Books Inc.

James Ellroy, bestselling author of L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia and other acclaimed crime novels, essays and autobiographies, will be appearing at Alameda’s Books Inc. tonight to promote his new book, Perfidia.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your 60-second news review. Here are your headlines for the week.

The head of Alameda’s electric company is moving on to a new job after half a dozen years at the helm. Alameda Municipal Power General Manager Girish Balchandran, who has been widely praised for extracting the utility from its failed telecom venture and for initiating efforts to pull the utility into a higher-tech future, will head Riverside Public Utilities, a much larger municipal utility.

Daisy’s owner Barbara Mooney starts buying Christmas ornaments for her Park Street boutique not too long after the New Year’s Eve ball has dropped.

“Somebody said, ‘What do you do for Thanksgiving?’ I said, ‘I enjoy my kids, because the day after, they become employees,’” Mooney quipped.

While much of the attention paid to the holiday shopping season is focused on major retailers and the deals they’re offering on “it” gifts to entice customers, holiday sales are equally critical to the small, independent retailers whose shops populate Alameda’s Park Street shopping district.

Photo by Kristen Hanlon.

It’s a familiar conundrum: the holidays are fast approaching, several readers are on your list, and you walk into the bookstore thinking: “Where do I even begin?” I pitched the following questions to Nick Petrulakis, manager of Books Inc. on Park Street. If you’d like further recommendations, check out his book blog at http://bookswithnick.blogspot.com/.

Marie Gilmore was shocked when she saw Madeline L’Engle’s award-winning 1962 science fiction novel “A Wrinkle in Time” on a list of banned and challenged books.

“I read it when I was a child and my daughter read it also,” Alameda’s mayor said. “We just happened to be discussing the book a few weeks ago, so when I saw it on the list, I decided to read it.”