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Bookseller off to small but determined start in Vallejo

By SARAH ROHRS/Times-Herald staff writer

Posted: 11/11/08, 12:01 AM PST |

Reading a book starts with a single page, and that’s the kind of approach Charles Chatmon, author and book fair organizer, is using to reach his goal of opening a book store.

In Vallejo, where places to find favorite authors are few and far between, a bookstore has been a long-held desire of many officials and residents.

Before trying to open a store, Chatmon is taking a samplings of used books on the road.

Saturday mornings, Chatmon’s mobile bookstore can be found in the farmers market in downtown Vallejo. There he sells mysteries, romances and classics while also telling people of his plans to open a store featuring new and used books, plus magazines, newspapers and CDs.

Part of a circle of local writers and artists, Chatmon and his partner, Chandra Adams, also aim to bolster the city’s literary scene with writing workshops, book discussions, poetry walks and festivals.

A Vallejoan, Adams wrote the novel “Shades of Retribution,” a mystery and thriller.

“We want a permanent space for book discussions and workshops,” said Chatmon, who moved here from Los Angeles in March “We just want it to be exciting in Vallejo.”

He said the need is big for people to buy new and used books, and for local authors to showcase their works.

Chatmon moved from Los Angeles to Vallejo in March. Soon afterward, he took part in the Vallejo Artist Guild’s March conference “Vision 2008: A Foundation for Effective Cultural Planning.”

He is currently surveying residents on what they would like to read and how they might like to help establish the book store with donations and other help.

Vallejo real estate property and asset manager Steve England said he’s talked with Chatmon on ways the city could help him.

Chatmon is the author of two poetry collections — “The Depths of My Soul,” and “The Voices of South Central.” He is the executive director of the Los Angeles Black Book Expo last held in June. He works as a professional proof-reader, and is a freelance writer and former middle school teacher.



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