My reading at Green Apple Books (506 Clement Street, San Francisco, 415.387.2272) was cozy on several levels. When I entered my old neighborhood indie bookstore, which I hadn’t been to in some 25 years, it was as if I were greeting an old friend. The bookstore looked the same, from its scarred, uneven wooden floors to its tight stairwell. As American essayist and reporter Anne Fadiman pointed out in her book Ex Libras: Confessions of a Common Reader, she preferred the “indifferent housekeeping, sleeping cats, and sufficient organizational chaos” of secondhand bookstores. I didn’t see any sleeping cats, but otherwise, she described Green Apple Books down to the walls bursting with shelves and shelves of books. The upstairs reading room was charming and cozy. It’s the type of room one can get lost in a book, lost in a different time and place, and be the richer for it.
I had another reunion at Green Apple Books, as well. We went out to dinner with dear friends whom we’ve known for years but don’t see regularly. And I was treated to seeing more dear old friends, which warmed my heart: Old college dorm-floor mate from 1982-83; Jesuit Volunteer Corps. mentor my San Francisco service year from 1987-88; Stephen from the American Friends Service Committee, whom I had reached out to back in the late 1990s and early 2000s to help with research around the strike ― so that was the first time we had ever met in person! Two former co-workers from my days as an editor at a structural engineering firm in the mid-1990s. And my faithful cousin Daniel. It was a wonderful time, a homecoming and reunion all in one evening.