If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area and don’t know about Book Passage, let me bend your ear for a minute. This fabulous store, started by Elaine Petrocelli in the 1970s, not only is a lovely place with a terrific selection of books, but it also hosts more author events than any other single store in the San Francisco Bay area.
The original store is in Corte Madera, a long way from Palo Alto. But I venture up there more often than you might think for the events. Among the authors I’ve seen there: Alice McDermott, J. Courtney Sullivan, and Sue Miller. Not only do they host amazing authors, but Elaine also does a look at books for the holidays that is one of the best ways I know of to arm yourself for holiday shopping. (And, okay, it’s a nice excuse to see my writer-friend Julia Flynn Siler.)
Book Passage has a second store in the Ferry Building in San Francisco that is smaller, but still has a great selection and also hosts events. The tables outside the San Francisco store are one of my favorite field trip writing haunts.
But wait! There’s more!
Book Passage also hosts a terrific roster of classes and workshops: everything from travel writing to marketing to speaking French. The meetings for the Marin chapter of the California Writers Club, too. Tanya Egan Gibson puts together some terrific panels for that.
But the thing that makes Book Passage really extraordinary is the booksellers. One time when I was up there, one of them put Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex in my hands. I said as politely as I could that I’d heard about it but I wasn’t all that interested in reading it. She said as politely as she could that I was an idiot if I wasn’t open-minded enough to consider this book, and also that it was going to win the Pulitzer Prize. She was right–on both accounts.
Calvin Crosby is Book Passage’s general manager, and I can tell you there is not a nicer guy in the world, and probably very few who know books better than Calvin does. If you go, tell him I said hi! – Meg
Bookpassage is at 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera CA and 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco CA. They’re on twitter at @bookpassage
More “Bookstores Worth Browsing” posts can be found under “Bookstores Worth Browsing”–or just glance right to the sidebar, where they’re listed. If you have a favorite store and would like to share it, please leave a comment about it below and I will email you.