by William Petrocelli

Slow food.

Roll the phrase around on your tongue, and you’ll imagine yourself sitting around a convivial table sharing savory tastes with your friends. In a fast-food, factory-farmed mass-produced, world, the mere thought of slow food soothes your digestion and brightens your outlook about things.

We’ve been supporters of the Slow Food San Francisco for a number of years, and a few years ago we had the honor of hosting an author event for Carlo Petrini, the founder and driving force behind the international Slow Food idea. For us, Slow food is both a movement and a metaphor – a sense that some important things are so important that they need a loving, human touch at all times.

Slow books.

A good book is something to fondle and befriend, something to hold and absorb . . . (Okay, you see where we’re going with this.)

The idea that slow books are like slow foods comes from Joan Gelfand, president of the Woman’s National Book Association. (Gelfand and I are fellow bloggers on

She and her fellow members like reading books slowly and with care, sharing the experience in book clubs.
“What we’ve discovered these past two years is that book groups are to reading what slow food is to the food industry. In this fast paced world, book groups give people a chance to connect, join in community and listen and learn in intimate environments.”

According to Gelfand in the last five years, the book club memberhsip has increased 25% nationwide, now topping 5.2 million adults. The average book club member reads 36 books per year (only 12 of which are book club suggestions).

Readers around our two stores  seem to savor the slow book experience. We have 200 or so book clubs that are now receiving the benefits that come with registration at Book Passage. (Click for information)