Friday, January 3, 2014

Finding a New Independent Bookstore Nearby!

It is always great to “discover” a new independent bookstore. In the Larkspur Landing area of Marin County, a couple of towns north of where I live, I noticed a new bookstore going up, and a few days ago, I saw it was open and went in. It is called DIESEL, and it is the newest branch of a mini-chain (as I have noted here before, to me a branch of a mini-chain still qualifies as an independent bookstore, and this store calls itself an independent bookstore) of, I believe, four branches, two in Northern California (the other one is in Oakland) and two in Southern California (Malibu and Brentwood). It presents itself on its website as having an “urban California aesthetic” and as “cutting-edge, high octane, community-radiating…” The metallic-colored exterior gives it an edgy look, and inside there are clean, open lines and spaces, but there is also, perhaps incongruously, a sort of cozy feel to the store. Because it is so new, I have the feeling it needs time to grow into itself. Meanwhile, I enjoyed their selection of books and other products (cards, etc.), and bought several items. The salespeople were friendly and helpful. It was rather quiet, but that could have been because it was New Year’s Eve Day. I really hope it will be successful. This shopping area (a kind of upscale shopping center next to the Ferry landing) was the site of one of my all-time favorite independent bookstores, A Clean Well Lighted Place for Books. I – and my family and friends – used to shop there, eat at its café, and occasionally hold our Reading Group meetings there. It was open for 20 years but, sadly, closed in 1998. I still remember it fondly. I doubt DIESEL will replace it, as it is much smaller and has a different “feel,” but I still welcome it. I am now adding it to my rotation of independent bookstores in San Francisco and Marin where I shop regularly.

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