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Books, Etcetera with Lynn Carey: So Long, Sunny

One of the East Bay’s best bookies shares her favorite titles tonight.



One of the best things about wandering into a bookstore is having someone who works there tell you exactly how they feel about a certain book. Customers at Clayton Books, and before that, Bonanza Street Books in Clayton, always know exactly where manager Sunny Solomon stands on any given tome.

But after 10 years, Sunny is retiring to write her own books. And plays. And poetry. She’s moving to Reno, to a condo on the Truckee River, where she plans to sit on her porch and read (when she’s not writing).

Tonight at 6 p.m. Sunny is sharing some of her favorite titles. One is Sherman Alexie’s’ The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. It’s a young adult book, but she says everyone should read it, especially mothers. “I called my son after I read it and told him ‘I’m so sorry I didn’t pay enough attention to you growing up.’”

Sunny SolomonAnother on her list is The Various Flavors of Coffee by Anthony Capella. “It grabbed me with the first paragraph. I had to put everything else down, and read it until I finished it.” She hand-sold 25 copies and had only one disappointed customer who asked her, “How can you stand that man?”

Sunny’s bottom line, when it comes to recommending books? “I’m only going to sell them a book I’m not embarrassed to take their money for,” she says. “The chances were always good that I’d run into them at the grocery store!”

I always loved it when Sunny came to one of the Contra Costa Times Book Club discussions. She would carefully listen to what others had to say, then expressively and convincingly make her case. I will miss that.

Sunny hopes to continue doing her BookLady reviews for Clayton Books, and promises to come back down for the monthly book club meetings at the store, sleeping bag in hand.

“All I need is a couch,” she says.

For 12 years, Lynn Carey has run the Times Book Club, which now appears in the Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune newspapers. For the past 17 years, she's lived in Lafayette with her husband, Lamorinda Sun columnist Mike Zampa, and their two teenagers.