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Saturday, November 17, 2018

25 Years Ago Today

Pistil Books & News opened its doors to the public for the first time on November 17, 1993.  Our retail store was a former garage on Pike Street in an area that was in transition from "Auto Row" to retail and other businesses.  Cafe Paradiso had opened up in the same block just a couple of years earlier.  The Wild Rose, Seattle's only lesbian bar, anchored the corner, The Comet Tavern was nearby, and Ronnie's Upholstery occupied the basement of our building.

Before we opened, Sean and a hired carpenter constructed our eight and ten foot high bookshelves.  Friends helped us varnish the shelves, and we laid our flower mosaic entry way floor (which is still there today-- the space is now occupied by Bimbo's Burritos).

Carpenter Evan and Sean preparing to lay the mosaic flower floor.

We have saved our cash register receipt from our first day.  We made $120.25!  25 people visited our store that first day, and we sold a fair amount of classic fiction, including The Little Prince, A Wrinkle in Time, Shakespeare's Complete Works, and The Catcher in the Rye.

The average price of books sold our first day in business was $2.56.
Amy outside our storefront way back when.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Photos from Pistil's 25th Anniversary Party and Reading

We had a party at our home on Saturday celebrating the release of Rebecca Brown's new book, Not Heaven, Somewhere Else, as well as Pistil Books' 25th anniversary.  We had a great turnout of friends old and new, food, drink, cake, readings by Rebecca Brown and Stacey Levine, and music by cellist Lori Goldston.  
Rebecca and Chris with the wondeful cake Chris baked featuring writer puppets like Virginia Woolf and Shakespeare.

Stacey Levine reading from her book in progress.

Lori Goldston.
Rebecca Brown reads from Not Heaven, Somewhere Else.
Socializing after the readings.

Kam emceed the event.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Pistil Books' 25th Anniversary, Book Release Party, and Reading

Pistil Books' 25th Anniversary, Book Release Party, and Reading

Readings by Rebecca Brown and Stacey Levine
Music by cellist Lori Goldston 
Rebecca Brown will read from her new collection of stories, Not Heaven, Somewhere Else.  
PEN/West Fiction Award winner Stacey Levine will also be reading from her work.
Books will be available to purchase.

Saturday, October 13

and you will receive an email with address and time on the day before this event.
(Space is limited to 40 people, with 25 chairs, rest standing/sitting on floor.)
You are invited to bring a beverage and/or snack to share.  We will have cake!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Pistil Books Outdoor Book Sale 2018

On Saturday we held our annual outdoor yard sale/book sale.  I scheduled it a month ago when Seattle was experiencing heat in the 90's combined with smoke from wildfires and didn't expect that I would be worried about rain in the first week of September.  Saturday was gray and cloudy and I felt a couple of raindrops fall, but luckily we made it through the day without showers.

We had a steady stream of browsers and customers the whole day.  People were sitting on stools and cushions reading, chatting, and drinking lemonade.  We were visited by a mix of people who knew about Pistil and had been to our annual sale before and those who had never heard of us.  They found out about the book sale from our email announcement, telephone pole posters, Craigslist ad, and plugs from The Stranger, Seattle Review of Books, and SeattleMet listings.

Jon Strongbow came by, as he does every year, and presented us with a copy of  his spiral bound book-in-progress, Visonary Surrealism at the Pike Place Market.  It is thick and full of color images of artwork.  Jon even mentioned Sean and I as Seattle collage artists, though since we aren't part of Pike Place Market, our work wasn't included.  He left the book sale with a cloth bag of books precariously hanging from his bicycle handlebars.

Our neighbor Eletha--who used to shelve books in our retail store in exchange for book credit-- came by to show us her sketch book full of beautiful color pencil drawings she made based on images of animals and bugs from volumes of the Golden Book Encyclopedia she had found at our free pole.   She left the book sale with a set of laminated illlustrated pamphlets depicting the insects of Britain.

Our friend Marin arrived to cut down a damaged branch from a tree on his neighboring property that was hanging down over the sidewalk.  When Sean saw him with his small chainsaw, his chainsaw competiveness reared up and he went and got his bigger chainsaw (for use on his rural property, not normally something that comes in handy on Capitol Hill).  Not every book sale has timber felling.  Greg B., a local English  teacher and longtime Pistil supporter captured the event on film.

Chris, from Left Bank Books (a collectively run bookstore in the Pike Place Market which is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year) came by, as he usually does, and gleaned a box of books.  We exchanged tales of bookselling in the age of cell phone culture.  He said he overheard someone say as the passed Left Bank, "Are books hip again?"  At our sale I observed one woman ask her friend if she should buy a book or just take a photo of it.  She took a photo and walked away...

At the stroke of 4pm, the advertised end of the sale, all the browsers vanished and we immediately packed up, boxes of books going into the back of the Pathfinder for distribution to Little Free Libraries.

Thank you to Kam and Michael J. for helping us set up and shut down.

Pistil Books is 25!  1993-2018

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Smoky Summer Night

Kam, our friend Barbara, and I had dinner on the balcony this evening.  The city has been very smoky for the past two days from forest fires burning, and the air is deemed "unhealthy."  This smoky atmosphere happened last year too, and a headline on the local paper suggested this might be the "norm" for Seattle summers now.  It makes for a pretty red sunset anyhow.

For dinner tonight we had hummus, tzatziki, feta cheese, olives, tomatoes, grilled sweet peppers, avocado, artichoke hearts, pita bread, and sparkling wine.

What we're reading:

I am reading a monograph on Joseph Urban, the art deco theater designer.

 I am reading The Canon:  A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier.  The content is very interesting and it's a good review of information I vaguely remember from science classes - probability, statistics, the size of the universe, how electricity works  -- and I'm only a hundred pages of so into it, so much more to follow.  The weird thing is that Natalie Angier constantly makes corny jokes and puns, which I find a bit annoying and distracting.

I also read the last in the Rachel Cusk trilogy, Kudos.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Summer Supper

Kam, the Pistil Books photographer and music specialist recently got a day job, which means our work lunches have transformed into work dinners.  This week for dinner we had sockeye salmon sandwiches on ciabatta with pesto, spinach, heirloom tomatoes, and sweet onions, along with potato salad and kombucha to drink.

What we're reading:

Wonderful meal and evening. I I just finished PG Wodhouse’s last book, published when he was in his 90s, called Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, which is a Bertie and Jeeves book. And I am slogging my way through Byron’s Childe Harold.

I am reading One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry who grew up in Seattle and whose "Poodle With a Mohawk" poster I used to see in coffee shops around town when I was in college.  According to Buddhism, a person must overcome one hundred demons during their life and here Lynda Barry writes about and draws her demons.