My current read is Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, a book that seems rather timely in light of the financial crisis the United States is currently undergoing. I’ve only just started it, but when the summary on the back detailed the United States defaulting to creditors, well, it seemed to be meant to be that I read that.
Though Super Sad True Love Story is my current read, I’ve had quite a few new books come into my home the last week or so. For my birthday last week, I received The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagan and The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson.
Yesterday, my good friend Meagan and I made the trek from Sacramento to San Francisco. We had three goals: exploring some of the gardens at Golden Gate Park, visiting a few independent bookstores, and going shopping in Haight Ashbury. We completely failed at the first due in large part to the fact that we had a terrible time parking ALL day, and Golden Gate Park was the worst. But the other two were a huge success.
The first place we went was Green Apple Books, which I absolutely loved. I didn’t get a whole lot of time to explore there, as we had a teensy misunderstanding with parking enforcement about the place we were parked. Meagan managed to convince the cop not to give her a ticket, but once she moved her car, there was literally no place else for her to park in a three block radius. So I came away with two new books: a used copy of Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists and a new copy of Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck. I’d never heard of her before, but it was on the Staff Recommends shelf. It’s only 150 pages, so I think it should make a quick, interesting read.
After leaving the bookstore, we tried to head for Golden Gate Park and got lost in the Presidio (we literally made one wrong turn off Clement Street and that was it). After being redirected by the very nice guide at the Presidio Visitors Center (who was kind enough to give us a map), we found our way to the park, but no actual parking at the park. So we decided to head for the next stop on our list: Haight Ashbury.
Haight Ashbury is a pretty interesting place, and it has the privilege of being home to The Booksmith, another great independent bookstore. I got to spend a little more time browsing there, but somehow managed to make it out the door with just one book: The Position by Meg Wolitzer, which was also on their Staff Recommends shelf. I loved the feel of the bookstore, and I think that, if San Francisco were closer (and I had a solid transportation plan that did NOT involve trying to park in Haight Ashbury on a Saturday but possibly did involve learning how to navigate MUNI), it would be my indie of choice.
After making our way through various shops on Haight Street, we headed over to the City Lights bookstore, which of course caused the inner book geek in me to freak out a little bit. I may not enjoy the Beats much, but it was pretty neat to be in a place that had so much literary history. While there, a fellow browser recommended a book about the Beats to me, but I ended up leaving with Everything Beautiful Began After and Love Begins in Winter, both by Simon van Booy. We were both pretty wiped at that point, but I’d like to go back sometime soon and explore a little more- and maybe investigate the ideas behind the Beats a little more (I have to admit I’ve been pretty disinterested in them to this point).
So what’s on your reading agenda for the weekend? And when you explore bookstores in new places, what do you look for in the bookstore?
Have a great Sunday!