Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Passage - Corte Madera, CA

Book Passage - Corte Madera, CA
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"It is with great reluctance that I leave The Book Passage."  -Cheryl M., graphic artist and logistics coordinator, The Indie Bob Spot.  

Wow.  Where to start?  The better question to ask of this indie is what DON'T they have.  Great staff who are uber friendly.  Selection and variety abound.  Community involvement and supportive of social causes.  Active events schedule and probably a myriad of things I've overlooked or don't even know.  This place is a model independent bookstore and it's easy to see why.

There are actually two stores, the Corte Madera store I visited and another in The Ferry Building in San Francisco.  However, the Corte Madera store has two buildings.  A primary building that housed a wonderful café, all new books and sidelines, and a roomy event space.  The other building houses a children's department, lots of upscale sidelines, conference rooms and event spaces, offices, and used books.  This "secondary" building is larger than many bookstores just by itself.  All of this situated in a very nice open air mall area.

What else?  Let's go down the list.  Events?  Check.  As many as 4/day and 500/year.  This store doesn't have an events coordinator, it has an events department.  Classes?  Check.  Learn to speak Hebrew, German, Japanese and many more.  Or maybe you'd like to take a writing workshop and become an aspiring author.  Café with food and beverages?  Duh.  Wi-fi?  Double duh.  A vast variety of sidelines? Check.  See the pictures below.  Very nice and upscale to accommodate an upscale customer base in Marin County and the bay area.  You can also enjoy seating inside or outside reading a book.  They also have a large used book room with great prices.  All of these books are donated and the sales support the local hospice program.  I can't recall seeing anything like this at any indie I've visited.  What a wonderful cause and certainly something that other indies should consider.  There is no doubt that after 30+ years, the roots of this store run deep in Marin County and it is a hub for many things and for many reasons.

The line-up of people coming here for events is staggering.  Over the next few months you can see Johathan Franzen, Louise Penny, Mary Doria Russell, John Lescroat, Erica Jong, Peter Coyote, Isabel Allende (she's a regular and in the store often) and this is just the tip of the iceberg.  It would be great to see some of these authors, but on the day of my visit, I saw the real stars.  People like Kathryn P., Bill and Elaine's daughter who are the owners, Pam, Susan, Barb, Leslie, Zach, Judy, and there were others whose names I missed.  I got a good start on meeting the 70+ employees and everyone of them was terrific to talk to and shared many things with me about the store.

So yes, readers, this indie is 5-star in every way and very deserving of its recognition in "My Bookstore," by Ron Rice.  However, I must share two things that are lacking and need to be addressed. There are no bedrooms and no indoor pool.  When they make these upgrades I may establish myself at a new mailing address in a Corte Madera bookstore.  Move this place to the top of your list, you won't want your visit to end.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Between The World And Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates.  A book that will be discussed for some time to come.  Very relevant observations by an author of color and our current climate of racism.  Every white person should be required to read this.

CURRENTLY READING:  Bobby's Book, Emily Haas Davidson as told to her by Bob Powers.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Paris Apartment, Michelle Gable.

A great outside patio area.  

The day's events.  

View looking to the left from the entrance.  Lots of selections at the café.

View looking to the right from the front entrance.  The store continues way around to the upper left of this picture.  Very spacious and bright.  

Large selection of magazines and these are just a few, located in the front of the store.  

Looking through the store.  I would describe the space as horse-shoe shaped.  

Isabel Allende is a regular here and also wrote the essay about Book Passage for "My Bookstore."  

A few of the greeting cards.  

Lots of unique sidelines.  

Book Passage is fortunate to have a great event space in the store.  They can also use other areas in their secondary building next door.  

A few of the pictures of the many authors who've been here.  

There's my reading chair.  

Just a few of the staff picks.  

This is the outside of the secondary Book Passage building, a large store just on its own.  

Looking into the secondary building and the large children's department.  Your kids will love this space.  

Looking to the left in the secondary building, travel guides to anywhere.  

You're going to need an upscale hat to go with your book.  

Lots of trendy sidelines in this secondary building.  

Used books for a good cause can be found in this room.  If nothing else, get something here.  

Boxed greeting cards and individual greeting cards.  

One of the conference rooms.  Classes, workshops, and events.  

Another event area and they also feature local artists here.  

With Kathryn P. on the left and Leslie B. on the right.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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