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Tag: San Francisco

SF Public Library Forgives Fines

SF Public Library Forgives Fines

returnthebooksOverdue library books? For two weeks, The San Francisco Public Library is forgiving your overdue book fines if you just bring the books back! Anytime from May 3rd-May 16th, return your overdue library books to any San Francisco Public Library branch and your fines will be forgiven. To encourage people to participate, the Library is asking people to share their best excuse for why their books are overdue at

Beyond the Page: Re-Illustrating Our Favorite Children’s Books

Beyond the Page: Re-Illustrating Our Favorite Children’s Books

preview-seanclaritythevelveteenrabbSean Clarity, inspired by The Velveteen Rabbit

Heads up San Francisco book-lovers! There’s a cool exhibit opening this Friday, May 1 at Gallery 1988 (1173 Sutter St., at Polk). It’s called “Beyond the Page: Re-Illustrating Our Favorite Children’s Books,” and if you couldn’t tell from the title of the exhibit, it features original illustrations of characters and scenes from favorite children’s books. Some of the books you’ll see new art for: Bridge to Terabithia, Little Red Riding Hood, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Velveteen Rabbit, Calvin and Hobbes, and Snow White.

The show is free, but the gallery asks visitors to bring a new children’s book. They’ll be donated to the San Francisco Unified School District. The show lasts May 1-21, 2009, and the opening reception is Friday May 1, 7-10pm.

Check out preview images (including the one above) on the Gallery 1988 blog.

San Francisco Step by Step, by Barbara Rockwell

San Francisco Step by Step, by Barbara Rockwell

san-francisco-guidebookThe San Francisco guidebook San Francisco Step by Step (published by Insight Guides) became available today at, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and other major book retailers. Whether you’re a San Francisco visitor, newcomer, or someone who has called the Bay Area home for years, this San Francisco travel guidebook’s walking tours are a great way to explore San Francisco on foot. Of course, another reason I’m so excited about these San Francisco walking tours is because I wrote them! To learn more about the San Francisco Step by Step travel guidebook, click here.  Happy exploring!

Alphabet Soup: Timeless Treasures and Letter by Letter

Alphabet Soup: Timeless Treasures and Letter by Letter


I think I’ve made it pretty clear on this blog that I love books.  I also love lots of things related to words, language, and typography. So today, I’m posting about letters. I’m sure many of you have noticed the widespread use of stand-alone letters. I don’t mean monogramming on sweaters, linens, or coffee cups, I mean the giant letter above a bed, or a name or other word spelled out using letters in different colors and styles. Just flip through a Pottery Barn catalog and you’ll probably find a few examples of letters used in decorating homes, especially kids’ rooms.



Or step into an Anthropologie store, where there are fabric letters, zinc letters, massive oversize letters, letters on coat hooks, letters on pedestals…the list goes on and on.

abczincI think these letters are kinda fun, but also rather generic. What I really love is the idea of using vintage letters and mixing and matching colors and materials to make a more visually interesting word. If you’re thinking of incorporating some vintage letters into your next design project, there’s a fantastic San Francisco store that’s one of the best places in the country to find vintage letters of all sizes, colors, and materials. The spot? Timeless Treasures, at 2176 Sutter Street. For the last decade, owner Joan O’Conner has been been hunting around estate sales, flea markets, and auctions (especially in France and New England) and the result is a cozy nest of vintage home furnishings.




For those that aren’t in San Francisco, Joan is great about helping long-distance customers. If you tell her the words you want to spell and any ideas you have about the colors, sizes, materials, or origins of letters (and punctuation too), she’ll put together some sample combinations, photograph them, and email them to you. Pretty awesome. Check out her Timeless Treasures blog here, where there are lots of examples of how people have used her letters in their own homes, businesses, and photographs  Just a few to whet your appetite…

joker(Timeless Treasures letters in an art work by Jeff Lipkin)


(Timeless Treasures letters in a home in Spokane)


(Timeless Treasures letters in a shot by photographer Kelly Smith)

west-elm1(Timeless Treasures letters in a West Elm catalog)


(Timeless Treasures letters in a garden in Menlo Park, CA)

bar-jules(Timeless Treasures letters at Bar Jules in San Francisco)

On a related note, I’ve just added Laurent Pflughaupt’s Letter by Letter to my ever-growing to-read stack.


I found it on the Chronicle Books website. This description won me over:

“In Letter by Letter graphic designer and calligrapher Laurent Pflughaupt analyzes each letter of the Roman alphabet in detail, tracing its origin, evolution, and form, as well as discussing its important abbreviations, symbols, and associated meanings. Arranged in alphabetical order, twenty-six entries offer a wealth of facts about each letter, establishing correspondences between letters and elements borrowed from a variety of different fields of study, ranging from traditional paleography, phonetics, and graphic arts to the more arcane areas of musicology, esotericism, and even Eastern philosophy. In addition to a glossary, timelines and images allow us to visualize the letters during the different historical eras, giving the reader an appreciation of their successive metamorphoses. Written as an homage, this lovingly illustrated book takes a broad approach to the modern alphabet, allowing the reader to see letters anew, in a fresh and lively manner guaranteed to inform and enchant anyone interested in typography and language.”

Stacey's Bookstore Closing — 30% off

Stacey's Bookstore Closing — 30% off

I stopped by San Francisco’s Stacey’s Bookstore yesterday for the David Denby reading (I’ll be writing about Denby once I finish Snark) and found everything marked 30% off.  After 85 years, Stacey’s is going out of business in March. The shelves are still filled though, so for the next month you might do better stocking up here on discounted books than on Amazon.

Stacey’s Bookstore

581 Market Street (at Montgomery)

Hours: Mon-Fri 9:30am-7pm, Sat 11am-6:30pm

Today: David Denby at Stacey's Books

Today: David Denby at Stacey's Books

David Denby, author of Snark, will be at Stacey’s Books (581 Market Street at Sansome St.) at 12:30pm. Author events at Stacey’s usually last about 45 minutes, so it’s even possible to fit into a long lunch break.

From Stacey’s website:

“New Yorker critic and bestselling author David Denby takes on snark—a tone of teasing, snide, undermining abuse, nasty and knowing, that is threatening to take over how Americans converse with each other and what they can count on as true.  Denby offers that Snarkers like to think they are deploying wit, but mostly they are exposing the seethe and snarl of an unhappy country, releasing bad feeling but little laughter.”

It sounds like an interesting discussion. The stand-out snark examples that come to mind for me are blog commentors and maybe, albeit to a lesser extent, Rachel Maddow. The blog example is obvious — scroll down through the comments of popular blogs and you see plenty of anonymous rants and mean-spirited comments. On the Rachel Maddow Show, the snarkiness is less mean-spirited, but it’s still marked by a knowing, sarcastic tone and a bit of undermining abuse. Maybe it’s a good thing to have Rachel, to counteract the snark coming from the snarky rightwing commentators, but I guess despite being on Rachel’s side of the political fence, I’d rather get my news without the side of snark. In any case, it’ll be interesting to hear Denby. I’m adding the book to my to-read list.