Saturday, February 28, 2009

Baseball & Books

As soon as the last whistle is blown on the Super Bowl, then in my world baseball season begins. I'm currently down in Arizona, taking a long weekend to catch the Giants and A's under the Cactus League sun. And since this is a bookstore blog, I'll talk about my favorite baseball book of all time, The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter. Much more than a baseball book, it is a brilliant piece of American history.

In the early '60's, when Ty Cobb died, Ritter, at the time an insurance executive, realized that all of these players from the early days of the game wouldn't be around much longer. He decided to get in his car and try to track down as many of them as he could. When he found them, he turned on his tape recorder and let them tell their stories. What he got is vintage Americana: farm boys hopping freight trains to try out for the bigs; stories about the game when it was still disreputable to be a ballplayer. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

KFOG titles & Josh Bazell Beat(s) the Reaper at the 540 Club

So, I did it! I drug my weary bones out of bed at 6:15 yesterday morning to go downtown to the KFOG station for my regular book review spot on the Morning Show. Webster, Dave Morey's replacement, is a right-on guy who digs the Giants and loves to read! I think that we'll get along famously. The 5 books I reviewed Tuesday morning are listed on our site, but for those of you who may be click-impaired, here they are: Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell (more on this later), Bases Loaded by Kirk Radomski, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Bay Area Graffiti by Rotman and Brennan and March's "Book of the Month", Little Bee by Chris Cleave. So there you go - check 'em out. Rather, DON'T check 'em out, but buy them here instead.


A couple of Kevins agree that Josh Bazell's debut novel Beat the Reaper was classic pulpy fun in a very modern manner. Josh has agreed to take part in our ongoing reading series, NOIR AT THE BAR, at the 540 Club (540 Clement Street) next Thursday March 5th from 630-800pm. All the details are available on our events page.

Please Keep Reading.

Bookseller Wanted!

From Craigslist this week:

green apple adorable - w4m - 24 (inner richmond)

really cute book-selling boy in the ratatat shirt at green apple books this evening, you surely caught my eye.

it's entirely possible that all i did was catch your ear as i click-clicked around the book shop with embarrassingly loud boots. regardless, this bespectacled redhead sure would like to see you again.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Final Issue of Might Magazine

As Kevin posted a few days ago, we find some interesting things in used books and the boxes and bags they arrive in. Sometimes we know they're interesting but don't get them right out on the sales floor, often because there are suddenly 13 more bags and boxes to comb through.

I stumbled yesterday on such a find: the final issue of Might magazine. Do you remember Might? It was Dave Eggers' magazine in the early 1990s. Wikipedia describes it succinctly: "the magazine might be summarized as an effort by twentysomethings to say something instead of nothing." A worthy goal, eh?

It has much of the same quirkiness folks expect from McSweeney's, its more literary successor, like a wacky table of contents, lots of fine print, a tongue firmly in cheek but with compelling stories of journalistic or literary import.

It was a bit sad to stumble anew upon such good, quirky old-fashioned journalism from the post-zine, pre-Internet era, especially in these times of closing bookstores, online-only magazines, bankrupt newspapers, etc. But it was mostly just some interesting reading, like the cover story. Here's a pull quote from "Are Black People Cooler Than White People?" (the subtitle is "Dumb Question"):
The secret weapon of cool has been the eye open to synthesis. Just about every important black cultural invention of this century has been about synthesizing qualities or elements previously considered antithetical. MLK did it with Eastern thought and civil rights. Chuck Berry brought blues and country music together. --Donnell Alexander, Might#16, July/August, 1997

If you want this copy of the last issue of Might, the first one to email me can have it. Unless I have to mail it. Then it's $10. It pays to live near Green Apple.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A miscellany of literary links

1. Congratulations to Attila Bartis (fiction) & Takashi Hiraide (poetry), winners of the 2008 Best Translated Book Award for Tranquility and For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut, respectively.

2. At BOMB Magazine, a rare interview with Cesar Aira, author of the just-released novel Ghosts.

3. From 3:AM, an overview of the works of Jean-Philippe Toussaint.

4. Tayeb Salih, long heralded as the preeminent Arabic novelist in the world, has died. His first novel, Season of Migration to the North (1966), was called the "Most important Arabic novel of the 20th century" by the Arab Literary Academy and is being reissued by NYRB in April.

5. The finalists for the NYPL's 9th annual Young Lions Fiction Award have been named. Green Apple customers may recall that Rivka Galchen's debut, Atmospheric Disturbances, was our July 2008 "Book of the Month" and the subject of our second Youtube commercial.

6. Michael Dirda's enthusiasm for literature is infectious. Read his review of Green Apple bestseller Elegance of the Hedgehog and try to stop yourself from reading the novel. Also see a review at Ready Steady Book.

7. Finally, one of the great troubled writers is "tiptoeing" back onto the world's literary stage. Although Hamsun's political opinions were questionable, his novels - Hunger, Pan, & Mysteries especially - remain remarkably fresh. Yale University Press is publishing a new translation of a biography of him in August.