Dear Bookstore Friends,

Gayle ShanksI am sitting at my computer. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have just won the election, and I’ve been receiving joyous texts from friends and family sending pictures, cartoons, memes, messages of relief, all celebrating this renewed opportunity to live and raise families in an America once again led with competence and kindness.

My friends and family found hope again in this election, but for many others it feels like there were no winners. They’re finding it difficult to feel joy in victory because our country is so divided. How is it that millions voted for a man who separates families, attacks peaceful protestors, ignores science, disrespects women, disparages public school education, mocks our veterans, works to shut down affordable healthcare, and allows tens of thousands of Americans to die preventable deaths from a virus he’s recklessly allowed to rage out of control?

But we need to dance in the streets and celebrate this moment of change—with the knowledge that there is much work to be done. And so we roll up our sleeves and continue to stand with the vulnerable communities targeted by the outgoing administration. We have to remain vigilant, even after Trump leaves the People’s House, not just by holding our leaders accountable, but by having ongoing, sometimes difficult conversations with our families, our friends, and our communities. This doesn’t end with a victory. We will not be complacent. I just read an article that summed it up for me. Here was one quote that struck home.
It’s not unity we need. It’s a basic agreement that racism, sexism, ableism, etc. will not be tolerated. There are not two sides to this. There are a million shades of gray on how we live and lead, but there are not and should never be two sides on dehumanization.
Back to hope, and not the misleading kind. We have our first woman Vice President—a woman of color, a daughter of immigrants, a brilliant, hopeful, kind woman who has moved us closer, I hope, to an America where gender bias no longer exists, where one day we can tell our children and grandchildren, as if reading to them from a particularly grim fairy tale, “Once there was a land with a glass ceiling . . .” Right now America is writing a new chapter. It begins, as the Vice President-Elect herself put it: “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last—because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”

A few weeks ago, I was once again reminded of just how different one president can be from another when I watched The Way I See It, the documentary about Pete Sousa. He was President Obama’s official White House photographer. Reagan’s, too. Not only is Souza brilliant, witty, and talented. He’s also a mensch. Obama shines in this film, not just as an incredible family man, dog-lover, and humanitarian, but as the respected leader who chose Joe Biden as his second in command.

In addition to Sousa’s visual reminder of Obama’s White House years, in a few weeks, we’re all going to be able to read the former president's new memoir, A Promised Land, about the early years of his political career through his first term in office. Here’s what he said about his book:
“I’m proud of this one. I’ve spent the last few years reflecting on my presidency, and in A Promised Land I’ve tried to provide an honest accounting of my presidential campaign and my time in office: the key events and people who shaped it, my take on what I got right and the mistakes I made, and the political, economic, and cultural forces that my team and I had to confront then—and that as a nation we are grappling with still.”
A Promised Land will be available on November 17. We think it’s going to be the biggest book of our fall season, so you might want to pre-order now to make sure you get one of the 1000 copies we ordered.

There’s no easy way to say it. Like all indie bookstores, we’re in a precarious position right now, trying to keep our stores afloat and make them safe havens for employees and customers. We’re worried about this holiday season, which usually provides us with the revenue we need to run our stores for the rest of the year. This is not to worry anyone, but to make you aware of how hard it’s been to be a small business this year.

Buying the Obama book will help us significantly, but we’re also hoping you’ll shop early this season for all of your holiday needs. After all, November is the new December! To get you started, our buyers have put together some gorgeous, thoughtfully curated gift boxes and book bundles, all of them available in-store and online here. From our Arizona Love Gift Box to our Anti-Racist Book Bundle and much more, we’ve got grab-and-go (or click and ship) gifts for everyone on your list. Want a peek? Watch our gift buyer, Kim, unbox some Arizona Love on our brand new YouTube channel. And be sure to subscribe!
We’re grateful for your continued support this year. It’s been a hard one, yes, but you’ve sent us so many sweet emails, bought gift cards, brought treats for our staff, ordered books online when we were forced to close, and generally kept our spirits up. We hope we have done the same for you. We love being your community bookstore. We want to continue to share our love of reading, our passion for writers and readers, our sense of hope and outrage that moves us to work for a better world as we continue to contribute to this amazingly diverse community we love. You can join us by keeping your dollars local, thinking twice about buying from Amazon, and visiting us to share your hope and your stories.

May this Thanksgiving remind us of all that we’re thankful for, and help us figure out ways to share our time, energy, and resources with those around us.


Questions or comments? Email Gayle at