Monday, November 28, 2005

A Writer's Friend Passes

One of the greatest incentives to be a writer is to have readers. And there probably was no other reader that made me want to be a writer like Debi Echlin. Debi, the owner of a Great Good Place for Books, in the Montclair district of Oakland, California, was a book enthusiast like no other. Her passion for books led her to open Second Edition, a used book store in an small area already served by an independent bookstore. Used books may have been too limiting for Debi, because she and her staff metamorphosed into a Great Good Place of Books a few years later.

You could always pick up a good book recommendation, have an intelligent conversation, compare travel notes, score a free butter cookie and just feel at home at GGP thanks to Debi and her staff. She worked hard to attract interesting as well as famous authors to speak and sign books. Once Montclair established a farmer's market, Debi and crew coordinated cookbook author appearances to coincide with market day.

In this era of chain book stores with cookie cutter approaches and mass taste, a Great Good Place for Books was something else -- unique, original and always very welcoming. The store was named after a quote by author Ray Oldenburg about civilizations and cities that have a "great good place" where strangers can feel at home.

Debi Echlin created such a place. It just seems a bit less so right now.

A Great Good Place for Books --

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