The first-ever Grotto Works celebration was hot–literally–thanks to the 300 or so guests who packed our sweltering, surprisingly under-air conditioned offices on a warm Saturday night. Everyone crowded in to the conference room for two rounds of reading–first at eight with Christopher Cook, David Ewing Duncan, Melanie Gideon, and Kaui Hart Hemmings; and then at nine with Caroline Paul, Peter Orner, yours truly, and Jason Roberts. Our emcee, SF Chronicle book review editor Oscar Villalon, kept the evening rolling with his usual charisma, and everyone partook amply of the wine.
Thanks to everyone who came, to Oscar, and to A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, on hand with the goods. As I noted mournfully during the readings, Clean Well-Lighted’s much-loved store on Opera Plaza is closing. Apparently, they’ve got a few more weeks of business, and could use help closing out their inventory. If you’d like to say your goodbyes to this store whose great readings series has done so much to get the word out for good books, drop by during the next week and pick up that novel or poetry collection or biography you keep meaning to buy.
UPDATE: Leah Garchik reports in Wednesday’s Chronicle that locally owned Books Inc will take over Clean Well-Lighted’s space at Opera Plaza, with management looking forward to hosting more and bigger readings than they’ve been able to in Books Inc’s smaller stores. So stop by Opera Plaza now to say goodbye, and again in mid-September to say hello.