One of the sweet, sweet treasures of the Sunset is Green Apple Books on the Park. It’s on 9th Ave between Lincoln and Irving. It is my favorite bookstore. Ever. (Yes, I say ever because I always seek out indie bookstores when I travel.)
Green Apple Books on the Park was my third* indie bookstore. I started with City Lights Bookstore (because, of course, it’s a San Francisco treasure), which I went to on particularly difficult days at work. I then discovered Green Apple Books (the OG one, which I am *counting as separate because it is, physically, its own store) on Clement after I had feasted on some amazing Asian dishes in the Inner Richmond. Both bookstores always left me overwhelmed. There were so many books calling out to me simultaneously; I never knew where to start. The bookstores are physically big, too. (Green Apple Books on Clement even has an Annex for its sci-fi, fantasy, et al collections.) Come the day I entered Books on the Park, possibly after feasting on glorious Asian food (most likely San Tung) as well, and it was love first sight.
I know, I know — Books on the Park has the same owner, Green Apple Books, as the one on Clement. It must be the floor plan then. It is so simple — it’s a rectangle, and there’s only one floor for the books. What a game changer: everything I needed all in one organized space!
It is pretty easy to navigate through the sections: fiction, non-fiction (I particularly look for business and psychology), sci-fi & fantasy — you name it; they’re all there, and they’re all easy to find! Upon entry, there’s a giant shelf of new books — one side fiction, the other nonfiction. There’s a cute shelf for staff favorites too. Walk straight down, almost to the children’s section, and you will easily find all of these great books on sale (why are they even on sale?). Bear in mind that the sale shelf is a trap; it will keep you glued to the bookstore forever.
And then we have those handwritten blurbs that they stick right in front of the books. The blurbs always give me a strike of confidence — yes, I am picking up a good book! — and they give off a nice personal touch. I have discovered some of my favorite books at this bookstore (and at the OG location, actually), particularly because of those blurbs.
Particularly, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra, I picked up because of a blurb that was stuck right in front of it. Additionally, the book was signed, and I was then beginning to build my collection of signed books. It was also at this bookstore that I had listened to and met Michael Chabon (by accident! That evening, I had decided to drop by before catching the muni home) and Nathan Englander (deliberately, I saw the event calendar and made plans to attend). I left both events gleefully holding on to signed books. (FYI, the OG Green Apple Books also does these personalized blurbs and awesome events, but I’d only attended the Sunset location events.)
I’m moving, though, and I already know which friendly neighborhood bookstore will be closest to my new place. Then again, San Francisco is a 7×7 space, so nothing is that far. I’ve just searched transit directions on Google maps — I’ll only be a bus ride away! Meaning to say that I will be back every now and then, possibly after ginormous meals at San Tung (again).