Oryoki's House

Where's the Mojitos? I have the guac!

Oryoki Bowl

Oryoki Bowl
February 03
Quaker buddhist, kinda quirky, loves cooking and knitting and movies. Dr Who fan, Scandinavian-aquarian and cat lover. Would love to be paid to travel around the world and write about local healing cultures. While eating and drinking and dancing. One day I will have a health cruise in the fjords.


Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 29, 2011 1:04PM

Green Apple Books is the best used book store in the world!

Rate: 12 Flag

I visit San Francisco about once a year, and I have acquired a few ritual stops on my pilgrimage to the Foggy City.  

green apple books 

(photo by Todd Lappin, from his blog Everywhere: People, 2008) 

On Clement Street is a bookstore, Green Apple Books, that embodies everything I love in a used bookstore.  Every time I travel anywhere, I make an effort to visit the local used or independent bookstore- and actually buy books.  I will even include just the book section of a thrift store, if the used book store is not findable.  I have an iPad now, and still find that I prefer purchasing, reading, and regifting (or just collecting) used paper books as part of the tactile literary experience.  At home in Phoenix, there are several used book stores I frequent, including a local chain Half Price Books.  I love going there, but Green Apple has my eye.

Green Apple Books lies nestled in the middle of the Clement neighborhood, which is a microcosm of many of the joys that are San Francisco living.  It is a mixed ethnicity, high population of many Asian restaurants- from greasy spoon to fancy to vegetarian (Ahimsa!)  There are many green grocers, mixed grocers, odd item stores, bakeries, grilled or smoked or roasted meats, fish stores, little shops, little cafes and sushi.  Clement also sits a reasonable distance from my brother's house, so I can walk there or walk back, when I need an alone time break.  My other street is Haight, where I typically stop and buy something from the Tibet store or a bookstore or a craft store or Goodwill.  That is another reasonable distance up the hill, in the opposite direction. 

But Green Apple Books is the bookstore I always return to.  In such a small space, there is so much to be found.  Typically, I find myself in the cookbook section, the science section, the buddhist section, the travel section, natural healing section, and (more recently) the crafts section.  John gets lost in science and in photography.  This is not the only used bookstore I have visited in SF, but it is the one I most remember.  My other upstairs/downstairs creaky wood shelf used book store on Church St in Burlington, VT, is now closed.   Garcia Street books in Santa Fe is a fine independent, mellow and next to a fine mocha shop with a good patio. But it doesn't bubble with the same sense of enthusiasm.   

I will give a mention to Changing Hands in Tempe, as celebrated in Big Salon, another wonderful bookstore.  I visit when I am in that part of the woods, but it is not a lazy Sunday visit anymore.  Admittedly, Green Apple is also a bit far for that, as well, but reminds me to slow down, breath in the smells of old ink on paper, mingled with unidentified aromas, the clang of the door as it opens and closes, and lose myself in time on my vacations.  Forget the hustle and bustle of the city, and bring me there instead.

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You put me in mind of a family in a Philly 3rd ring burb whose entire old, ricketty house was an enormous book store. Unreal bargains. I hope I can find it again; hope it's still there.

Your favorite bookstore looks very charming, Oryoki Bowl. Did you ever go to what I think is the best used bookstore in the world? It's in Las Cruces and I will be posting about it tonight. If I am ever in SF I will certainly be stopping by the Green Apple to add to my own library. Thanks for sharing about it.
Ah, yes... I live 12 blocks from Green Apple, the happiest 12 blocks you could possibly walk. I'll tell them about your post!
When I think of San Francisco I think of--was it called City Lights bookstore? I love bookstores like this and your description of the store and neighborhood is delightful.
Looks wonderful OB! have to put it on the list..
yes to the beautiful green apple! and to Bird and Beckett Bookstore in Glen Park, San Francisco, which is also the greatest bookstore in the world and helps to support the arts by hosting jazz musicians on weekends, etc.

this is a reminder of where I plan to do my christmas shopping. Indy bookstores. thank-you.
I have never been to it.. Will have to look for it.
Congrats on the EP
Walking along and coming upon a bookstore like the Green Apple I find myself pulled through the doors as if by some wizardly force. You've created that force here, Oryoki, just writing about it. Now all I need to do is get to San Francisco.
Last time I was in SFO I visited both City Lights and Green Apple. "Dad thinks he's died and gone to heaven" said one daughter to the other. I loved both but spent way more at Green Apple. I would have spent even more, but having mom-in-law, wife and both adult daughters with me, it didn't seem like a good time to enlarge the collection of picture books of a shady nature. I loved the fact Green Apple also sells music, in their second location a few doors down.
It's so nice to read about these charming bookstores. Thank you.
A nice story of San Francisco and one wonderful bookstore (I know it too). Good EP too.
Green Apple is one of the things that makes SF great! Across the street (with the pink signs) is a great Chinese bakery - hot pork buns ... yum. Down the street is a great housewares shop. I lived on Clement street as a young bride - above John's Pizza ... Clement is a lively neighborhood.
Green Apple is the best. They've also been very supportive of my literary endeavors. They're great for local authors and readers alike. Great choice.
Yes, Green Apple has long been a fave of mine going back to grad school days. The Bay Area is home to many fine bookshops, including Kepler's in Menlo Park and Moe's in Berkeley (best remaindered books section anywhere). City Lights, of course, of course, but everybody knows City Lights. (It is as good as its rep.)
Walking along and coming upon a bookstore like the Green Apple I find myself pulled through the doors as if by some wizardly force. You've created that force here, Oryoki, just writing about it. Now all I need to do is get to San Francisco.
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Y ya sabemos que las personas tenemos la «fea» costumbre de ser muy diferentes unas de otras y seguro que lo que para mí es raya, EXGF
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