a little bookstore with an amazing selection, and even more amazing booksellers
One of my favorite things about A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland, CA is the way its lovely owner, Kathleen, places the books in her charming little store: meaty, meaningful fiction and non-fiction on the front table, books found lacking (often despite their bestseller status) on the shelves in the back. You have to walk by the good stuff in order to find the pulp. Which is not to say you won’t find bestsellers on the front table; they just have to be ones you really ought to be reading.
And speaking of reading, A Great Good Place for Books is a terrific place for authors to read. Kathleen and her thoughtful bookseller cohorts line up the chairs along one wall, and set a stool in front of the counter. The seats always seemed to be filled with enthusiastic readers, and Kathleen herself is often there. I like to go as much to find out what they are recommending as to hear the authors speak. But the authors are terrific too; Kathleen chooses them with the same care she chooses the books for her front table.
How Kathleen came to own the store is a wonderful story, too. Kathleen was an employee of the store in 2005, when the prior owner, Debi Echlin, died. Having found a kindred book-loving soul in Kathleen, Debi left the store to her care.
A Great Good Place for Books is the kind of store that you would write about if you were going to write a charming little novel about a bookstore, staffed with the kind of booksellers you would like to read about and peopled with customers you might like to read about as well. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and take a look! – Meg
A Great Good Place for Books is at 6120 LaSalle Avenue in Oakland, and on Facebook
I do occasional posts highlighting independent booksellers, who are so important to helping new literary voices find their audiences; the independents–especially those in the bay area–were instrumental in helping me find mine. If you have a favorite bookstore, please email me and I’ll do my best to have it featured here.