Finding rare books, inner peace at Forest Books

NEW BUT USED — Forest Books, at the Buchanan Mall location of a former video store, specializes in used books. photo by Heather Ito/Nichi Bei Weekly

NEW BUT USED — Forest Books, at the Buchanan Mall location of a former video store, specializes in used books. photo by Heather Ito/Nichi Bei Weekly

Situated in the Buchanan Mall (Osaka Way) just a few stores away from Sutter Street is Forest Books, where the books are rare and the zendo floats.

A 40-year zen Buddhist who studied writing, Forest Books owner Gregory Wood said he wanted to open a business that followed the Buddhist idea of right livelihood — doing the least harm.

“After trying to figure out what I could do back in the world, it seemed like the thing that would be the most available to people that could convey a feeling of peace and harmony and doing no harm would be having a bookstore so I started a book store,” he said.

The shop sells books in English literature, mystery, science fiction, poetry, art, cooking, children’s books, among many others, and specializes in its collection of used books, signed editions and out-of-print editions.

There is also a section of literature translated from foreign languages like Japanese, Russian, Chinese and Turkish into English, as well as a fairly large section on Eastern religion.

“I’m more trained in Eastern religion than I am in Western religion, so naturally it’s represented here as strongly as I can for a small shop,” Wood said.

2020 Japanese Culture Guide

2020 Japanese Culture Guide

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