June 17, 2020

Borderlands To Open Soon

by Alan Beatts

I'm going to jump in here right at the beginning of the newsletter since I'm sure folks are wondering about our plans for this month in terms of reopening the shop.  Based on the current (but subject to change) plan for San Francisco, we will be able to allow customers into the store starting on Monday, June 15th.  As we did with curbside pickup, I think that we'll take a slightly slower approach and we'll actually open for customers on Wednesday, the 17th.  That gives us time to make sure that we have everything in place to make the process comfortable for everyone.  It also gives us time to see what other businesses are doing and spot possible problems.  Likewise, just as we did last month, I think that we'll start with only Jude and myself working and then we'll bring the rest of the staff in the following week.

I'm still in the process of working out all the details.  Obviously we'll be doing all the expected things (hand sanitizing left and right (pun intended), masks required all the time for everyone in the shop, asking everyone to stay 6' apart, and so forth) but there will be a few other steps that we'll take as well.  What has been decided so far is that we'll be using a bunch of HEPA air filters that, in total, are able to cycle the air in the shop four to five times per hour.  Though there isn't a rigorous scientific conclusion that they are effective in reducing the risks in an enclosed space, I have found no guidance that suggest that they will be harmful in any way and it's reasonable to conclude that they will be helpful, if to an unknown degree.

We'll also be restricting the total number of people in the shop.  The exact number is still to be determined, absent guidance from the SF Department of Public Health, but my sense is that it will be in the 8-10 person range, inclusive of staff.  So, if you come by the shop after we're open and, upon entry, are asked to come back later, I hope that you'll understand our reasons and be patient with us.  We will also be open by appointment outside of normal business hours.  I'm still working on the exact details of that, but it's in the works.

You can expect a mid-month update email with all the details, once they're ironed out.  I've got to say, we're all very excited at the prospect of seeing you all again.  We've missed you.

Haight Street Update

by Alan Beatts

Last month we finally got back to work on the new shop.  And we made some really great progress.  So much that I've got some pictures for you to look at - https://borderlands-books.blogspot.com/p/haight-st-photos.html.  The high points are:

The sheet rock is mostly complete.  There are still some small areas that I'll be completing (because they're tricky) but the crew from Pat Trainor Drywall <https://www.marinbuilders.com/list/member/pat-trainor-drywall-inc-736> came by and banged it out faster than I would have thought possible.  They are the same company that did the work at the cafe and they're just the best.  It took them only one day to hang the entire 1400 square foot ceiling plus 300 square feet of wall.  And then just two more days to do all the mud. The difference is like night and day.

Tile is also mostly complete.  Simon Firth of Canterbury Tile, who set the tile for the bathroom, did the work for the front wall and about half of the vestibule.  We changed the design partway through and so we needed more red tiles than we had on hand.  Once we finalize the design for the entry floor, he'll be back and we'll get the job finished off.  It looks so good. Even moreso, it's especially exciting because it's the first piece of final and finished work on the exterior.

And, finally, we have a mural.  Paint The Void <https://paintthevoid.org> is a cooperative effort on the part of two non-profits whose goal is, "Helping keep artists engaged and paid as guardians of hope and beauty in the wake of COVID-19".  Basically they raise funds to pay local artists to paint murals on boarded-up storefronts around town.  My friend Aaron referred me to them and, despite telling them that it was a construction site rather than someplace boarded up because of the shelter-in-place order, they said they would love to get us a mural.  A few days later I met up with Eli The Man <https://elitheman.com> who did the coolest damn thing on the front of the shop.  I think it's kind of a shame that it's temporary but, who knows, perhaps we'll figure out something neat to do, once the plywood comes down and we have windows?

This month my plan is to get the final work done on the walls in the bathroom and then I'll get the plumbers back in to finish off that job.  Beyond that, there's a tiny bit of framing in the ceiling right outside the door, followed by sheetrock and then the bathroom is done.  We'll see how getting that work done goes, with everything else that's going on.  Wish me luck!

June News

* Massive, enormous, huge "thank you"s to the wonderful folks who did incredibly successful fund-raising benefits for us over the last month -- Annalee Newitz and Short Story Club <https://www.shortstory.club/>; Charlie Jane Anders, N.K. Jemisin, Rebecca Roanhorse, and Maggie Tokuda-Hall via We Love Bookstores <https://welovebookstores.org/>; and all of you who turned up virtually to show your support!  We appreciate it more than we can express, and it has made an immense difference in allowing us to continue paying our staff during the shutdown and moving forward with the construction plans for our permanent home on Haight Street.  We can't thank you all enough.

* We're also thrilled and grateful to artist Eli the Man <https://elitheman.com/> and Paint the Void for this amazing mural that now graces the temporary doors at 1377 Haight Street, our permanent-home-to-be: <https://twitter.com/borderlands_sf/status/1267174129683202048/photo/1>. Paint the Void is keeping artists engaged and paid during the shutdown; check out more of the stunning work they've been doing here: <https://paintthevoid.org/>

* In very sad news, Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore, the oldest independent science fiction and fantasy bookstore in the US, and Uncle Edgar's Mystery Bookstore (which shared the building) were both completely destroyed by fire during riots at the end of May.  Owner Don Blyly has claimed the Go Fund Me page originally set up by a fan: https://www.gofundme.com/f/let-us-help-save-uncle-hugo039s.  In addition, Greg Ketter's DreamHaven Bookstore, also in Minneapolis, "was trashed," according to Greg, but is still standing, and volunteers are coming to assist in the cleanup.  Dreamhaven is doing fine but the folks at Uncle Hugo's could really use your support.

May Bestsellers

1. Shakespeare for Squirrels by Christopher Moore
2. Network Effect by Martha Wells
3. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
4. The Last Emperox by John Scalzi
5. House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
6. If It Bleeds by Stephen King

Trade Paperbacks
1. Defy or Defend by Gail Carriger
2. Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
3. Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
4. Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
5. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
6. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alex Harrow

Mass Market Paperbacks

(Since we've only been doing mail order and curbside pickup sales, we didn't have enough mass market sales in May to make a reasonable list.)

June 06, 2020

This Week's Audiobook Recommendation

by Melinda Rose

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, read by Orlagh Cassidy

There was a trend in the 1970's to raise chimpanzees as part of the family.  But what happens to those human children when they grow up?  What are the long-term effects on their psyche and emotional development?  And what happens to the chimps if the experiment doesn't work out?
From infancy until they were five years old, Rosemary and Fern were raised as twins.  Rosemary is now an undergrad at UC Davis, and grappling with the long-ago losses of her sister and older brother. She's trying to piece together her early childhood and understand why she's always had such difficulty making friends and fitting in with other people.  As events trigger memories of childhood, various timelines intersect and a picture of Rosemary's family comes into focus.
I absolutely devoured this book.  I listened to it in two days. If you're looking for something character-driven, compelling and bittersweet; something that explores the human condition and identity in interesting ways, then this listen is for you.