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On a Roll

By Paul Bendix

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About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl...  (More)

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Reborn Kepler's Thrives

Uploaded: Mar 2, 2015
Menlo Park has happily moved from the 'rescue of Kepler's,' to supporting its next it 'revitalization' or even 'expansion.' What's expanding is the mission and scope of the redoubtable bookseller. A chat with Praveen Madan, Kepler's CEO, points in several positive directions.

First, book sales are up – 8%, from 2013 to 2014. The redesigned operation is working well. Public events under the new nonprofit Peninsula Arts and Letters are often packed or sold out -- and they showcase major cultural figures. To put this in perspective.... In recent days NPR and the BBC World Service interviewed Kazuo Ishiguro (author of Remains of the Day)...and Kepler's presents him live on 2 April.

Kepler's is a community operation now. And if its new structure seems hard to define, that's because it is truly pioneering.

It's all about literacy – with mission creep. Think 'literacy' as a shared adventure. For some, it's learning to read or read better or read more enjoyably. For others, it's tackling classic literature...or global, multicultural fiction...the latest in economics or technology...whatever. Look at the book group shelves at Kepler's to get a sense of 'community reading in action.'

Kepler's CEO seemed happily harried the other day, so I kept our talk short. Still, I glanced at his posted favorite reads on my way out. The latter included my favorite Alice Munro...and I immediately decided Praveen must be an okay guy. Books are a way to connect. And the revitalized Kepler's is all about community and connection.
We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Alice fan, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Mar 3, 2015 at 2:05 pm

So happy to see Kepler's doing well, although I wish more people in the community remembered what a dark day it was when we learned Kepler's had gone out of business. More people need to support this gem, or it could disappear again, never to return. Its sales may be up, but I'm often one of only a handful of customers on any given day, and that concerns me.

And on another topic, which book by Munro are you referring to?

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Submit your story today

The 35th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Submit your short story here by April 2 (online submissions only). Stories must be 2,500 words or less. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details