Yesterday I went to Booktoberfest, which is more or less a publishing intern’s dream event: a book publishing trade show, with microbrews, at the Mechanics’ Institute Library. Heyday, McSweeney’s, Tachyon, Zyzzyva, Smashwords, and the SF Writer’s Grotto all had tables, and there was a panel discussion with John McMurtrie, the San Francisco Chronicle’s book editor. As you can see, the Mechanics’ Institute Library on Post Street was the perfect setting for the event. I had no idea the library existed, but apparently it’s been around for a while and it’s wonderful: “Founded in 1854 to serve the vocational needs of out-of-work gold miners, the Institute today is a favorite of avid readers, writers, downtown employees, students, film lovers, chess players, and the 21st century nomadic worker who needs a quiet place to plug in a laptop and do research.” Beers were provided by local breweries Anchor Steam and 21st Amendment (I used my drink tickets on the latter’s Hop Crisis IPA and Hell or High Watermelon watermelon wheat beer, both of which I highly recommend!) It was a lovely event, and it definitely did not spark any existential crises in the hearts of any struggling interns.
…But, um, if it did have some poor lost soul questioning her future in the publishing industry, if she felt like she’d been concentrating on learning about publishers for so long that she had no idea who the big writers in the Bay Area literary scene were, if she wanted to know what to read next to stay in the loop, and she already had the latest issue of Zyzzyva and a copy of New California Writing 2012…
…what authors and writings would you recommend?
(Yes, this is me admitting I lack expertise on my own blog topic, and yes, it was mostly precipitated by people dropping names all night that meant nothing to me. The literary scene in San Francisco is so rich that I know I could live a whole lifetime here and not discover all the events, books, writers, zines, classes, and publishers that are out there, but I need a fresh perspective, so hit me!)