Wednesday, October 18, 2006


On day one I went way down to Santa Cruz. On day three, I go way up to Santa Rosa. But day two was within the San Francisco city limits. I did a pleasant phone interview with Shepherd Express, which is not the speediest rounder up of sheep anywhere but rather an alternative weekly in Milwaukee.

Then I did this thing that I had never heard about. My media escort picked me up at the Argonaut Hotel and we went to four bookstores in an hour or so, dropping in, saying hi, signing every one of my books they had and moving along to the next. They knew we were coming so it wasn't a cold call but it was still occasionally awkward. Like, I wanted to make friends with the booksellers because a) it's good to make friends and b) then they'll recommend the book. At store #1 I noticed Noam Chomsky's Hegemony Or Survival and commented to the clerk (a dead ringer for the non-Jack Black employee in High Fidelity) that I had written the Amazon editorial review for that one. "We don't use the a-word around here." Tension. Dude, I'm just making small talk. "Well, now I work in public radio" I said. That seemed to help. But not much. "Okay, thanks for your time" I muttered.

Other stores went better, including Booksmith's in the Haight-Ashbury where everyone was way cool and I even met the owner. I wished I could have stayed and shopped. At some of the stores I offered to sign Mitch Albom's books too but they politely declined. Then back to the hotel for a phone interview with a radio station in Bellingham.

The reading/signing was at Books, Inc. downtown, a store that has been in business for, oh, about a month. Although sort of a long time before that as A Clean Well Lighted Place For Books (only the greatest bookstore name ever). Not a ton of people since getting actual SF press was tricky but a lot of enthusiasm and alarmingly large poster displays featuring the picture Jill took of me on our side deck.

Someone asked me if tour was a drag. It's not. It's an all expenses paid trip around the country where you occasionally go to bookstores where people who think you're interesting tell you so. But let's see how I feel round about Milwaukee late next week.

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