But then, as now, it was a fun place to hang out, too: The Grateful Dead gave live shows at the store back in the day. And they, along with Joan Baez, often shared ideas with local community leaders surrounded by books.
Those roots are still apparent in the booksellers who make Kepler’s the store it is today: they know books. I can’t tell you the number of times bookseller Nancy S. has put a novel in my hands and said, “Read this.” I’m sometimes reluctant, but she’s rarely wrong about what I will like, or what is worth reading. And that culture runs deep – a fact the store recognizes by giving booksellers their own bookshelves, like this one by Aggie Z., who runs the Kepler’s Writing Group and hosts the Kepler’s blog, The Well Read Donkey.
Does Kepler’s host book groups? When I first moved to Palo Alto – knowing no one – I set off in search of fellow book lovers. It didn’t take me long to find my way to Molly McCall’s Fiction Book Group. Through Molly, I came to Laurie Colwin’s Happy All the Time and L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between, among others. The store hosts speculative fiction and Spanish literature groups, too, keeps a wonderful display of the books neighborhood book groups are reading, and hosts book club mixers where writers and people in publishing discuss good book club reads. The next one is just around the corner, on Sunday, May 17.
Kepler’s also hosts terrific readings, and I can tell you as an author that it is a great place to read. Not every author gets the special friends-in-Wednesday-Sisters-Shirts type treatment that local authors like me get, but they do get interested readers (often including prominent bay area authors) asking questions from the seats. Great setting, great books, great company. What more could a reader want?