by James Bernard Frost
Book Passage has been very kind in choosing me to be its first-ever blogger, and therefore to write its inaugural blog entry, and so, unlike the usual all-about-me blathering I do on the James Bernard Frost blog, I wanted to say something rich and profound, or at the very least to properly introduce the blog to the reading public.
As is often the case with me, this pressure induced paralysis, and so the newly inaugurated Book Passage blog has sat empty, sadly waiting for me to say something. This paralysis was unusually keen, as a) I was not given any sort of deadline and b) I have recently given up coffee and cannot be induced to get off the couch.
But nonetheless, I am now starting, and although, so far, it's just been the usual blathering, I am about to say something rich and profound, and what I'm about to say is this:
Isn't Book Passage cool?
I remember, as a former San Franciscan, occasionally attending a reading or a class at the Corte Madera store. The drive to the store was itself a passage: over the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Rainbow tunnel, down into Marin, its modern low-slung buildings so different from the narrow canyons of San Francisco with its gilded, Victorian walls.
And once there? Nestled in a side development that one imagines would have long ago gone to seed were it not for the store, Book Passage was a hidden gem, a secret swimming hole that only the locals knew about. I could never quite figure out how the store could draw such luminaries to its small, understated confines: Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Amy Tan--not to mention the constant flow of travel writers, personal favorites like Paul Theroux and Bill Bryson to name a few. Where else could a starving artist like me have such close access to such an array of talent?
And the classes. And the conferences. Again, how did Book Passage do it? How could it make such incredible use of such a small space?
I guess, what's so cool about Book Passage, is that it is so like a book--a small, insignificant looking thing, yet with so much packed inside...