mission district bookstores

missionsignIn an effort to save some money (you know, for books), I told my little loves we would not be signing up for any summer camps this year.  Who really needs zip lines, archery or horseback riding anyway?  Since we had some travel planned, I told them that in the off weeks we were home, we would be making up our own cool camp.  I called it Amish Summer Camp.  Haven’t you ever been?  At Amish Summer Camp, we would learn how to sew with all the scraps of fabric I have crammed in a cupboard in the garage.  We would walk to the local farmer’s market and learn how to can apricots and make dill beans and peach jam.  We’d bake pies and frost cakes.  Heck, we would even give knitting or quilting a try.  And for field trips, we would visit local independent bookstores and spend our afternoons reading in sunlit corners.  Well, we made it to the bookstores at any rate.

On one Amish Camp outing we made a Sunday trip to the Mission District.  San Franciscans have a great love for community and recreation and the city sponsors cultural events designed to bring people together in fun celebration of food, the arts and active, healthy living.  Sunday Streets is one such event billed as a time to walk, run, bike, dance and explore the city’s various neighborhoods.  Streets are closed down for pedestrians and diners spill over onto the sidewalks as children peddle bikes and scooters down normally busy thoroughfares.  Drum circles, jazz bands, free advice booths, palm readers, artists and various other eclecti provide entertainment and businesses often sponsor activities, like one clothing store who offered discounts to customers brave enough to parade through a silver mylar curtain and dance down a catwalk that extended outside of the store and onto the sidewalk (of course, they didn’t even have to give me a discount to do that).  But the highlight for me really was getting a chance to slip into some independent bookstores I’ve been meaning to visit this summer.

BorderlandsBooks1Borderlands Books on Valencia specializes in science fiction, fantasy, and horror.  These aren’t my genres per se, but littlest love was smitten with their collection of dragon books and quite honestly, the clerk was so friendly and knowledgeable it was hard to get away without supporting him with a purchase.  He had recommendations for all of us and walked me around the stacks, pointing out titles and plot lines with barely a breath.  We had a great conversation about weaning my oldest love off of Stephanie Meyer and all things Twilight, and he had heaps of literary recommendations destined to get her back on track.  We ended up purchasing Holly Black’s Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, which she loved, and this Practical Guide to Dragons for littlest love:


If you find something you like at Borderlands, you can step through a breezeway within the shop and nestle into their café for tea and conversation. The café has a neighborhood clientele who enjoy this quiet spot for studying or getting work done.  If you’re looking to meet up with fellow sci fi fanatics or gothic horror vixons, they might just be lurking here at Borderlands, along with curious families like mine who are along for the ride.

One block away on the corner of 20th and Valencia sits Dog Eared Books.  This is an eclectic shop with a smattering of new and old titles set out on tables and lined up on tall shelves along the walls.  Light streams through the paned windows and art encircles the ceiling spaces above.  There is a small nook for children’s books, but littlest was disappointed not to find any titles from her latest literary crush, the Warriors series, which chronicles the political rise and fall of wild cat clans.  Um, that would be wild housecats.  Despite this small lapse, I found the space devoted to books to be inspiring — a place you’d want to dream in.  The perfect place to pick up a book and lose yourself in a story.

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Are you someone who likes to pop into bookstores during your travels?  Have you got an especially sacred independent bookstore tucked away in your hometown?  Two or Three Little Birds welcomes readers to submit their reviews via the contact form available on this website.  Happy reading!

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