Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rise and Shine

This morning I drug my weary bones out of bed at 6:15, navigated through the downtown commuter traffic, and made it to the KFOG studios on-time for my 7:15 book review spot. If you happened to miss it, these are the titles I reviewed; and if you can't make it by Green Apple Books on Clement Street, you can just follow the individual links to our website,where you can buy them without involving Amazon. I love this internet.

Causing a Scene by Charlie Todd and Alex Scordelis.
From the infamous No Pants! Subway ride to the legendary fake U2 concert, Improv Everywhere has been responsible for some of the most original and subversive pranks of the Internet Age. Causing a Scene provides a hilarious firsthand account of their mischievous antics. Learn how they created a time loop in a Starbucks and gave Best Buy eighty extra employees. Join in the fun and get inspired to create your own memorable mayhem.

Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality by Barbara Bradley Hagerty.
In Fingerprints of God, an award-winning journalist (and ex-Christian Scientist) delves into the startling discoveries that science is making about how faith and spirituality affect us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Brimming with accuracy and nuance, she probes the work of some of the world's top scientists to describe what their groundbreaking research reveals about human spiritual existence. Insightful, technical and yet deeply human, Fingerprints of God is an extraordinary examination of what we are learning about how and why we believe, and will appeal to anyone intrigued by any manner of mystical experience.

When the Rivers Ran Red by Vivienne Sosnowski
My favorite title this season, this is the riveting history of California wine-making families, their heroic battle against Prohibition, and their triumph against all odds. Sosnowski deftly weaves the political machine with the human experience, bringing readers into the halls of Congress and through the idyllic hills and valleys of the Napa and Sonoma wine counties during the dark dry years of Prohibition. To bootleg or not to bootleg, that was the question. When the Rivers Ran Red answers that, and so much more.

Border Songs by Jim Lynch
This pitch-perfect novel tells the story of Brandon Vanderskool, a six foot eight, highly dyslexic young man with unusually extraordinary talents. Some of which come in handy once Brandon joins the American Border Patrol, policing his childhood forestland along the Canadian border; others make his small-town life that much more difficult. Bursting with wonderful characters that exude life and humor (not to mention the songs of a cast of dozens and dozens of birds), Border Songs is at once comic and tender and momentous - a riveting portrait of community, an extraordinary love story and fiction of the highest order.

Published to coincide with the landmark museum exhibition (at SFMOMA through August 23rd), Looking In is a dream come true for shutterbugs, art lovers, or fans of American mid century culture whatsoever. In the mid-1950's photographer Robert Frank received a Guggenheim grant to fund his photographic tour of the United States, "To portray Americans as they live at present." What emerged was a book shocking and confrontational to most, yet it has grown steadily in stature, now reigning as the singular defining work of American photojournalism. Looking In offers rare insight into the creation of The Americans, and lends a unique peek behind the curtains of a notoriously protective artist.