Monterey Holiday Literary Expo – Buy Local this Holiday Season from Local authors!

This holiday season, buy local from local authors who have written a wide range of books that will appeal to any reader on your gift list! We will have novels, mysteries, cookbooks, children’s books, fantasy books, travel books, and more!

Mark your calendars for Friday 3 December 2021, 6pm!

Continue reading “Monterey Holiday Literary Expo – Buy Local this Holiday Season from Local authors!”

About Us: Meet the Booksellers

Old Capitol Books was purchased by the Elfaki family in 2017, from its previous owner Matthew Sundt. Since then, we have worked to carry on the bookstore’s legacy of bring a thriving cultural and community space, where we share our love of art and literature.

Stephanie Spoto (Bookseller) has worked at Old Capitol Books since its opening in 2012. She has a PhD in English Literature from Edinburgh University and teaches literature and philosophy at CSU Monterey Bay and Monterey Peninsula College.

Ali Elfaki (Proprietor) is a Sudanese immigrant who grew up here on the peninsula, and has been working at Old Capitol Books since 2014. He’s looking forward to helping the bookstore grow and develop into a literary and artistic fixture in the community.

Jordi Faxon (Bookseller) is studying music and philosophy at NYU, but helps out at the bookstore when he’s back on break.

With the help of our families, bookstore staff, and friends, we were able to pool enough money to make the purchase of the business. (THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED!)

We bonded over our love of books and literature, and many of our early days together were spent right here in the bookstore, so starting this next chapter of our lives together with Old Capitol Books is more than we could have ever hoped for. We are absolutely overjoyed.

Where it all began in 2012: Stephanie & Ali with their dog, Turk (who still makes regular appearances at Old Capitol Books)

Matthew Sundt bought the Book Haven on October 12, 2012 from Guy Rodriguez and Jerry Welling who owned the Book Haven since 2004 (Guy and Jerry also owned Yesterday’s Books in Moss Landing from 1992-2004).  Upon purchase of the Book Haven in 2012, the name of the book store was changed to Old Capitol Books, which reflects the name of Matthew’s family book store that was located at 639-A Lighthouse Avenue in New Monterey (now Gold Coast Tattoo across the street from Hula’s restaurant). Old Capitol Books was originally established in 1983 and was the Peninsula’s premiere book store for 20 years and now Old Capitol Books Redux! and now in downtown Monterey.  Matthew captured the lingering palpable “goodwill” from Old Capitol Books and combined it with the swarm of Book Haven devotees to build his own bookstore style. He ran the bookstore until purchased in 2017 by Ali Elfaki.

From garage, to bookstore, to empty shell: the history of 559 Tyler Street

One of the things that made the last Old Capitol Books store location such a special place to be in was the building itself, with its high ceilings and beautiful wooden beams. The building was originally commissioned by Arthur C. Metz (b. 1879), a local real estate investor and Vice President of the Gross Canning Company, which flourished during the 1930s. The contractor who for the building was George C. Miller (b. 1875), from Gonzales, who used the newly constructed building as his shop.

Note: This article is about the last location of Old Capitol Books (2012-2020) on Tyler Street. The bookstore is currently located at 482 Alvarado St., downtown Monterey.

Continue reading “From garage, to bookstore, to empty shell: the history of 559 Tyler Street”

Interview with poet Kenny Garcia, on New York, writing, and visiting Palestine

Kenny Garcia (Boukra Press, CSU Monterey Bay) & Stephanie Spoto (Old Capitol Books)

Kenny Garcia
“Letter to Langston” by Kenny Garcia

Spoto: In what way do you think poetry is different than prose? Why are you writing this in poetic form rather than as an essay, a short story, or a letter?Continue reading “Interview with poet Kenny Garcia, on New York, writing, and visiting Palestine”