December 09, 2019

Holiday Gift Guide

by Jude Feldman

Welcome to December!  We've finally gotten our winter weather -- as a life-long, drought-hardened Californian, I have a superstitious aversion to _ever_ complaining about the rain -- and this is the perfect time to curl up with a good book yourself, or gift one to someone dear to you.  Personally this year has been a very difficult one, and I will be glad to see the back of it -- but that means it's even more important to celebrate the good things we have and the friends and family we love; hatch, and feather, as Becky Chambers would say.

Those of you who have been around a while know that I always do an opinionated and rambling gift guide for December, and this year is no exception.  I am excited to call your attention to just a few of the myriad cool and unexpected things we have in the store.  However, if you don't see something appropriate here, we're always happy to make custom suggestions for you or anyone in your life.  We'll even wrap 'em for you!  (A special note to those of you purchasing presents: we're glad to gift wrap upon request, although our typical caveats apply: first, if we're busy, you may have to wait a bit to have things wrapped, and, second, some staff members are MUCH better than others at it.  It is vaguely possible that your package may resemble a brightly wrapped Lovecraft-ian, batrachian, rugose, Thing of No Human Shape.  For some customers, this is not a problem . . ."better than I can do!," they say.  However, if you are concerned about our, ahem, abilities, we're also happy to just hand you the gift wrap, scissors and tape.)  Now, onward!

Upcoming Events

Sisters in Crime / Mystery Writers' of America Annual Holiday Party, Saturday December 7th from 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Writers With Drinks (at The Make Out Room, 3225 22nd Street, San Francisco) with authors Meg Elison, Megan E. O'Keefe, Alvin Orloff, Amanda Rosenberg, Zoe Young, Olga Zilberbourg and fabulous guest host Maggie Tokuda-Hall! Saturday December 14th at 7:30 pm

We're about to take our customary event hiatus until the New Year, but we'll be back in 2020 with dozens and dozens of fabulous authors, including Seanan McGuire, Maggie Tokuda-Hall, exciting debut author Juliette Wade in conversation with Deborah Ross, and many, many more!

Happy Holidays

by Alan Beatts

After a monograph like Jude's Gift Guide, there doesn't seem to be much need for me to add a lot of extra verbiage here.  Just two things to pass along.

First, work continues at the new building.  It's been slow going, mostly because some personal stuff had me in LA for about half of the last month.  But . . . it is moving along.  Rough electrical for the bathroom is done and will be inspected (and passed, I'm sure) on the 10th.  Rough framing for the front passed inspection week before last and now we're working to get the surface finish done outside and the electrical done inside.  Rough electrical for the main floor will probably happen this month and, because our electrician is great, should pass inspection this month as well.  Once that's done there'll be a few other things to take care of in the ceiling (Cat 6 network cabling, audio cabling, and the lifting point of the trap door for the basement shop) and then I can get the sheetrock crew in to close it up.  So, we're plugging right along.

Second, this has been a rough year personally and, I think, a rough year for most Americans.  For me, December is when it's easiest to get stressed out, feel rushed, and generally lose my sense of calm.  Further, for many people, it's a month when it's easy to feel worried and, perhaps worst of all, isolated.

This month, despite everything that is going on, I try to slow down, breathe and keep clear in my mind what is actually important.  Most of all, I try to remember that the things that are getting my attention -- nasty weather, flashing lights, bad drivers, and the constant refrain of "Buy, buy, buy!" -- really aren't that significant at all.  

At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card, what matters this month is exactly the same as every other month -- our friends, our family (whether by blood or by choice), our principals, and our dreams & goals.  So, as we head into the end of 2019 and the end of the second decade of the 21st century; take care of yourselves, take care of your people, find calm within the noise and haste, and have a peaceful and happy holiday followed by a joyous New Year.

November Bestsellers


1. Strange Planet by Nathan Pyle
2. Rosemary and Rue 10th Anniversary Edition by Seanan McGuire
3. The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz
4. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
5. Burning White by Brent Weeks
6. A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie
7. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
8. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
9.  Dune: Deluxe Edition by Frank Herbert
10. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Trade Paperbacks

1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
2. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
3. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
4. To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
5. How Long 'Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin
6. The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
7. Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
8. The Ninja Daughter by Tori Eldridge
9. The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin, translated by Ken Liu
10. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Mass Market Paperbacks

1. Dune by Frank Herbert
2. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
3. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
4. Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
5. The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi
6. Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch
7. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
8. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
9. The Forbidden Stars by Tim Pratt
10. Neuromancer by William Gibson

December News

* We're very sad to report the death of the incredible artist Gahan Wilson, who passed away at age 89.  Read Neil Gaiman's loving tribute here:

* We're also sad to note that Dorothy "D.C." Fontana, author of several of the most beloved original "Star Trek episodes", passed away last month:

* Borderlands' owner Alan Beatts, along with The Booksmith's Christin Evans and Dog Eared & Alley Cat Books' owner Kate Rosenberger, will be participating in a panel on the state of bookshops and bookselling, including how the industry works, what issues are facing it, and the place and importance of bookshops in city life.  The panel will take place Tuesday, January 28th from 6:00 - 7:30 pm at Manny's, 3092 16th Street, San Francisco.

* The best science fiction and fantasy books of 2019, according to Silivia Moreno-Garcia and Lavie Tidhar: