Archive for September 2nd, 2010

Bookstore with schtick: David Kipen’s new gig

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010
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Libros Schmibros books in Boyle Heights from 89.3 KPCC on Vimeo.

Over a decade ago, David Kipen shepherded me into the book pages of the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, when he was its editor and columnist.  And I’m proud that he was proud enough to brag about it to Dana Gioia, who eventually lured him to Washington D.C. to be Director of the Literature Program at the National Endowment for the Arts.  In particular, David championed the National Reading Initiatives and the popular Big Read program.

I didn’t actually meet David until some years later (our relationship had been purely electronic and epistolary) at an National Book Critics Circle gig where he was speaking.  I saw immediately why Dana had chosen him — he pulled people into his orbit, and moved through the room like the sun.

People will have another chance to be drawn into his orbit in Boyle Heights, in L.A.  It’s good to see a chunk of his post-NEA life at Libros Schmibros, featured on KPCC, Southern California Public Radio.

He told the L.A. Times when asked about his plans: “I wouldn’t mind another nine months of government work, to get me across the five-year pension finish line, but California will always be home. Then again, the beauty part is a) that I left home a Californian, but I’m coming home an American, and b) that I’m coming home.”

The books in Libros Schmibros are culled from Kipen’s sizeable personal library, and “curated” by David’s even more sizeable personality.

Good luck, David!  Nice to see you back in these parts.