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Sunday, October 23, 2022


Tasty reading at Caffe La Scala, Walnut Creek, CA.

By Thomas Shess, editor of this blog since its inception in 2011
--Last winter while ensconced in Rossmoor, a scenic senior community in the East Bay region of San Francisco, to put the finishing touches on my debut novel Cantina Psalms, I took a break for a stroll hand in hand with bride through nearby Walnut Creek. 

Morning strolls are best to clear the fog between ears and be able to smell the coffee. In this case it was at Caffe La Scala on Main just of Civic Dr. Early arrival meant the pastries were fresh and the Occupiers (avec computer and who me stare) hadn’t arrived to stake claim to one of the proprietor’s tables for the entire of the day. 

Caffe La Scala (above) spills over into a courtyard of the business complex it shares so there’s plenty of seating. The bride of 37 years picked one of the free outdoor tables on Main Street while I ordered Lattes (and only drooled at the bear claws and chocolate croissants). While we sat enjoying what ended up a remarkable sunny (almost hot) day in Walnut Creek, a woman interrupted us in mid sip just to say we were a “delight” to see: a couple having coffee at an outdoor cafĂ©. 

Before we wiped the froth off our lips to thank her, she disappeared into the office building nearby. It was nice of her to comment so sweetly with no agenda. Not surprising because Walnut Creek and surrounding Pleasant Hill are Norman Rockwellish communities. 

From coffee to books, we strolled a few shops along Main Street to Flashlight Books, left, where a very helpful young woman pointed out her store offers new and used books. I purchased Ronan Farrow’s “Catch and Kill.” The book still in its original jacket was used but pristine otherwise. It fetched $12. I noticed a small sign that dovetailed with the name of the shop. It was a quote from one of the Harry Potter books “Happiness can be found even in the darkest times if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Thank you, Albus Dumbledore.  Flashlight is a kid/teen retailer but carries its share of grown up titles new and used.  It's a a big store with room for all, well-lit and has that aroma we all love: books!

I mentioned to the genial bookseller that it was a hope that my novel end up on her shelves next time I visited (now that the book has debuted I’ll return to Walnut Creek and our Rossmoor condo in January). Fingers are crossed on finding Cantina Psalms there. All in all, Walnut Creek and neighboring Pleasant Hill both have walkable downtowns, a comfortable mix of shops and cafes. We were there early so parking was not a problem. It was a fun morning. 

Caffe La Scala 1537 North Main Street Walnut Creek, CA 

web: Click here 

Flashlight Books 1537 North Main Street Walnut Creek, CA 

web. Click here 

For more reviews on Cantina Psalms Click Here 


ISBN: 978-1-66784-402-2

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