It's been a little more than a month since local bookstores and libraries have had their doors open to the public. While the stay-at-home order that sent us indoors may have provided all the time in the world to catch up on some reading, there's probably at least a few people out there craving some new best-selling titles or itching to discuss their latest reads.
Even though the doors remain closed on brick-and-mortar bookstores and local libraries, there's good news. Many have adjusted to no-contact business models and are offering a variety of new services intended to keep the literary crowd well-read and more socialized while keeping a safe distance from others.
Here are some ways to participate in author events, book clubs and storytimes and to peruse bookstore shelves without leaving your home.
Refresh the Page
Kepler's Literary Foundation launched a new series of virtual events on Zoom earlier this month. Refresh the Page features online discussions, classes, seminars and author events. The next upcoming event, "Literary Appreciation 101," is scheduled for Wednesday, April 29. During the hourlong seminar, author and former professor Kimberly Ford will explore foundational concepts by looking at classics by Leo Tolstoy, Jane Austen and others. The nonprofit foundation plans to expand its offerings over time. Most events require participants to RSVP and make a donation. For more information and to get the most up-to-date list of events, go to keplers.org/refresh-the-page-online.
The Palo Alto library has gathered a list of free online storytimes and other activities for children that can be streamed anytime. The collection includes audio stories as well as storytime sessions featuring a variety of guests, ranging from celebrities such as Sarah Silverman and Wanda Sykes to astronaut Christina Koch.
To view the extensive list of offerings, go to library.cityofpaloalto.org.
The Mountain View library launched a new storytime program on Facebook Live on April 10. The 15-minutes sessions are live-streamed on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. Children's librarian "Miss Sharon" reads Mother Goose and other children's tales on Tuesdays and children's librarian "Miss Alex" hosts family storytime on Fridays. Past sessions also can be accessed on Facebook. To view storytimes, go to facebook.com/pg/MVPLibrary.
Linden Tree Children's Books in Los Altos is hosting live storytimes and stay-at-home book salons for families. Storytimes are held on Facebook Live on Sundays at 11 a.m., Tuesdays at 9 a.m. and Thursdays at 7 p.m. All storytimes feature picture books and are appropriate for all ages. For more information, go to lindentreebooks.com/events-calendar.
Most local bookstores are continuing online book sales. At Kepler's Books, the web orders team is processing online orders from their homes seven days a week. All web orders are being shipped directly from the store's book suppliers to customers' homes at reduced shipping rates, according to Kepler's website. For more information, go to keplers.com.
Books Inc. is offering free deliveries and is taking preorders for soon-to-be-released books. For more information, go to booksinc.net.
For those who feel like browsing the shelves, Linden Tree Children's Books in Los Altos is offering free, 30-minute private live video chats with customers on FaceTime. During the chat, the bookseller will take customers around the store and let them "browse" through books and look at other items. Local purchases will be delivered the next day. To set up a shopping appointment, go to lindentreebooks.com.
April releases by local authors
Have you read all of your books and you're not sure what to dive into next? Here are a few books by local authors that were released this month.
'Always Home: A Daughter's Recipes & Stories.'
By Fanny Singer; Knopf publishing.
San Francisco native Fanny Singer's new title is part cookbook and part culinary memoir about growing up as the daughter of revered chef and restaurateur Alice Waters. Singer provides an intimate portrait of her mother and herself while chronicling a unique world of food, wine and travel. Each vignette is accompanied by a recipe.
'The Story of the First Earth Day: How Grassroots Activism Changed the World.'
By Pete McCloskey; Eaglet Books.
In his new book, Pete McCloskey, a former Bay Area congressman who co-founded the first Earth Day with Sen. Gaylord Nelson on April 22, 1970, takes a look at the political and international impact the event has had over the past half century. The book includes some local color about Denis Hayes, the Stanford University student hired to coordinate the first Earth Day, who went on to create the "The Dirty Dozen" campaign, which targeted 12 of the worst members of the U.S. Congress on environmental issues and organized grassroots attempts to defeat them at the polls.
'World War II and the West it Wrought.'
By Mark Brilliant and David M. Kennedy, Stanford University Press.
How World War II changed the West is the subject of a book by Mark Brilliant, associate professor of History and American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and David M. Kennedy, the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus, at Stanford and co-founder of Stanford's Bill Lane Center for the American West. The book explains how the war set in motion a massive westward population movement that ignited a quarter-century boom, redefining the West as the nation's most economically dynamic region and triggering unprecedented public investment in manufacturing, education, scientific research and infrastructure. The economic revolution laid the groundwork for high-tech centers in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in the region.