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Written on the Dock of the Bay: Saying farewell to bookstores and book lovers


Bay Area Book World Breaking News!  

The old Adobe Books after the shelves were arranged by color

Here’s a beautiful tribute to a San Francisco bookstore lover, Steve Brandwein.  Brandwein loved to play chess in the Mechanic’s Institute Chess Room by morning, and hang out in Adobe Books by night. He loved Pepsi and canned beef stew. He did not like how Richard Nixon handled the Vietnam War. He was the kind of person you might read about  in a book. To celebrate his life, there’s a memorial planned for him at the Mechanics’ Institute on January 24th, plus there’s now a memorial with pictures, candles, and a chessboard at Adobe Books.

January’s been a pretty good month for comic book writers and readers. Actually, it’s been a pretty decent decade.  The comic book industry is booming, and some say, growing more diverse. According to a Berkeleyside interview with comic book writer Ayize Jama-Everett, “It’s a great time to be a person of color in comics.”

In case you haven’t heard, Berkeley is set to lose another indie bookstore. This time, it’s Black Oak Books, and it’ll be gone until the end of January. In the meantime, step inside and get yourself some books, now at a 40% discount. Hey, just saying.


MONDAY, 1/18   -  SUNDAY 1/24


Monday,  1/18


Help get prisoners some books

Last month, the Washington Post’s Valerie Schultz wrote about what it’s like to work in a prison library. In her library, there’s legal forms, typewriters, computers, and law books. There’s also 10,000 volumes of recreational and self-help books. When it comes to maintaining a prison library, those books are important. That’s why Modern Times, Adobe Bookshop, and Alley Cat Books are sponsoring a Books to Prisons event this Monday for customers to buy books to mail to prisoners.

DETAILS: Adobe Books & Art Cooperative // 3130 24th St., San Francisco // 2-5pm




Tuesday,  1/19

Someone’s name is Lucy Barton

Take heed! Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteridge,  is coming to Kepler’s to talk about her new book, My Name is Lucy Barton. My Name is Lucy Bartonis the story of an operation that brings a mother and daughter together. Hopefully, you won’t need an operation to get closer to this melancholy and elegant  writer when she comes to Kepler’s this Tuesday.

DETAILS: Kepler’s Books  // 1010 El Camino Real  // Seats open at 6:30pm



Wednesday, 1/20

We too sing America

Deepa Iyer will be at The Booksmith this Wednesday to talk about her new book We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future. Iyer will be at the Booksmith to discuss topics  like Islamophobia, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim hysteria, plus new movements like Black Lives Matter.

DETAILS: The Booksmith // 1644 Haight Street, SF.,   // 7:30pm


Thursday, 1/21

Writer vs. writer

Put comedians, poets, directors, storytellers, and a travel author/journalist together on a stage to battle it out, and who do you think would win? Well, if it’s a storyteller competition, like Story Showdown, you would think the storytellers. But maybe not!  Head to Awaken Cafe, and report back.

DETAILS:  Awaken Cafe // 1429 Broadway, Oakland // 7:30pm



Friday, 1/22

The dynamanism of handmade letters

Are you obsessed with letters? Do you stare fondly at each individual letter, and marvel at the way letters become words, which  become entire books? Do your dreams take place in a variety of font sizes? A new exhibition, Without Type: The Dynamism of Handmade Letters, is made for you, plus others who just like letterpresses in more moderate proportions.  The exhibition takes visitors  inside collections of the Letterform Archive to showcase how letters and words are made by hand. It includes handmade works from calligraphers, constructivists, architects, type designers and illustrators, and other cool and creative people from Letter Land.

DETAILS: San Francisco Center for the Book // 375 Rhode Island St., SF.  // 6pm


Saturday, 1/23

A snow leopard + a chimpanzee + other things = poetry theater

In the Facebook page  for Poet’s Theater, an event held at California College of the Arts, there’s an image of a leopard and a chimpanzee. The chimpanzee is hugging the leopard, lovingly. It must be a metaphor for the exciting multi-genre and boundary breaking poetry and theater set to come out of Poetry Theater this Saturday. Let the chimpanzee be the symbol for theater; the leopard can be poetry. Or something mind-bending like that.

DETAILS: California College of the Arts  // 1111 8th St., SF. // 7:30pm


Sunday, 1/24

Jewish life in an era of extremism

In a special presentation by Pulitzer Prize winning author of Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick, a panel of experts will attempt to grapple with some difficult questions about anti-Semitism, Jewish extremism, and other heavy topics.

DETAILS: Osher Marin Jewish Community Center  // 200 N. San Pedro Rd., San Rafael // 1-5pm


Got a literary event or some news you think we should share with the world? Email us at thelitographyproject@gmail.com!