Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tune your FM dial to 104.5 on Wed Morning!

Maybe you knew, or maybe you didn't know, but I'm the official 'Book Guy of the 'KFOG Morning Show. And what that means (in addition to having my very own theme song) is that on Wed. morning I'll be going live at 7:30AM (ugh, i know) with the usual gang, and rapping about a handful of new titles that I'm most excited about. Like Oprah, I'm not telling til I tell, so tune-in WED MORNING and find out which tomes deserve the place of honor on your nightstand. 104.5FM in San Francisco (and North Bay) or 97.7FM in the South Bay.

And if you've got some free time on Tuesday night, the place to be is at Tosca, when Green Apple welcomes Wells Tower reading from his new collection of short-stories, "Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned." I haven't been this excited about a batch of short stories since reading Jesus' Son, and I'm not alone. In fact (Shhhhh....) I've been conspiring with another author to throw a little after-party for Wells for invited guests only. You may well flip your lid when you get to meet her, too. Drop me an email with your name, and you'll be sure to make the scene: The event details are at the bottom of our upcoming events page.

Keep Reading and Go Giants!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Author Author

Geoff Dyer stopped by the store today to sign copies of his new book, Jeff In Venice, Death in Varanasi (you can read the gushing N.Y. Times Book Review by Pico Iyer here).

Mr. Dyer holds a special place in our collective Green Apple hearts (as we do in his). In his brilliant and hilarious 1997 study of D.H. Lawrence, Out of Sheer Rage (out of print at the moment, but due to be reissued in December), Dyer searches the world for the Penguin edition of Lawrence's Phoenix.

Finally, he stumbles upon it in a little bookstore in San Francisco: "Back in San Francisco, at the Green Apple bookstore, I found a copy of Phoenix: the Penguin edition. I saw it and snatched it up in the way that one does in these circumstances, fearful that at the last moment someone else was going to beat me to it. Ten dollars- and, right next to it, was Phoenix II."

In other author news, we're doing an event with David LaBua for his book on parking in San Francisco, Finding the Sweet Spot, Saturday at 4. He got a nice little write-up in today's Examiner. Should be fun.

And last, on Sunday we're doing a launch party for the local author of a new environmental-themed young adult novel called Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French. She's been getting great reviews from librarians and kids' book specialists. Come on by Sunday at 5 for some snacks, meet the author, and get a book signed.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wearing Words: The Literary Tattoo

There's a growing trend of "literary tattoos", tattoos that pay homage to readers' favorite books and authors. But just by poking around Google Image Search a bit, it's clear that bookworms aren't excluded from the world of friggin' bizarre tattoos. Whether it's huge portraits of Henry David Thoreau (on the left side) or William Faulkner (right) , a chunk of Fight Club on your torso, or Dumbledore's disembodied head covering their backside, even the Bookworm's tribute to their favorite authors and works go just a bit wrong...

But that's not saying there aren't some good ones. The one above has a memorable line from Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, "Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt."

Contrariwise is a fantastic blog full of user-submitted literary tattoos (the title taken from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass), most of them simple and clever, ranging from Ayn Rand references to the Golden Apple from Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's Illuminatus! Trilogy.

Heighity-ho, neighburrito!

Local Rebecca Hartog got a few photos of the early mornin' hours of Clement Street, just before shops opened up and three-wheeled Interceptors started scribblin' out tickets. You can check them out on Newsplink, a sort of Twitter-ish news site, here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Our Masks

I started working here in 1993 as a temporary assistant to the bookkeeper, so I mostly worked in what passed for the office. When that assignment ended, the owner hired me permanently to work in the receiving room, which I did for about a year before moving to the sales floor, the register, the sections, management, etc.

About 18 months after I was hired, a customer asked me where all the masks came from, and I asked, "what do you mean?" I hadn't noticed the masks. I guess I had my eyes on the books and never looked up. And over the years I have heard a surprising number of long-time customers say the same thing. With the visual cacophony that is Green Apple--shelf talkers and posters and signs and pictures and the books themselves--it's hard to ever look up.

But when you do, you see one of the (many) quirky features that makes Green Apple different from, well, any other bookstore, chain or independent. And to answer the question, the masks have come from all over the world. Some were collected on the original owner's travels, some were sold to the store, some were found in shops by employees.

We are so rich in masks, in fact, that they rest on top of filing cabinets and are hung haphazardly in the window. It's not that we don't love them, it's that we love books the most and we're never caught up enough to catalog, organize, or properly display the masks. Someday.

They were cataloged once, about 20 years ago, and somewhere in our offices we have a binder of slides with some info about many of the masks, but I can't find it today and many more masks have trickled in since then.

Contest time: there is a mask in the store modeled on the original owner (and still landlord) of Green Apple: Richard Savoy. A picture of him from the 1960s is at left, and a few masks are at right. First person to correctly ID the mask in the photo below gets a free Green Apple t-shirt of their choice. Update: We have a winner. Kate Wilson of Drexel Hill, PA got it right. It's the one in the bottom right of the photo.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Books Need Homes, Too!

Here are some slightly off-kilter and rather mind boggling ways to display [your] books:

My favorite [below], though this display probably wouldn't be the best for the condition of the books:

(For more visit: Top Cultured)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 23 - World Book (and Copyright) Day

April 23 is St. George's Day, a holiday celebrated in Catalonia by the exchange of books and roses. Traditionally, the occasion was marked by the presentation of roses to women while in return women offered books to men. In time, the exchange of books became mutual. According to Wikipedia, the celebration of St. George's day accounts for half of the annual book sales in Catalonia.

April 23 also marks several literary anniversaries - on that black day in 1616, both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died. Two hundred and eighty-three years later, Vladimir Nabokov was born on the same day. And three years after that, in 1902, Halldor Laxness, considered by many to be Iceland's greatest writer, was born.

Given the seemingly scripted significance of the day, UNESCO, in an effort to promote reading, writing and the protection of intellectual property, designated April 23 as World Book and Copyright Day. If for nothing else, the tradition provides an excuse to buy a book for a loved one - and, of course, to get one in return.