Now you may think I came home with a lot of books, but let me assure you there were many, many more I had to leave behind! I only managed to visit a couple of bookstores (though museum gift shops are just as dangerous it would seem), but I came across several more that I wasn't able to stop by and browse. San Francisco has loads of independent bookstores, and nary a chain store (books or otherwise) that I happened across, which I think is actually pretty cool.
So this first stack is from the famous City Lights Bookstore, where I could have browsed all afternoon. They have an unusual way of displaying and categorizing their books. European Literature is a section all by itself. I found a 'new to me' author on their new release shelf and a book by an American author who I like but hadn't come across previously. So, top to bottom: Me, You by Erri de Luca (who if I remember correctly I first heard about via Caroline). I'm always on the look out for Italian fiction. The Beginners by Rebecca Wolff is a coming of age story that looked interesting. And Death of a Man is Kay Boyle's first novel. I've read some of her short stories but none of her fiction so far. City Lights was packed when I was there. They are in a good location, and I wonder how many visitors they get in a year.
These finds are the result of my visit to Dog Eared Books. They sell a mix of used and new books with a bookcase dedicated entirely to NYRB Classics. I wish I had my camera with me as it is such a cool store. Their selection is wonderful and had I spent more time there (we got there shortly before closing time), I think the damage would have been much worse. Still, four bookish goodies is more than enough to be pleased about. I think I am probably the last person to read Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. They happened to have the UK edition. I've looked at The Pilgrim Hawk by Glenway Wescott numerous times--"a beautifully crafted story that is also a poignant evocation of the implacable power of love." When the World Spoke French by Marc Fumaroli "presents a gallery of portraits of Europeans and Americans who conversed and corresponded in French". And a really cool find for me, Lonelyhearts: The Screwball World of Nathanael West and Eileen McKenney by Marion Meade. I just read (and thoroughly enjoyed) Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin by the same author. I hadn't thought to look for other books by her. Once again she takes the 1930s as her subject, but this time the bright lights of New York and Hollywood. I can't wait to read it.
I went to several museums when I was in San Francisco, and I think the Museum of Modern Art is just about my favorite. They have a fantastic gift shop with a huge selection of books. I wrote down quite a few titles that I'll be adding to my wishlist. The major draw for me was to see the Cindy Sherman exhibit, which was excellent. I wanted the exhibit catalog, but I knew better than to buy any hardcover books (especially art books), so I settled on a slim paperback that will be a nice introduction to her work, Cindy Sherman edited by Francesco Bonami.
And the last two are pure indulgences. I had a three hour layover in Denver. Now I could have just found a spot to sit and read, but there were two bookstores within feet of my departure gate (I only went to one by the way...). I really was just going to browse and not buy, but you know how it goes. Two more new to me titles/authors. The Pleasures of Men by Kate Williams is a Victorian pastiche à la Sarah Waters. The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James has an interwar setting and a ghost story all wrapped into one. It might be a good candidate for Carl's Rip Challenge.
So those are my vacation goodies. I bought a tee shirt or two and quite a few postcards, but the real treat, of course, was just being there. Now it's time to tighten the purse strings once again!