Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Slow In the Heart of Silicon Valley: Kepler's

Those of you who have read Slow Is Beautiful know that I set the opening scene in Palo Alto with a road-rage incident. So when Kepler's Bookstore hosted my reading recently, a sense of historical irony abounded. About 50 people came out for the reading, and there were many nodding heads as I spoke of life in Silicon Valley and the need to slow down. Anecdotally the locals tell me that, after a post-dot-bomb lull, things are speeding back up. That certainly seems to be the case just walking and driving around. People are in the biggest hurry here of anywhere in the world, it seems.

It's tough being a slowski from Seattle down here. People honk their horns if you don't accelerate from a stoplight like a jackrabbit. And they run you down at intersections when you try to cross the street. But there is hope. People seem tuned into the fact that the rushing around, hellbent consumerist lifestyle of Silicon Valley is patently unhealthy. We talked about a number of strategies to slow down, including crossing things off your to-do list even if you haven't done them. Everyone always relates to that!

One nice thing about visiting the Bay Area is being able to provide "mutual support" to other authors. One of my favorite people on the planet, Peter J. Sussman, has been getting rave reviews for his new book on Jessica Mitford, titled Decca. The New York Times featured it recently and this week it's the BBC's coveted book of the week. The network is running a week-long series of readings from Decca. Here's the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/book_week.shtml

At my reading in Mrs. Dalloway's bookstore in Berkeley, Peter (who lives just down the street) came by and we wound up buying and signing each other's books! Congratulations on all your much deserved success Peter!

I've also continued to talk up Alex Steffen's remarkable new compilation, Worldchanging. Here I am with it outside of Kepler's. One thing about carrying Worldchanging around, it doesn't get missed! Be sure to check it out if you haven't picked up a copy already!

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