Who Are We?
That's me, Brad Johnson. If you've been a regular DIESEL shopper for a while, you've maybe seen some variation of this photo -- me at the store, coffee in hand (or not far from my hand). For much of my adult life I pursued academia -- I wasn't expecting bookselling to pursue me instead. It didn't take long for me to realize this is what I was meant to do. (For more details, see a biographical piece I wrote for Literary Hub, "From the Seminary to the Bookstore.")
Let's get specific, though. I'm talking about bookselling in the East Bay! Sure, the whole Bay Area is changing. We all know this. And yet, there remains a strong intellectual and empathetic energy in the East Bay, an enduring sense of "I got your back" community, that makes our independent bookstore scene an envy of much of the country.
DIESEL, A Bookstore has been a fixture in this scene since 1989. John Evans and Alison Reid built the store from the ground up, and turned it into the beloved regional icon that it is today. Suffice it to say, I was humbled when they asked me if I'd be interested in carrying on the legacy. We've a different name, sure, but the same full-throttled belief that vibrant, diverse bookstores remain a cultural necessity.
As fiercely proud about where we live as what we do, East Bay Booksellers will be a reflection of you, my neighbors and friends. It's also a reflection of my aversion for clever names! Where we are and what we do: it identifies us, and this story of ours is far from over.