Today’s Spotlight on Bookstores is written by Rachel Formaro, a writer and communications consultant who has worked in marketing communications and advertising for the past 15 years. She co-authored her latest book, Alfonso, the Christmas Pumpkin, (Tramonto Press, 2009) with her husband Tom Formaro. In this Spotlight, Rachel dishes about both the bookstore and the owner. I’m ready for a trip to Coastside Books in Half Moon Bay (just south of San Francisco) and that “kid in a candy store” experience!
My husband says that to see me in a bookstore is like seeing a kid in a candy store. He’s right of course. I’ve always been that way. In fact, when I was a kid the bookstore was like a candy store. My eyes go wide, and I move slowly and methodically. I gather shining beauties of books and carry them around in my arms, the stack getting taller and taller. And it’s not just books, but blank journals, writing paper, bookmarks. I am, I realize, a bookseller’s dream customer. My eyes are probably even starry when on their premises.
And of course, it is the glory of the independent bookstore where I’m happiest. Going to a “big box” bookstore for a literary experience is like expecting to find a pleasurable, exquisite meal at McDonald’s. You do it as a last resort in extreme cases.
Fortunately, the little coastal town where I live, Half Moon Bay, CA, is home to a handful of unique bookstores. One of my favorites is Coastside Books on historic Main Street. In business since the early seventies, Coastside recently downsized its square footage, but that hasn’t downgraded its appeal. In fact, it is dearer to the reader’s heart for the added coziness.
Coastside’s current owner is Nancy Arruda. Nancy also happens to be a children’s book publisher, so you can be assured that the children’s selection is extensive and has something to please any age group. Nancy also stocks an incredible selection of unique cards that Coastside Books has become famous for. I love listening to the infectious chuckles and giggles of patrons reading some of the witty varietals. In addition to literature, poetry, cooking, gardening, new age and spiritual titles, Coastside also has a good selection of guides to local life and history – perfect for the visitor staying at one of the town inns or nearby Ritz-Carlton resort.
Nancy is also a supporter of local authors and artists. As a local author myself, I’ve benefitted from Nancy’s advice and she was kind enough to host my book launch at her store. So, yes, Coastside Books will always have a special place in my heart. And fortunately Nancy doesn’t mind my constant loitering – it usually results in a purchase or two.