My First Reading

Yesterday I did my first bookstore “reading,” at Stacey’s Bookstore in San Francisco. Having seen several hundred such events on Book TV (C-Span 2), it was quite a thrill. Like one’s first day as professional baseball player. It wasn’t hard to fill 20 minutes; professors have been known to take longer than that to clear their throat. And I had a 20-year story to tell. I didn’t read anything from The Shangri-La Diet but I did quote liberally from Ann Hendricks’ repositioned blog now devoted to reporting “happenings in the Shangri-La diet e-world” in order to summarize the 6000-odd posts in the forums. All the seats were full (all 20 of them), if I remember correctly, and there were plenty of questions.

On the way to the reading area I saw a book about Jane Jacobs that I hadn’t known existed: Jane Jacobs: Urban Visionary by Alice Alexiou. says it has not yet been released but there it was. After my talk, I wanted to buy it. Unfortunately the store had just one copy and although it had been on display since Jacobs’s death six weeks ago (she died the day my book was published) during my talk that copy was sold. When it rains, it pours.

Berkeley Public Library Watch: The Shangri-La Diet, 1 hold on 5 copies. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, 133 holds on 7 copies. Website Watch: Distinct hosts served at, latest 24-hour period: 613. One week ago: 755.