Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tune In, Turn on, Drop by

It seems that the time is upon me again to get up early, to be clever and aware, and share my stack of nightstand reading with the fine folks of the KFOG Morning Show...

So, turn your radio dial to 104.5fm (or 97.7fm in the South Bay) on Wednesday, Sept. 23 to catch me live at 8:15am. Still a bit on the early side for nite0wls like us, but they wouldn't call it a Morning Show if they let me come on at noon, now would they?

I still miss Dave Morey, but Webster is truly one cool cat, and is filling the master's mic beautifully. Just check out his moves with the hoop above...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

101 Cookbooks

I am a big fan of food, especially really good food, made with really good ingredients. Heidi Swanson's, Super Natural Cooking, has been a favorite of mine for a few years now because she too seems to enjoy really good food, made with really good ingredients. Awhile back, a friend showed me her wonderful website (101 Cookbooks), which is full of helpful cooking tips and recipes; it is also easy to use and organized neatly. Ms. Swanson recently had a post discussing her favorite to-dos and eats throughout various San Francisco neighborhoods and she graciously noted visting Green Apple after a meal at Burma Superstar down the street. Check out her highlights of the city here: San Francisco Favorites and you've gotta try her recipe for chocolate cake!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Guest blog, or Dan Brown Dan Brown Dan Brown!

You can take the bookseller out of the bookstore, but you can't take him off the blog... at least not until his privileges (is that the word I'm looking for?) are revoked. I'm blogging across state lines tonight because I am just so excited about the man who is bringing "sexy back to a genre that had been left for dead." That's right - Dan Brown.

Well... I would be remiss not to mention Dan Brown at least once today, right? Or six times: Dan Brown, Dan Brown, Dan Brown, Dan Brown, Dan Brown, Dan Brown.

(As an aside, it might be contrary of me to question this on the release day of The Book That Will Save Publishing, but did I miss the death of the popular fiction thriller? If the genre was left for dead, as the New York Times would have it, how come no one told him, or him, or him?)

Not that I'm being a spoilsport. I'm sure The Lost Symbol will provide plenty of entertainment and will hold you over until the movie is released, but for those of you looking for books by authors whose websites do not have flash animations or blurbs with phrases like "pulse-pounding," here's a short list of some upcoming releases that may be of some interest:

I'm going to break my promise right away, because Library of America's 2-volume set of American Fantastic Tales definitely promises to get your pulse pounding.

This chronological collection features the usual suspects (Poe, Lovecraft, Straub) along with the surprising (Tennessee Williams and Nabokov, for instance), in a comprehensive survey of what is in many ways a uniquely American genre.

At $70 it's an investment, but the dent in your wallet will be more than compensated by the good feelings you'll experience knowing that you helped a non-profit organization aimed at keeping the best American literature in print.

Next up is a new translation of a book originally published 50 years ago, but no less hilarious and fresh today as it was then: Witold Gombrowicz's Pornografia. Here we have a pastoral tale of... murder, sexual predation, intrigue, and lusty farmhands.... Maybe all I'm picking are books that promise pulse-pounding action....

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't pick a book from the inspiring, challenging, unique, etc., etc., Dalkey Archive Press. (Disclaimer: scroll down.)

If my affiliation with the publisher of Jerusalem by Gonçalo M. Tavares puts any doubt into your mind as to the book, read instead what Jose Saramago, a man who likely has no idea what Dalkey Archive is, had to say about Tavares:

"Goncalo M. Tavares burst onto the Portuguese literary scene armed with an utterly original imagination that broke through all the traditional imaginative boundaries. This, combined with a language entirely his own, mingling bold invention and a mastery of the colloquial, means that it would be no exaggeration to say-with no disrespect to the young Portuguese novelists writing today-that there is very much a before Gonçalo M. Tavares and an after . . . I've predicted that in thirty years' time, if not before, he will win the Nobel Prize and I'm sure my prediction will come true."

(Please click on the cover to read an additional blurb by Saramago.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Few Questions For You

Is this the Harvard Bookstore or a miniature model? Mad props to Flickr user Carmel Kozlov:

and also, who (besides fancy interior designers) sorts their books by color??:

How do you sort your books? Alphabetically? Chronologically (by author's birthdate or date of your purchase)? Hmm?

It cries out your name in the night- "Herman! Herman!"

I wanna' give a big shout out to Melville House Publishing. I'm pretty certain that their name has nothing to do with the legendary works of Herman Melville, but I stumbled across that painting while googling (am I supposed to capitalize that?) their name, and gosh, how gnarly is that?! Just thought I'd share...

Anyway, right on their site's main page (if you scroll down just a little) you can see a youtube window frozen on a still of Kate and Kevin H of Green Apple's Kindle vs Book commercial fame. Pretty sweet of them to mention lil' old us when I'm sure they have so many other things on their plate which, if you are unfamiliar, is the hopefully endless job of discovering and publishing exciting and obscure works of fiction from around this little globe. Personally I've been quite excited about these:

Those a just a couple of the titles in Melville House's contemporary novella series. Bonsai (one of our staff picks), is a love story of a tragic nature that will hook you with just the first paragraph, at once wrapping you in a sort of engrossing melancholy. Steve Stern's The North of God is a holocaust tale revolving around one man's awkward attempt to displace his fellow captives from the obvious horror at hand though storytelling. Also, not pictured but certainly worth the mention, is Benoit Duteurtre's Customer Service, a Kafkaesque vision of a forty-something year old man's plight in the modern world, attempting to keep his cool in a tangled mess of confusing bills, tech support hotlines, and McDonald's frequenting priests.

Having happily completed those three books in the series so far, I'm looking forward to reading more, but here is a curiosity that gave me pause today. Are you familiar with Tao Lin?

Photo by Akasha Rabut

Tao Lin is the author of Eeeee Eee Eeee most notably, and Shoplifting at American Apparel most recently. The latter has just recently been released in the previously mentioned novella series to combative reviews. In the wide range of feedback I've read on Lin's work, he had been called both an 'American Murakami' as well as 'irking' and 'irritating.' I haven't delved far enough in to formulate a rock solid opinion myself, but being that the guy was born the same year as me (1983) I find the controversy intriguing, though I know someone is going to make fun of me for admitting it.

One final note: Did you know that former Melville House in-house graphic designer Dave Konopka left his job with them to pursue his career as the guitarist/bassist of Battles? Wild!

Alright, well enough me babbling on about these little books. I highly recommend that you check one out for yourself. I'm telling ya' they're perfect for a nice outdoor afternoon read. Now in the spirit of the last few entries, look how neat our store is still, after all these years:

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1st Reg POV (if you're pretty short) 09/09/09