February 22, 2017

Lunch with Eleanor Burke was fabulous last week. The food was delicious -- thanks to Genuine Goodness and their wonderful selection of salads, fresh breads and cookies -- and we are looking forward to our next with Yiyun Li on March 8th. Don't forget to sign up early as these sell out fast! 

Literary Lunches

February 15, 2017

We have had an incredible response to our event with Eleanor this Friday. While we cannot fit in any more people for lunch we are happy for anyone to come and listen, so long as you don't mind standing - we do have emergency chairs in the back and will try and accomodate as man of you as possible! 

More Rainy Day Reading

February 7, 2017
Everyone is in bed, the rain is absolutely chucking it down outside and making a wonderful noise against the window, Hera dog has just come running in from the kitchen with a huge bulb of garlic in her mouth and plonked it at my feet and Kitty is as usual trying to sit on the keyboard. It feels very cosy!

Everything is Politics

February 1, 2017

"Among the many worlds that man did not receive as a gift from nature but created out of his own mind, the world of books is the greatest...Without the word, without the writing of books, there is no history, there is no concept of humanity." Hermann Hesse
I didn't know quite where to start my letter tonight. Or rather last night... Should I talk about the book I am reading right now, (Ties by Domenico Starnone) or the titles I am excited about that are coming out soon (Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato)? Or perhaps the events that we have lined up over the next few months? But having just got back from my trip to England a week ago where everyone wanted to know about Donald Trump and what was going on in the USA, and I at the same time was asking them all about BREXIT and what was going on there, and having just got back from four days in chilly Minneapolis and the annual American Bookseller Association Winter Institute where one of the main topics was the need for more diversity in the bookselling and publishing industries, I realized I had to start with politics! I know this, like religion, is a bit of a taboo subject, but I don't think anyone can ignore what is going on right now. 

Back Home in Orinda

January 24, 2017

Too tired to think of anything to say! We left my brother's in Winchester in freezing temperatures but blue skies at 11AM (3AM PST) yesterday morning and arrived back in Orinda 17 hours later at 8PM last night. I should have slept on the plane but instead ended up reading several newspapers, finishing my book, eating and drinking, and watching movies... it's now 11.45PM and I feel pretty awful!

In England

January 17, 2017

It feels a little strange to be writing this in the dining room at my mum's house at 10.30 in the morning instead of the early hours of the morning back home in Orinda. I have this funny urge to tell you all about the hundreds of noisy dinners this old mahogany table has witnessed over the years but I shall try and save you from that and start by mentioning the wonderful article in the New York Times yesterday by Michiko Kakutani. In it she describes President Obama's reliance on books to ground him, connect him, entertain him, and find solace in, during his years at the White House. I'm sure it was all over the news channels yesterday but just in case you didn't catch it, here is a link to the article. Obama says he wants to widen the audience for good books through his presidential center website. We look forward to his suggestions.

Rainy Day Reading

January 10, 2017

One of the lovely things about January and the calmer, quieter atmosphere in the store is that I have had a chance to think about books to read again, and not just panic about getting enough books on the shelves to sell. So just in case you've read all the books you were given over the holidays, or you want some fresh new titles to think about, here are a few you might like that I have on my bedside table.


January 3, 2017

Wow! That was the craziest, busiest December we have had for a few years. Thank you so much for your incredible support and appreciation. It was a challenge keeping the books on the shelf. We cringed when someone asked for a bestseller and we were out of stock (well I did particularly because I was the one doing the ordering!) You could come in one day and we would have 10 copies and then the very next day we were out of stock and we looked like the worst bookstore on earth!

Mince Pies

December 20, 2016

One of the ingredients I knew I couldn't leave out of the mince pies I was making for the P & M  (Pat and Maria) bake-off this week was suet. It was always in the mince pies of my childhood and I was determined not to forgo it.  I eventually found a block at Rockridge Market and after mixing dried fruit (raisins, sultanas and currants) fresh juice and rind of lemon and orange, slivered almonds, home ground spices, and dark muscovado sugar, I spent a rather yucky time grating frozen suet with a cheese grater, covering myself and the floor in the stuff, and combining with the rest of the ingredients. The whole concoction is still soaking in its own juices as I write. Brandy yet to be added. Doesn't sound like a good advert I know - but I assure you it will be worth it!

Holiday Cheer

December 13, 2016

Last Friday, thanks once again to your wonderful generosity, Susan delivered over 50 books to the teacher at Bell Elementary School in Sacramento. She was completely blown away and shocked...and so so grateful. Thank you all so much. And the next day, at a special Christmas party for the foster children under the CASA program, the kids here in our own county were given the 100+ books you had also purchased.