Noe Valley Voice April 2009

Book Week Brings Out Favorite Authors & Stories

By Heather World

Noe Valley is unusually rich in independent bookstores, and this year's Noe Valley Celebrates the Book Week will offer a little nugget from each of our literary havens. Sponsored by the Friends of Noe Valley and the booksellers themselves, the wordfest is now in its third year of fanning literary passions.

"Noe Valleyans are great readers--there are a million book groups--and we like to celebrate that," says event organizer Mindy Kershner. "To have a vibrant community, we need to have these stores."

The week starts at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 20, at the San Francisco Mystery Bookstore, 4175 24th Street, with two local authors. Cara Black will read from the newest book in her series of Paris-based mysteries, Murder in the Latin Quarter, which received a glowing review in the New York Times, says bookstore owner Diane Kudisch. Kudisch also invited Lisa Lutz, who will read from the third book in her series about the Spellman family, a quirky clan of private investigators based in San Francisco.

"She gives a lot of local flavor," Kudisch says.

Last year, about 35 guests showed up to munch food while listening to stories.

"We do it to introduce the neighborhood to local authors," Kudisch says. "We get people coming from all over the city and sometimes from Marin." Call 415-282-7444 for more information.

Thursday, April 23, will be "Date Night at the Bookstore" at Cover to Cover, 1307 Castro Street. From 7 to 9 p.m., couples can enjoy complimentary wine and cheese and get 20 percent off their purchases. For details, call the shop at 415-282-8080.

Get your gloves on and dig in to a night with Alex Hatch at Phoenix Books & Records, 3850 24th Street, on Friday, April 24, from 7 to 9 p.m. Hatch pulled together photographs and maps for her book Cracks in the Asphalt: Community Gardens in San Francisco, and she is bringing friends and associates to talk about gardening in the city.

Manager James Koehneke says the reading celebrates Earth Day and the arrival of spring, and will appeal to a wide audience.

"I'm not addicted to gardening myself, but as a book person, it's inspiring to look at the photography and the labor of love that this is," he says. The store's number is 415-821-3477.

Stop by the new kid on the block, Omnivore Books on Food, 3885 Cesar Chavez Street, on Saturday, April 25, to live the flavor of Basque country. Gerald Hirigoyen, author of Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition, will bring his appetizer-like dishes and talk about Basque food while signing cookbooks between 2 and 3 p.m.

Owner Celia Sack, who opened her bookstore in November, says she is thrilled to participate in Book Week.

"It makes the neighborhood so vital to have independent bookstores where the books are hand-chosen by people who can converse about them with their neighbors," she says. For more information about this event or five other author visits in April, call Omnivore at 415-282-4712 or see the Voice calendar, page 28.

Book Week organizers have always offered something for children, too. This year, the children's librarian of the newly renovated Noe Valley Library, Carol Small, has selected books for middle-school students to read aloud to younger children at the branch, 451 Jersey Street.

"Share a Story," from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., will happen on Sunday, April 19, to highlight the library's new Sunday hours, says Kershner. If the weather is nice, readings will be held in the library's garden.

Families with younger children can drop in, and Kershner says everyone is invited to come in and share a story.

"Who knows?" she says. "You might get a babysitter out of the deal!"