Monday, April 19, 2010

A great indie bookstore and a surprising book-signing

There are some typos that I make repeatedly...And we editors really hate that! Being in the book business, one of those common typos is book-singing, instead of book-signing...However, just the other day, attended a book-signing that could easily have been billed as a book-singing. That's right, a book event, with reading and gently melodic guitar music and a lovely voice and lyrics to cap it all off.
The evening's venue was the first pleasant surprise--though I've been to Upstart Crow Bookstore & Coffeehouse before, it had been a while, and I don't think I'd ever attended an evening event there before. First off, the bookstore is a charmingly laid-out "shop around the corner" type of bookstore, see photos and more here at their site. The bookstore is a trove of everything from new fiction to Shakespeare and much that falls in the middle. They even have a Shakespeare company that reads the Bard's plays aloud there monthly (everyone is welcome to come, and to read).
The store's setting couldn't be better, downtown San Diego's Seaport Village, a market-style shopping center, with plenty of cheap parking, just minutes from the SD Convention Center and the bustling Gaslamp Quarter. The coffee is fresh and so are the pastries.
The evening's reader, Ella de Castro Baron, author of "Itchy Brown Girl Seeks Employment" was another exciting discovery--though I know her book well (Sunbelt distributes the entire City Works Press line of fine poetry and prose, check out CWP site here) I hadn't heard her read before. She's dynamic--she reads her own words as if thinking them aloud for the first time, with the attendant laughter, a few wry comments aside, and even a tear or two. (We all laughed a lot too, and she was not alone in being caught by surprise by the tears.)
Itchy Brown Girl Seeks Employment
But the evening's revelation was Baron's clever idea of having both a guitarist and a vocal performer accompany her. It's frankly brilliant.
As Castro put it on her blog, "Malia Martinez, a local vocalist and Filipina (hapa) American and friend, will be singing acoustic original music linked to themes represented by Ella’s book." And does she ever! Malia's voice and lyrics--along with the delicious accompanying guitarist, and no, I didn't catch his name--are like a soundtrack to Baron's moving text, making it a feast for the sensory imagination.
So, look for Baron and Martinez, separately and together, at your favorite bookstore and coffehouse. For those who want to catch Baron's next event, here of in the Bay area, check out her blog here. For those who won't be able to catch her in person, you can read Baron's blog, and some book excerpt's in the blog too. Or buy it from Upstart Crow, next time you stop by.
And don't forget to support your local indie bookstore--whatever store it is, wherever you find it. Remember that the only way we publishers, authors, and booksellers will survive is if you readers (and writers) decide that it's important to be part of a book community. I'm not against e-books, or KIndles or anything that keeps people reading, and fosters a new generation of readers, but we NEED bookstores and libraries too.
hasta pronto!