The terms "recycling center" and "literary community" are rarely found
in the same sentence — or on the same half-acre — but if
you venture all the way up Schmidt Lane in El Cerrito, and if you've
got any lucky timing at all, you're likely to find the two come
together. Turning off San Pablo Avenue toward the hills, you'll pass
through a sedate residential neighborhood, marred only by the row of
power lines climbing adjacent Moeser Avenue, until you reach the end of
the road. Tucked back against a steep, barren patch of the hills in
what looks like an old rock quarry (although it claims to be a City of
El Cerrito "Nature Area") is the Recycling Center; here, in a corner
next to the bins of metals, plastics, and glass, is a collection of
bookshelves surrounded by a passel of bookworms. They arrive by
bicycle, car, and somehow even by foot, and eagerly pick up, drop off,
page through, and discuss the textual comings and goings. Be polite, be
cool, be well-read, and you should come away with good literary loot.
Beware of the shorter Daylight Saving Time hours.