Just in! The First Trade Edition of John Steinbeck’s acclaimed work East of Eden. This is the version that was first available to the general public, in its original dust jacket; a scarce copy of one of our most requested titles. A great way to start your holiday gift shopping for the true book lover in your life.
For a number of years, when renowned literary figures came to speak at Stanford, photographer Margo Davis documented the authors in quiet photographic sessions. The results were outstanding portraits of many of the best-known writers of our time.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to view the collection and to meet the artist in person from 4 to 8 P.M. on Friday, October 13th. Margo’s books and prints will be offered for sale.
Bell’s is honored to display Margo’s work throughout Palo Alto’s Code:ART Public Art Festival, an engaging interactive event.
For more information on Margo’s work:
For more information on the Palo Alto CodeART event:
Part of the long history of Bell’s Books is a profound appreciation of Classical music, particularly when it is on long playing records (also known as LPs). Sixty years ago when Bell’s was known as Bell’s College Book Shop and business was slow, the owner, Herbert Bell, used to sit outside the back under a tree and play Classical music on a portable turntable, on vinyl or early shellac albums. Any passersby who evinced interest were immediately commandeered to keep him company and listen. If Herbert enjoyed their company, they were offered beer, or sherry, according to his assessment of them.
Recently we acquired an exceptional collection of Baroque and early Classical LPs, all of which are in pristine condition. Composers include Frescobaldi, Vivaldi, Rameau, Monteverdi, and more. The emphasis is on harpsichord music, early opera, and a good dose of the first set of recordings of Bach’s complete cantatas (which include the musical scores in each box for those of you who want to follow along!).
We will be featuring some of the selections from this collection in the store, played on a traditional turntable through vintage speakers. It may be we are the only bookstore in the United States playing music in this manner, so swing by and enjoy some classical music in a vintage bookstore setting!
Recently added to our collection: a gorgeous set of the works of Victor Hugo in French, complete in 19 volumes. From the Societe d’editions litteraires et artistique book series, which flourished from 1899 – 1904 in Paris under the guidance of Paul Ollendorff and his partners, this is the Nouvelle Edition illustree with black and white images throughout. As far as we can determine, we are one of three booksellers in the world offering this as a complete set, the other booksellers being in France and the Netherlands. Only 550 dollars for this remarkable treasure.
Another fresh batch of our signature bags is now in the store. This time there is even more variety in the cloth patterns and combinations. While supplies last!
“… as I learned more about the history of California and its place, especially through the role of California engineers in the colonized world, it became clear to me what kind of colony and what kind of place California was in the 19th century.” (Malcolm Harris, Interview, March 1, 2023)
What better place to get a copy of Malcolm Harris’ new controversial and provocative book on Palo Alto than the only bookstore in downtown Palo Alto? Harris takes an expansive view of what it means for this particular part of the world and its relationship between technology and wealth, starting much earlier in history than one might expect.
“A highly readable revisionist history of the Golden State, sharply argued and well researched.”
– Kirkus Review
Bell’s will be closed for the week of January 23rd to January 29th in remembrance of Valeria Bell.
There will be an informal gathering in Val’s honor at Bell’s Books, 536 Emerson Street, Palo Alto, on Sunday afternoon, January 29th, 2023. Please feel free to drop by to visit with friends and family any time between 2:00 and 5:00. We would love to hear your reminiscences.
We will be open again for browsing at 11am on Monday, January 30th.
Full obituary can also be read on Palo Alto Online here.
January 19th, 1927 – November 5th, 2022
Our beloved Val dedicated half a century of her life to Bell’s Books.
She worked in all capacities side by side with her husband, Herbert Bell, for decades,
and continued on with all the children helping out at one time or another.
In 2014, at age 87, she was still quietly doing paperwork in the office,
but decided it was time to turn the business over to her daughter Faith.
Val was respected for her far-ranging knowledge of literature and history,
her fierce sense of justice, always helping those in need or pain,
and for her calm and kind demeanor.
In a brief note she left us, she ends with “Weep not, but rejoice!”
We rejoice in the love we will always feel for her,
and in the boundless love she shared.
We queried our staff, and here are their reasons to give books as gifts…
Kris: Books can be opened at any time; they require no electricity, only light.
Tärna: A person can only use so much bath soap.
Faith: Is there anything else?
Emma: There’s a book out there for everyone on your list.
Kevin: As a mother told her four-year-old earlier today: “Learning to read makes you taller.”