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Blog Archives – Russian Hill Bookstore

29 Jun

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#BookScavenger Hunt continues!

June 29, 2015 | By |

Most but not all of the books have been found! Some are still waiting to be taken home, will one of them be going home with you? Come on by and see if you can solve some of the final clues to take home your own copy of Book Scavenger!

27 Jun

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#BookScavenger Day 2 clues

June 27, 2015 | By |

Clue one: A picture is worth a thousand words.

Clue two: Give the gift of stripes.

Clue three: It’s a good time for Pasta.

Clue four: The game is afoot.

Clue five: Checkmate.

Clue six: A book you can’t read.

Clue seven: Ask and you will find.

Clue eight: Rawr! Goes the ________

26 Jun

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#BookScavenger Hunt Clues

June 26, 2015 | By |

Here are your clues for the #BookScavenger hunt! Good luck and happy hunting to all of you Book Scavengers tomorrow!

Starting Clues

1. Across from the Great Detective, behind the Cards.
2. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Gaze beyond time, and maybe you’ll find me.
3. A purple picnic for two with one of these:
teapot for #BookScavenger
4. I’ll Thank You to turn me around and around.
5. ___Titanic_____
Wrong Side Out
6. Lions and Tigers and Bears… Oh my!
7. Behind a game for Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam and Jane and Charles.
8. Hidden in plain sight. The last place that you would look for me.

Update #1 So far books 4 and 8 have been found. Two more clues to come shortly. Keep checking our Facebook and Twitter accounts for the new clues.

04 Oct

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Give Candles a Chance

October 4, 2013 | By |

In my youth I was never fond of candles. I found their heavy scents suffocating and disliked the sooty halo that inevitably formed around the lips of the jars. Visit my house now and you will find candles in every room. What happened? I gave the candle industry an opportunity for redemption and I’ve never looked back. Now let me share with you some of what I have learned about alternative candle options and maybe, just maybe, you too will give candles another chance.

Beeswax
Beeswax candles are by no means new to the candle making industry, but their mellow honey scent and virtually smokeless slow burn makes them a favorite for many. They are virtually dripless, burn longer than paraffin wax candles, and have been shown to be a good choice for individuals with allergies as they release negative ions while burning that attract positively charged allergen particles. Beeswax is a non-toxic, renewable resource that is well worth introducing to the home. All of our beeswax candles are hand made in America by family businesses who use wax produced by local bees.

Soy based wax

Soy based candles are becoming increasingly popular as they are clean burning, and last much longer than traditional paraffin wax candles. Soy wax candles have a low melting point, which provides for not only a higher level of safety, but when paired with an electric warmer allows for multiple cost-effective meltings with no smoke or soot. As an added benefit, the wax on its own has virtually no scent; this allows for manufacturers to achieve more pure, delicate scent combinations. All of our soy based candles are produced in America and many of the companies that we carry are hand made to ensure the highest quality available.

I realize it may take more than expanding wax choices to open your self and home to candles again. And thankfully the candle industry recognizes this as well. A plethora of Eco-friendly options are available from sustainably sourced waxes, wicks, and scent additives to recycled and reusable containers and packaging. Sustainably harvested wooden wicks are a relatively recent addition to the industry that when burned provide a soothing crackle evocative of a rustic hearth in wintertime. Essential oils have come to play larger roles in creative scent options. We are no longer prisoners to the indescribable odor of yesterday’s Ocean Breezes or Tropical Sunsets. Today we can explore the intrigue of such unique fragrances as spearmint and tea tree oil, tobacco flower and vanilla, bamboo and green tea, or even basil and lime. The focus on environmental responsibility does not end here. Presently, many candle manufacturers are packaging their handmade creations in everything from recycled wine bottles to reusable juice glasses. Now, with an expanded understanding of what today’s candles have to offer, I beseech you to give these affordable luxury items another chance. You won’t be disappointed.

Tonight, I will light a candle for candles.

04 Oct

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The Queen of Cards – Constance Kay

October 4, 2013 | By |

The queen of cards is, without a doubt, Constance Kay. Her Collection of handmade art cards adorn the top rows and end caps of card racks throughout the store. Her cards are certainly beautiful to look at, especially the Holiday selection. And for those special people or special occasions, consider a handmade art card from the Constance Kay Collection.

So who is Constance and what is her story? David Illies, husband and partner, explains.

Constance Kay started her company in 1985, shortly after arriving in New York City. She saw a niche in the “commercial” market for handmade original art cards designed and made by American artists in their studios around the country. At that time, it was not easy for artists to get their art into the marketplace, and she felt she could help. Constance saw cards made by American artists an alternative to both mass-produced printed cards and handmade cards designed in the America but produced in Mexico and China.

With a passion for art and art cards, Constance started her business in her apartment with one artist who worked in acrylic abstracts. Her first account was a stationery store in Philadelphia, who remained with her for over 20 years until it closed.

It was never the goal of Constance Kay to be in every store on every corner. She wanted her art cards to be in the best stores in the country and in the world.

In San Francisco, Russian Hill Bookstore has always been the flagship for the Collection. Constance felt that the owner, Carol Spencer, understood the product and made a commitment to it that has endured for many years.
 
The Constance Kay Collection currently encompasses about 60 artists and over 14,000 styles. The art cards have become increasingly refined over the years. Just about every medium can be found in the collection from collage to watercolors. Most styles could be described as sophisticated and elegant, but a touch of humor can also be found. Each card is signed and accompanied by a freestanding “bio,” that includes information about the card and the artist.
 
There are now collectors around the world and some cards are bought and sold for hundreds of dollars. Many of the cards end up framed and held as keepsakes.
 
Constance says she always looks forward to seeing Carol and her store on her periodic visits.

10 Jun

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Bibliophile unbound

June 10, 2013 | By |

Bibliomania is the love of books. It is NOT a disease. Quite unlike the fond appellation put to those fuzzy book-lovers who devour cheap paperbacks and unwanted bin books: The Bookworm. These hunched creatures collect (collect!) beastly remainders and self-published “novels” while breaking the spines and creasing the pages with indelicate paws and indiscriminate habits. The Bookworm pursues the gross content found upon the deflowered pages of such dog-eared ephemera. Imagine! The Bibliophile isn’t interested in such defilement. The Bibliophile is an aesthete. He is an admirer. It is of no concern to the Bibliophile that, upon release from captivity, there is no reconciliation between Prometheus and Jupiter in Shelley’s four-act lyrical drama. The bibliophile is an admirer from afar. What is of concern are the points. The points! Oh, it is much too difficult to describe to the low-brow masses the delicate and subtle beauty of the points. Attempt to describe the sunset on your last day of existence, and you will know the difficulty of describing the criteria demanded of a First Edition, First Issue. It must be sufficient, then, to simply list a series of words, much like Shelley attempting to locate two words that rhyme, ending in “theus” … Octavo … 19th Century Full-Brown Calf … “Misellaneous” (Shelley!) misspelled on the Table of Contents! Raised Bands! Marbled Endpapers! Such are the points of the rare First Edition, First Issue (c.1820) of “Prometheus Unbound.” But you wouldn’t understand.

Perhaps the ultimate second-hand book on Bibliophilia to find its way into a second-hand bookshop, complete with the Bibliophile’s idiosyncratic points to distinguish this particular copy as a First Edition, First State, is A. Edward Newton’s “The Amenities of Book-Collecting and Kindred Affections.” A copy happened into the Russian Hill Bookstore this past week, and I happened upon it. Using my left thumb, and holding the title open at a proper ninety-degree angle, I “thumbed” through the beauty of the points, as it were. I daresay I had to request a tissue from the proprietor as my hands began to perspire with each passing particularity. A fever-dream indeed. And as I thumbed, so shall we now count, in reverse order of import, the points, thus:

  • Tan cloth covered spine.
  • Colored caricature of Dickens and Thackeray as frontis, with tissue guard opposite!
  • The exclusion of an index found in later printings!
  • The word “Piccadilly” found on page 268 – line 3, where the author mistakenly located the Carlton Hotel. In later printings this error was corrected to “the corner of Pall Mall and the Haymarket.”
  • Scarce erratat slip tipped-in between pages 268-269!

10 Jun

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A second hand bookstore

June 10, 2013 | By |

A second-hand bookshop is like a small neighborhood recycling plant and orphanage of inanimate objects. Unwanted and neglected books will be taken in, dusted off, and given a gentle resting place until a new owner comes in, and a new home is found. Upon being shelved in their proper sections, old friends will become reacquainted. Old conversations will reignite. Pritchard and Proust …. Alcott and Alden …. Barre and Barth. They will take up where they left off, and talk about the chimera of youth, or the advantages of going to bed early. Their paper, and the knowledge printed there-on, will be reused. A mind will be reanimated. Sometimes a note written in the margin by a previous owner will rekindle a forgotten memory, and a new note will appear beside the old one. Numerous authors will develop a new story, note by note, owner by owner. The new story will be written in the margin next to the printed one, Proust or Alcott, or Pritchard or Barth. The books will come in and the books will go out in an infinite cycle of renewal. This is the story of a Second-Hand Bookshop.