B Street Books, 2018 Reading Challenge … and Steve Wiencek’s online independent bookstore, Scholar and Poet Books

“The Bookshop has a thousand books,
All colors, hues, and tinges,
And every cover is a door
That turns on magic hinges.”
American poet, Nancy Byrd Turner (1880-1971)

One of the great fun things in life is popping into a used-book store and exploring the shelves, finding old friends and making new ones. Our local is B Street Books, a brave little independent that’s managed to keep its doors open when so many others are forced to close down.  If you live in San Mateo, California and haven’t been there, do go. Wherever you live in this world, be sure to support independent bookstores, whether they sell new and/or used books. They are as necessary to the spirit of democracy as schools and libraries.

“The replacement of independent bookstores by firms such as Barnes & Noble, Waterstones or Borders superficially provided a wide range of reading, but their policies further limited choice.” Sara Ayad, The History of the Book in 100 Books: The Complete Story, From Egypt to E-Book

B Street Books’ owner and staff put together a reading challenge for 2018.  It’s the bookish equivalent of Dr. Terry Wahl‘s functional-medicine challenge to eat two-hundred different fruits and veggies over the course of the year, something to force explorations beyond the easy, obvious and/or habitual.

“Read a book,” the B Street team encourage …

  • published in the year you were born;
  • published more than 200 years ago;
  • written by someone with the same initials as yours;
  • longer than 500 pages;
  • shorter than 100 pages;
  • in a genre you don’t usually read;
  • based on the cover art;
  • that challenges your views;
  • that you were supposed to finish in high school;
  • recommended by a friend;
  • recommended by a child;
  • on which a movie is based;
  • with a one-word title;
  • that you loved as a youngster;
  • that is set in or near your home town;
  • that has won a Pulitzer Prize; and,
  • that you bought a B Street Books.

The books I started out with this year are the ones I got for Christmas from my son:

I’ve linked you to Amazon for these books but that doesn’t mean you can’t scope them out at your local independent or check with Steve (below) to see if he has copies available.

Speaking of independents:

Check Out

Scholar and Poet Books

Steve Wiencek helped out with the September 2016 issue of The BeZine, which addressed environmental issues.  You can read his feature article, Nature … Place … Community HERE.  Steve says of his independent online store:  “We are experienced book, music and video sellers. Our extensive and varied inventory includes a large collection of classical music CDs, LPs and sheet music; colorful and hard-to-find vintage GGA pulp fiction paperbacks; vintage children’s books and more! Find us and like us on Facebook, please!”




Organized by Faith in Action Bay Area.

The Immigrant Rapid Response hotline is up and running in the San Francisco Bay Area. We now have teams with hundreds of volunteers ready to converge whenever an ICE raid is taking place in our neighborhoods. The teams are trained to witness and record the event and ensure that the rights of immigrants are protected. Now, we need to make sure our neighbors in the immigrant community are aware of the hotline.

Help distribute the rapid response hotline information in UUSM’s own neighborhood. We will meet at UUSM on Saturday and spread out to canvass the neighborhood with posters and cards. For questions, email rapidresponse@faithinactionba.org. Please RSVP HERE.

MEET AT: Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo, 300 E. Santa Inez Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94401 @ 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 6th.

Heads-up San Mateo Residents: Justice Action Mondays, Flash Advocacy – Stand Up for Planet Earth

Rev. Benjamin Meyers, Minister, Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo

It’s Earth Week! This week, clean energy legislation is being introduced in Congress and “marches for science” are happening all over the world. For this Justice Action Monday (JAM) Rev. Ben Meyers and the members of the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo (UUSM) invite neighbors in North Central San Mateo to stand up for environmental justice and sustainability. We’ll take five actions, from writing postcards to Congress and social media activism to lobbying companies to ban plastic packaging. We’ll also be offering training for those who’d like to co-facilitate future JAM sessions. Let us speak up together for our beautiful planet this Monday (April 24th) from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at …

Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo, 300 E. Santa Inez Ave., San Mateo, Ca  94401, 650 342-5946  Office Hours:  Tu-Fri 10-5

“Love is active, not passive. It is our love for one another, for Mother Earth, for our fellow creatures that compels us to act on their behalf.” Laurence Overmire, The One Idea That Saves The World: A Call to Conscience and A Call to Action

HEADS-UP SAN MATEO, CA: Justice Action Mondays, Flash Advocacy

UU San Mateo

Justice Action Mondays: Flash Advocacy!
Monday, April 17, 5:30-6:30 pm
Beck Hall

Rev. Ben Meyers of San Mateo, California

Rev. Ben Meyers and the UUSM Congregation invite our neighbors in North Central San Mateo to join in Justice Acton Mondays. This week, we’ll be standing tall with Planned Parenthood. We have five one-minute actions to choose from using pen and paper, clever apps on your phone, and compelling social media shares straight from PP’s emergency guide. Come learn what’s going on and how to #resist.

Bonus: Get fired up and learn more about UU Justice Ministry’s Immigration Day on May 15 in Sacramento!

Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo (UUSM), 300 E. Santa Inez Avenue, San Mateo, CA  94401 Phone: 650-342-5946  Office Hours:  Tu-Fri 10-5