Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Nor Cal Independents Honor Towers of Gold

It's no secret that I love independent bookstores. I am down in Los Angeles and yesterday dropped into the new Diesel Bookstore in Brentwood, even though I had spent the previous two days surrounded by authors and books at the LA Times Festival of Books. Still, I wanted to see what they had and what caught my interest. I almost never pass up a chance to browse in an independent bookstore.

That is why I am so pleased to report that the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association has named Towers of Gold a Best Book of 2009. It won in the regional category against some amazing books, including Philip Fradkin's well-regarded biography of Wallace Stegner. (To the left is a poster of the award winners. T of G is in the middle on the right.)

The people who voted for Towers of Gold are the booksellers who are on the front lines, showcasing new authors and literary writers while fending of the threat from Amazon and other on-line sellers.

My book, a biography of Isaias Hellman, a banker and my great great grandfather, is not an obvious "must buy." While Hellman was nationally-known in his lifetime, he is virtually forgotten today. So when people browse the non-fiction section, they might not take notice of a book about a man of whom they have never heard.

Yet booksellers in the extended Bay Area have been very generous with Towers of Gold, and have recommended it to their customers. It spent a few weeks on the NCIBA bestseller list and is still displayed in many bookstores.

This is the beauty of independents: their owners and clerks are knowledgeable about books and have opinions. I owe much of the success of Towers of Gold to them. Thank you.

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