Montclair, a district of Oakland, is one of the easiest places to run errands. You can park your car in one spot and go to a drug store, Safeway, buy coffee, have lunch, shop for clothes, buy some flowers, browse leisurely through A Great Good Place for Books and sit in the comfy book corner and peruse a book of interest.
You can anticipate your visit by reading their reviews online. Each month A Great Good Place for Books chronicles their best sellers with detailed book descriptions. Staff picks on the website are also a great resource. For example, “If you liked The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, then you’ll love Devotion by Adam Makos, Lanterne Rouge: The Last Man in the Tour de France by Max Leonard and The Three Year Swim Club by Julie Checkoway.”
Owner Kathleen Caldwell also suggests her favorite books online. And this month she is promoting The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson.
The story takes place in the beautiful lush setting of Mill Valley, an affluent Marin County town that doesn’t seem likely to be dangerous. But according to GoodReads.com, “The Most Dangerous Place on Earth unleashes an unforgettable cast of characters into a realm known for its cruelty and peril: the American high school.” The story culminates in a high school party that goes wrong. (Many read this page turner in one or two sittings.)
One of the great things about this book shop is that it encourages you to read and everyone is friendly and shares book conversations. “The main part is community,” says Kathleen. “That is
what we celebrate here.” Prior to inheriting the shop, Kathleen managed all the book-reading and other store events. How wonderful and unusual to inherit a store full of books. It happened in 2005. “It was unexpectedly expected,” continued Kathleen. She went on to explain.
A Great Good Place for Books was co-founded by Helen Talley and Debi Echlin in 1998 in Montclair. Helen retired and one day Debi asked Kathleen if she would like the store after she was gone. Kathleen accepted and then unexpectedly, Debi passed away. “You are never ready for it. It was so unexpected. At first it was shocking and there was grief – I had lost my friend. But now running the store is second nature. The community of readers is what’s really important.” And the book community carries on today with that spirit of curiosity and sharing. You can see by the community bulletin board that the diverse community reaches out past the borders of Oakland.
Upcoming in-store events
- Joshua Mohr, “Sirens: A Memoir”, in conversation with Alex Green – Wed., Jan. 18 – 7pm
- Louise Nayer, “Burned: A Memoir” – Wed., Jan. 25 – 7pm
- Ellen Hopkins, “The You I’ve Never Known”, young adult author event! Thurs., Jan. 26 – 7pm
- Bruce Jenkins, “Shop Around: Growing Up With Motown in a Sinatra Household” – Tues., Feb. 7 – 6:30pm
A Great Good Place for Books is located at 6120 LaSalle Ave. in Montclair Village in Oakland (510) 339-8210