab this opportunity. Rare Mettle only has one release date--today.
Ann Bridges
Connecting Generations through Novel Ideas

Author of Private Offerings* and Rare Mettle
*Named in 10 Best Business Books of 2015 by Wealth Management Magazine

website: www.AuthorAnnBridges.wordpress.com
publisher: http://balcony7.com/authors/ann-bridges/

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Another Review of Another Local Author - Two Among the Righteous Few: A Story of Courage in the Holocaust - Marty Brounstein

On April 30, I gave you a lot of details about seeing Marty Brounstein at the JCC in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day.  You can take a look at that to learn a lot about the Roman Catholic couple in The Netherlands who either harbored several dozen Jews during WWII or, if not, got them sequestered in other homes.  But everything I told you back then was based on seeing Marty live.  Now I have actually read the book.  And I have come away with even more facts:

1.  Of the 140,000 Jews living in The Netherlands at the time WWII started, 107,000 died!
2.  Germany attacked The Netherlands on May 9, 1940.  I read about that attack on May 9, 2016.
3.  The 1st person to live with the Wijnakkers was a 14-year old girl named Shulamit Laub.  "Shula" was a friend of Anne Frank.

Let me point out that for those of you who have not had a chance to see Marty in person (do it if the opportunity arises) you will be blown away by this book.   I saw him, and I was still totally engrossed in the story.  Do yourself a favor and get your hands on Two Among the Righteous Few.  It's an important story well-told.

2 MOVIE NOTES:  You know how I love to talk about movies that come from books.  Well, I've got two of them for you -
1.  I just found out that A Man Called Ove is a movie that they came out in Sweden this past December.  I don't know anything else about it.  Does it have English subtitles?  Beats me. Can you even get it in this country?  Dunno.  But I would love to see it.
2.  We all have a soft spot for Roald Dahl books.  I specifically remember reading The BFG to our youngest child, Lauren, when she was probably around 7.  But guess what?  Her older sister, 12, and brother, 15, listened too.  It's really hard not to.  What does this have to do with movies?  Yep, you're right.  It's coming to theaters July 1.  It's live action, and it's directed by Steven Spielberg.  Go on YouTube and type in Disney's The BFG - official trailer 2.  If you have any connection to the book, like I did, you might even have a happy tear or 2 just watching the trailer!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Under One Roof, by Adam Henig - A Look at MLB Spring Training and Integration

Adam Henig has written a very interesting book about what for most of us is a little known fact.  This is about racism in Major League Baseball during Spring Training in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The year is 1961, and the teams in question were the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals.  Ralph Wimbish, a well-to-do-black doctor living in St. Petersburg, was determined to put an end to it.  Jon Wilson, a sports writer in Tampa and an author, said about Under One Roof: The Yankees, the Cardinals, and a Doctor's Battle to Integrate Spring Training:

This book will need to be on every baseball historian's shelf, but also every civil rights historian's shelf and it is a must-read for those who cherish Florida history.
This is a short book (100 pages) and a very quick read.  But Adam gives us sports buffs (and everybody else, too) a slice of history that is definitely well worth knowing.  The amount of crazy facts that he gives had me shaking my head on a number of occasions.   I even had a "Wow" and "Unh" thrown in there, along with a big smile near the end of the book when Adam tells us about Ralph's wife, Bette, and their kids.  In fact, Ralph Wimbish Jr. wrote the forward for the book.

Here are a couple more quotes:

There should be a life-size statue of Dr. Ralph Wimbish on the streets of St. Petersburg. Dr. Wimbish was to this city what Dr. Martin Luther King was to the country. Adam Henig's terrific new book, Under One Roof, beautifully tells the whole inspirational story.  - Peter Golenbock, author

Adam Henig's painstaking research shines a light on a special man, Dr. Ralph Wimbish, whose courage and resolve eased some of the pain brought by racial segregation.  Under One Roof is a baseball book-and much more. - Bill Stevens, Tampa Bay Times

I reiterate that you don't have to be a sports fan to appreciate this book.  This is another little slice of history that all of us can appreciate.

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Review of Marina Adair's A Taste of Sugar - Our RBC (Romance) Author for May

You all know that I like a good romance - on occasion.  Well, having Marina Adair as our RBC author for May was a good reason to read A Taste of Sugar, book 3 in the Sugar, Georgia series.  If I'm going to lead any kind of discussion for book club (the RBC members might question my use of the word "lead!"), then it probably behooves me to read the book. So I did.  And since this is a romance, then you would expect me not to have too much to say, right?  I mean, it's just a romance.  If you thought that, then you would be WRONG.  I have a lot to say about A Taste of Sugar, starting with a synopsis.

Charlotte Holden, Sugar's favorite pediatrician, knows better than anyone that love only leads to heartbreak. Instead, she's focused on creating the Grow Clinic, an outpatient center for children. All she has to do now is to host the best Founder's Day Parade in the history of Sugar, Georgia, to win over a big-city donor. Easy as peach pie. Then sexy Jace McGraw blows back into town and utters those three words every woman dreads: we're still married.

Jace McGraw was making an offer on his dream business in Atlanta when he was told that his wife had some credit issues. Wait, his wife? The annulment went through years ago-or so he thought. He'd walked away only to keep his troublemaker reputation from ruining her dreams. But now that they have a second chance, Jace offers Charlotte a deal: he'll grant a discreet divorce in exchange for 30 days and nights of marriage. Because this time he isn't going to let her go without a fight.

Do you remember how much I liked all of the supporting characters in A Man Called Ove? Well, the same applies here.  Aside from the romance between Charlie (Charlotte) and Jace, which, of course, is the main focus of the book, there are a few townspeople that add a lot to the enjoyment of the book:

1.  Hattie McGraw, Jace's grandmother - she adds both humor and poignancy to the story
2.  Lavender Spencer, owner of Kiss My Glass Tow and Tire - very caustic and extremely funny
3.  Payton McGraw, Jace's niece - she comes into the picture later in the book but adds a lot of depth
4.  Darleen Vander, Charlie's foil - she is trying to unseat Charlie as the chairman of the Sugar Peaches AND get her hooks into Jace
5.  Woolamena - you'll just have to read the book to see who this character is (the 1st 4 letters could be a hint)

I've talked ad nauseum (and beyond) about connecting with characters - regardless of the genre. I will say that there were quite a few emotional moments in this book.  Interestingly enough, most of these moments came from Jace - with Hattie, with Payton, with his brothers Cal and Brett.  This is not to say that I didn't like Charlie or even Charlie with Jace. Because I did.  But if we're talking tears, big smiles, and a few chills, then it's Jace for me. (Uh, maybe I should reword that?)

Oh, did I already tell you that the book is very well-written?  No?  'Cause it is.  There were a bunch of chuckles, lots of tears, and plenty of smiles.  Other than girl gets guy/guy gets girl, I'm not sure what else you can ask for from a romance.  I liked this a lot.  If you're in the mood for something a bit lighter than War and Peace, give it a go - even if you're not reading it for a book club.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Local Author TJ Reilly's 1st Book - Ladies Invited, A Jack Oatmon Thriller

Since TJ Reilly is a new author, and Ladies Invited is the start of a new series, let me go right to the back-of-the-book blurb.

A kidnapped Russian sex slave is brutally beaten, shot and left for dead in a Hollywood alley.  An escort service controlled by the Russian mafia is responsible.  Homeland Security Special Field Agent, Jack Oatmon, is on assignment with the LAPD, where his investigation tracks the suspects to Europe.  Sent to Paris as part of an elite Interpol task force, he confronts a shockingly corrupt bureaucracy, and cold blooded killers.  Innocent Americans Nikki (spelled the same as our own RBC long-time member) Dunn and Rick Asher get caught in the crossfire, and Jack is forced to send them on the run to stay one step ahead of a ruthless assassin.  Convinced the task force has been compromised, Jack Doesn't know who to trust.  Can he figure it out in time?

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?  I actually enjoyed it a lot.  What did I like about Ladies Invited?

1.  It grabbed me right away.  I had emotional reactions as early as pages 16 and 21.  And a combo of smiles, chills, and tears on both 28 and 30.
2.  I liked the description of Jack's background.  It reminded me of Jack Reacher, from the standpoint that it strongly appears that every episode will take place in a different locale. Even this one has scenes in LA, Paris, and Florence.
3.  I got to reminisce about being at the Eiffel Tower (only half-way up - that was high enough!), the Musee Rodin, and the Louvre, all in Paris.  And the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.  Our trip was 5 years ago this coming September.  But when I read about the same sites we visited, it feels like yesterday.
4.  The whole sex slave thing continues to make the news.  It felt to me like TJ had researched it so that he could make his story realistic.
5.  There are chapters where a bad guy gets to speak in the 1st person.  I like when that happens.
6.  I liked how TJ drops hints as to a future problem.  It's fun to be on the alert for the consequences of an action taken earlier in the book.

You can never be sure that you're going to like a book enough to continue with a series.  I would say that Ladies Invited is worth testing.  Then you can make up your own minds. Mine is already made up.  I'm coming back for #2.

TV MOVIE ANNOUNCEMENT:  You've all heard, by now, of Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  In fact, I posted a review of it on January 19 of this year. Well, last week Oprah announced that she is going to produce a feature-length movie for HBO AND will star in it as Henrietta Lacks' daughter, Deborah.  Shooting begins this summer.  I will keep you updated.  

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia - by Jean Sasson

You know, it can be a bit trying to keep up when you belong to 3 book clubs.  For the RBC, most of the books I have read beforehand.  And sometimes I'll get lucky that the Los Gatos Library Tuesday Evening Book Club or the Books, Inc. 4th Tuesday Book Club will pick a book that I've already read.    But if none of that happens, I might be reading a couple of book club books each month.  Having said all of that, and even acting a little bit as if I'm unhappy with that arrangement, the truth is that it's really cool.  I've told you many times how lucky I am to be in an area where there are so many local authors that I get to meet. And how that has led me to reading books in genres that I would normally never read.  But that's also true of these book clubs.  Most of the time the books we read are in the literary fiction or memoir category.  But they are also books that I would never even think to read. Princess is one of those.

The complete title (see the heading) kind of tells all.  But I'll give you one short blurb:

Princess recounts the true story of Princess Sultana Al Sa'ud, a princess in the royal house of Saudi Arabia.  Hidden behind her black veil, she is a prisoner, jailed by her father, her husband and her country.

Princess is actually the 1st book in a trilogy.  This one takes place mostly in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.  It tells us Sultana's story from childhood through the early years of marriage and children.  You may have seen this story from me before.  That's because on January 28, 2015, I wrote a review of a memoir written by Bay Area author Laila El-Sissi.  Her book, Out from the Shadow of Men, told of her childhood in Egypt around the same time as Sultana's in Saudi Arabia.  Although they are 2 very different countries, both Laila and Sultana had very similar upbringings.  Princess just confirms what Laila says about growing up in an ultra-conservative Muslim household.  Different country, same restrictions on women.

And like Laila's book, I appreciated the opportunity to learn about another culture.  While I was growing up in the Bay Area, where boys and girls had mostly the same freedom and independence, Sultana was growing up in a country where subservience for women was the norm.  I do have to say, though, that Sultana grew up in a royal family.  So even though she was treated differently than her brother, and so many other royal princes, the fact remains that she was very privileged.  She took such things as unlimited clothes and trips and servants for granted.  I know it wasn't easy playing 2nd fiddle to the males in her family. But it's probably a little less onerous when you can have anything you want and around-the-clock maid and servant service.

Besides being very interesting and very informative, it's also very well written.  Jean Sasson is an American-born author who has made it her mission to write about the inequities that women face in the Muslim world.  If Princess is any indication, she is doing a lot to make us non-Muslims more aware of what Muslim women often faced (and still face) in conservative Muslim countries.  I strongly recommend this book to everybody.  And I'm definitely looking forward to the discussion at the Los Gatos Library from 6:30-7:30 on Tuesday night, May 17.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Illuminator Rising - Book 3 in The Voyages of the Legend - by Alina Sayre

You know how you feel when you see old friends for the 1st time in nearly a year and a half?  It takes a few minutes (pages) to close that gap.  And then it's like you were never separated.  Do you know what I mean?  Well, that's what happened to me when I started reading The Illuminator Rising, book 3 in The Voyages of the Legend fantasy series.  It's geared to middle graders (8-14) but can very easily be appreciated by any reader of any age.  And when I started reading about Ellie, Conner, Vivian, Jude, Owen, and all the rest, I felt like I had just reconnected with old friends.  It doesn't get much better than that, does it?

In my reading time on earth, I have read quite a few series.  Some I have read, and continue to read, religiously (because reading is, after all, like a religion).  In others, I may read a few and then say, "Done!"  And there are those where I read one and simply say, "Next series!"  Alina Sayre's The Voyages of the Legend lands squarely behind door #1.  I love this series.  When I wrote my review of book 2, The Illuminator's Test, on November 24, 2014, I listed all of the reasons that make this series work for me.  I am cheating and copying this list from that review.  Almost all of the same comments apply:

1.  It's very well-written.  You gotta have that.
2.  Because all of the main characters are together, you get to see right away what happens just by starting the next chapter.
3.  Alina has a glossary of names, with pronunciations (which you have to have in a fantasy), in the back of the book.
5.  #2 really moves the story forward.  Instead of being just another episode, it actually has our heroes/heroines transitioning from one geographical location to another.
6.  It's fun to get a history of the One Kingdom, with it's supreme leader and his right-hand-ers.
7.  Oh, and let's not forget that I shed a few on pages...oh, never mind.  There are too many to list.  I will say, though, that very near the end I cried and laughed at the same time, which had waterworks rolling down my cheeks.  No big deal, right?  Uh, did I forget to mention that I was walking on the treadmill in the gym at the time?  I believe there might have been a curious look or 2 thrown my way!

Let me add just a few more comments based on my reading of #3:

1.  The characters are so memorable that you will remember most of them immediately - even if you haven't read #2 in a year and a half!
2.  There are a number of scenes where you will say:  "Yep, that's what a 13-year old boy would do."  Or "Yep, that's what a 13-year old girl would say."
3.  Alina still mixes in some light-hearted humor.  Anything stronger probably wouldn't fit the story.
4.  The main protagonist (Ellie) and the protagonist-ettes are really perfect for middle grade readers.
5.  And to reiterate (and expand on) #7 above, I definitely shed some tears.  But I also had smiles, chills, and laughs.  There is also a possibility that I said "Yay" and "Oh, no" a couple of times.  But none of you can prove it!

If you have not read books 1 & 2 yet, PLEASE DO THAT!  And then grab #3 when it comes out in early June.  And if you don't want to read middle grade-oriented books, please see to it that the middle graders in your life get their hands on The Voyages of the Legend.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Final 2 Book Events from Last Week (yep, 5 total)

So besides the Books, Inc. 4th Tuesday Evening Book Club, Marty Brounstein at the JCC on Wednesday, and the RBC with Vanessa Diffenbaugh on Thursday, I also had Saturday and Sunday events.  5 BOOK EVENTS IN 6 DAYS!  Did I have a great week, or what?

Saturday was Independent Bookstore Day.  I had a chance to stop in at Towne Center Books in Pleasanton.  The timing was such (accidentally) that I got to enter a raffle and actually won a book!  I took Melanie Benjamin's The Swans of 5th Avenue.  Besides drawings every 15 minutes, there was food and beverages (some of an adult nature!). Here are some pictures of the bookstore.  The woman in picture #2 is the owner of the store, Judy Wheeler.  Let's not forget that I saw both Greg Iles and JoJo Moyes thanks to Judy and her staff.

And then there was Sunday out in front of Recycle Books during the Farmers Market.  It was a GREAT day.  Here were the highlights:

1.  It was a gorgeous sunny day - no long-sleeved shirt or jacket necessary.
2.  I saw a bunch of my regulars - Diana, Nancy, Alfred, Susan, and Art & Angie.  Author Killian McRae even stopped by with her daughter Ilara.
3.  I sold 4 books - City of Thieves (David Benioff), Iron House and The Last Child (John Hart), and The Language of Flowers (you guessed it - Vanessa Diffenbaugh).  
4.  I had 2 people stop by to tell me how much they liked my earlier recommendations.  One of them bought 3 of the 4 books that left the table.  I'm not embarrassed to say that those kinds of comments do stoke my ego.
5.  I got a couple of recommendations - The Passenger by Lisa Lutz and Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell.

Here's a picture of my table.  Go ahead and count them, if you want to.  There are 70 books there!