Tag Archives: Books Inc

Liz Cunningham to speak about her book, ‘Ocean Country’

Liz Cunningham
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Liz Cunningham was almost killed by a rogue wave while kayaking.

Just moments earlier she had been enjoying her ride on the open ocean, digging her paddle into the water to navigate the breakers off a California beach.

But the rogue wave pushed her down under the water. She was unconscious for a few moments, and then woke up to find herself upside down. “It was like being inside a water turbine, water rushing fast in all directions,” Cunningham writes in her well-received memoir Ocean Country. “This is really it,” I thought. “I’m going to die.”

Cunningham, who lives in Berkeley, didn’t die, but the wave injured her spine, leaving her partially paralyzed. The wave also took away more than her movement, which she eventually recovered. It took away the love she had for the water and the feeling of freedom it once gave her. … Continue reading »

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Poet laureate Coolbrith: Did Berkeley shortchange her?

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2015 marks the centennial of the naming of California’s first poet laureate. In 1915, during the height of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the state named Ina Coolbrith, then 74, to become an ambassador of words.

Aleta George, a journalist and a part-time house manager for Berkeley Rep, has written a new biography of Coolbrith who was known as “the sweetest note in California literature.” George will be talking about her book, Ina Coolbrith: The Bittersweet Song of California’s First Poet Laureate, at Books Inc. in Berkeley on Tuesday Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.

Berkeleyside asked George to write about why Berkeley should stake a larger claim to Coolbrith, (1841-1928), who currently is more closely associated with Oakland, where she served as the city’s first public librarian, and San Francisco. … Continue reading »

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What are Berkeley’s values? What does the future hold?

Books Inc estimated the crowd at 150-200 for the "Why Berkeley?" event on Monday July 20, 2015.
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On Monday July 20, the newly relocated Books Inc. on Shattuck Avenue was packed to the rafters for a discussion titled “Why Berkeley?”

Hosted by Malcolm Margolin, executive director of Heyday, a number of invited speakers reflected on what Berkeley meant to them, its values now and in the past, and the city’s possible future. Below the fold, we bring you highlights from our live coverage of the event on Twitter. … Continue reading »

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A panel explores the question, ‘Why Berkeley?’

Photo: Daniel Parks
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The Berkeley that Malcolm Margolin settled in in 1970 is different than the Berkeley that exists today. That was a time when people were going back to the land, discovering the power of nature and protesting the Vietnam War.

Berkeley in 2015 is a city on the move. You can barely drive down a street without being slowed by construction cranes. Start-ups, not communes, are the focus of most young people’s attention. A protest in People’s Park draws yawns.

Margolin, the executive director of Berkeley book publisher Heyday, has been thinking a lot about the values that brought him to Berkeley and the values that flourish today. To explore the question, “Why Berkeley?” he is hosting a discussion at Books, Inc. on Shattuck Avenue on Monday July 20. It is part of a series of events celebrating the bookstore’s recent move. … Continue reading »

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Books Inc. opens in North Berkeley after move

Books Inc. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
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Workers were still putting the final touches to the store’s exterior Monday morning as both local residents and out-of-town visitors explored the new Books Inc. which opened its doors today in North Berkeley.

Books Inc. shut down its smaller store on Fourth Street to move to 1491 Shattuck Ave., the former location of another independent bookstore, Black Oak Books, which closed in 2009. (Black Oak is now at 2618 San Pablo. Ave.)

“The response from the public so far has been overwhelmingly positive,” said manager Schyler Baker at the store today. “Even as we did construction, passerby would stop and pop their heads in to check if we were open yet.”

“This space is bigger, which is very helpful to us,” Baker said. “It allows us to expand our book and magazine selection, especially children’s books and cookbooks.” Continue reading »

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Saul’s applies to build a parklet in front of deli

A rendering shows the canopied parklet designed by architect David Trachtenberg.
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Three parking spaces in front of Saul’s Deli at 1475 Shattuck Ave. could soon be replaced by greenery and public seating.

Saul’s owner Peter Levitt has applied for a permit to build a parklet, which would be the third approved under the city’s Parklets Pilot Program launched in July 2013. The first parklet opened in front of the Cheese Board Collective in August. A second one was scheduled to open shortly after the Cheese Board parklet, in front of Philz Coffee and Guerilla Café. That scheme ran into some obstacles but is back on track. … Continue reading »

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Bookstore moving into old Black Oak Books in N. Berkeley

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After five years of sitting empty marked with a “For Lease” sign, the former Black Oak Books on Shattuck Avenue in North Berkeley will soon open its doors as a new business.

And that business is: a bookstore.

Books Inc., a Bay Area business that says it is “the west’s oldest independent bookseller,” will open in the former Black Oak sometime in early 2015, said owner Michael Tucker.

At the same time, Books Inc. will shutter its Berkeley store at 1760 Fourth St., essentially moving from one local spot to another, which Tucker hopes will boost Berkeley sales.

“The biggest issue we have on Fourth, beyond the fact it’s a little too small for us… is we just couldn’t get people to come in. We couldn’t get people to think of it as their neighborhood bookstore,” Tucker said. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Cal water polo
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DESIGNED OBSOLESCENCE They’ve performed in nudist colonies and on Prairie Home Companion. They issued a series of 10-inch 78rpm recordings long after the format had vanished. And they count R. Crumb as a co-founder. The Cheap Suit Serenaders bring their “unapologetically outmoded tastes” to the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse on Friday, Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. On ukuleles, Hawaiian steel guitars, fiddles, cellos, banjos, mandolins, accordions and musical saws, Robert Armstrong, Allan Dodge, Rick Elmore and Tony Marcus serve up a “giddy blend of up-tempo Hawaiian stomps, ragtime, Italian polkas and more.” Tickets are $26.50 in advance, $28.50 on the door. Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison St.

Yankees use

THOSE DAMN YANKEES This weekend sees the production of the baseball-themed musical comedy Damn Yankees being performed by students in the Berkeley Playhouse TeenStage Program (grades 7-12) at the Berkeley Playhouse on College Ave. In this modern retelling of the Faust legend, a passionate Washington Senators fan sells his soul to the Devil in order to be transformed into their star player and lead his beloved team to a victory against those damn Yankees. The show, which is based on the novel, The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant, features memorable songs such as “Heart,” and “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.” Shows are Friday Jan. 10 at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday Jan. 11 at 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.; and Sunday Jan. 12 at 12:00 p.m. Berkeley Playhouse, 2640 College Ave., Berkeley. Visit Berkeley Playhouse for full details.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley sex surrogate: ‘My work is like cooking school’

Cheryl Cohen Greene
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Just in time for Oscar season, Cheryl Cohen Greene — the Berkeley-based certified sex surrogate whose relationship with the polio-stricken writer Mark O’Brien forms the basis of the indie crowd-pleaser The Sessions — has a new memoir, An Intimate Life: Sex, Love, and My Journey as a Surrogate Partner (Soft Skull Press). Here she talks with San Francisco magazine’s Nina Martin. Cohen Greene will be reading Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 7 pm at Books Inc. on Fourth St. in Berkeley.

How did you decide that you wanted to do your own version of the story?
The timing with the movie was somewhat coincidental. I had been writing a book for many years [but it got derailed for various reasons, including the death of her collaborator at the time]. Eventually I found [Oakland-based coauthor] Lorna Garano, who is fabulous.

Meanwhile, [the movie’s director/screenwriter] Ben Lewin, who had polio as a child, had read Mark’s essay [On Seeing a Sex Surrogate, 1990]. It touched him so deeply and he decided to make a movie. Ben and I met [in the mid 2000s], and then for three years I didn’t see him. We talked occasionally on the phone. His wife Judi, whom I adore, said to me, “Get on his case. We have to make some money, but I want him to write this.” They actually re-mortgaged their home to finance the movie. They sold jewelry. For them, making this movie was an act of love. … Continue reading »

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Were you a winner in our Caltopia raffle?

Baskets filled to the brim with gift certificates and pizza for a year from LaVal's
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The two days of Caltopia were quite a whirl for students, faculty and staff, as well as for exhibitors like Berkeleyside. From the tens of thousands who passed through the self-proclaimed “greatest days on planet Earth”, we were able to have conversations about local news with hundreds of people, we launched OneNews/Berkeleyside, our exciting new citizen journalism app, and we even found some potential new journalists.

But what about the Berkeleyside raffle? We partnered with a host of wonderful Berkeley businesses … Continue reading »

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Thousands of Cal students, staff flock to Caltopia

Students new and old come out in droves for the community-boosting swag-fest that is Caltopia
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UC Berkeley freshmen, some looking dazed, others excited, as well as more blasé seniors, turned out in their thousands on Sunday for Day One of Caltopia, the self-described “two greatest days on the planet”.

The event, held at the UC Berkeley Recreational Sports Facility at 2301 Bancroft Way, sees more than 100 exhibitors showcasing their wares and services to the Cal community, including the university’s staff and faculty.

It’s a combination of freebie-fest — with giveaways galore, be it bites of Clif Bars, T-shirts, pens and mouse pads and the chance to win covetable prizes like Kindles from big brand names like Pepsi  — and social mixer.

Berkeleyside made its debut at Calopia yesterday and we will be there again today. Find us at booth E104.

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UC Berkeley’s Caltopia: The ultimate Town & Gown affair

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This weekend, when around 30,000 students and faculty stroll through Caltopia, browsing the booths of more than 100 exhibitors, Berkeley’s two driving forces, the city and its university, will be pitched in perfect harmony. And Berkeleyside will be there to sing along too.

Caltopia was launched nine years ago as a way for Berkeley businesses to welcome Cal students, both current and new, back to school. The event runs on Sunday and Monday this year, and classes start up … Continue reading »

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Are plastics good or bad? An author explains

Susan Freinkel
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When Susan Freinkel decided to write a book about plastic, she vowed to spend an entire day not touching the stuff. The plan lasted about ten seconds. After she woke up, she walked into the bathroom to use the toilet. She suddenly realized the seat was plastic, which meant she couldn’t sit down. Freinkel quickly changed plans. Instead of not touching plastic for a day, she would write down all the plastic things she touched in a day. The list came to 195 objects.

In recent years, plastic has gotten a bad rap, with some good reason. No one is happy about the giant garbage patches in the world’s oceans, or the six-pack rings that regularly lodge around wild animals. Yet plastics have also helped revolutionize medical care and other industries. Freinkel, a San Francisco author, explored the complexity of plastic in her just-released book,  Plastic: A Toxic Love Story. She will be talking about her findings tonight at Books, Inc on Fourth Street in Berkeley at 7:00 pm.

In Plastic, Frienkel uses eight plastic objects – the comb, the chair, the Frisbee, the IV bag, the Bic lighter, the grocery bag, the soda bottle, and the credit card – to explain the incredible popularity of the material, its benefits, and its downsides. It’s an important, yet entertaining, look at the issue. … Continue reading »

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