Saturday, May 2, 2009

What Obama's Reading

It's both silly and refreshing that people are tracking what President Obama is reading. Apparently he's been spotted reading Joseph O'Neill's Netherland:

Check out more at the New York Times' book blog, PaperCuts.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Change the world (with a poem in your pocket)!

Just a quick follow-up on Nick's post a few days ago regarding Chronicle's new book Change the World for Ten Bucks -

Check out the great website for the book and find out dozens of ways you can affect change in your community here. And while Chronicle Books employees are closing the office tomorrow, May 1, to volunteer, remember that you can do it anytime!


Hope you're enjoying "Poem in your pocket" day.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bad cover, great book

LinkIn my 15.5 years at Green Apple, I have learned numerous valuable lessons: bad books hide good books, never drive on Clement Street, the customer is not always right but should be allowed to think so, and if you're comfortable with meat of an uncertain provenance, it can be cheaper to buy lunch in this neighborhood than to pack one from home. Here's another lesson I realized just today: there are more great book covers published each year than there are great books published each year.

It took a good book with a bad cover to make me realize this, and I'm not about to roam the store collecting good covers on bad books. . . .

Here's the book that made me realize this maxim, with apologies to New Yorker cartoonist Edward Koren. It's not Mr. Koren's fault. There's nothing wrong with his goofy drawing. It simply doesn't even remotely allude to what's inside: an insightful, readable, holistic take on contemporary behavioral economics and its relation to our current fiscal meltdown. While the text isn't dry (OK it's not exactly juicy), there's little whimsy in the contextualization of contemporary behavioral economics in the traditions of Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes. The authors are clear, and the book is very interesting (a longer blurb about the book itself, which is quite good, can be read here). But there's nothing therein that says to me "silly monkeys, hold on tight!"

Now I'm in the business of selling books, not joaning on them or their covers, but c'mon, Princeton University Press, why hide this interesting and insightful book behind hairy Sasquatchian man-apes clinging to a zig-zag? This is more like it, huh?

I hope bad covers don't become a recurring theme on our blog, but if you have any suggestions of "this book is better than its cover," I'm all eyes. We won't even get in to "this book is better than the movie," right?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Telling It Like It Is...

In honor of its new book, Change the World for Ten Bucks, Chronicle Books, the prominent San Francisco publishing house, is calling this Friday, May 1st “Change the World Day.” To do their part Chronicle will be closing their doors & going to volunteer at various Bay Area Non-Profits such as Friends of the Library (by joining, you can get a 10% at Green Apple Books every time), the S.F. Zoo, & Americorps.

What can you do you ask?

How about picking out something simple yet effective? In Change the World For Ten Bucks you can find easy ways to do your part in the world without taking a lot of time from your busy schedule.

“Decline Plastic Bags Whenever Possible – Every person in the country uses an average of 330 plastic bags each year. That’s 100 billion plastic bags all together…” So re-use & recycle bags. Or bring one of the many Green Apple Canvas or Chico Bags wherever you go.

Or “Shop Locally,” supporting your local independent stores, like us. When you know your neighbors, it's much more enjoyable to go shopping.

“Unplug Appliances When Not In Use – Most appliances. . . use power even when they are switched off. For the average home, 75 percent of the electricity used to power home appliances is used while the products are not in use and turned off.”

There are even things you can do to make everyone’s day a little better. “Spend Time With Someone of a Different Generation, Smile & Smile Back, or Read a Story With a Child.”

Do your part to Change the World for Ten Bucks.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cool books we can never sell(?), part 2

Although I'm posting this week's installment of "Cool books we can never sell," I'll admit I'm skeptical about this title since I'm sorely tempted to buy it for myself. The book: a used copy of the 1979 publication of UFO... Contact From the Pleiades, Vol 1.

The dust jacket informs the curious reader that:

"By the time you reach the final chapter in this Photo-Journal, you will have reached an exciting new level of awareness concerning the previously 'most impenetrable' mystery of our time... UFO's [sic]. Has the 'most impenetrable' mystery of this century been solved? Can we now replace the term UFO with known... IFO... Identified Flying Object? Only you can decide."

On the facing page is a Certificate of Authenticity guaranteeing this as a "specially bound First Edition" printed with the "highest grade color inks on the best imported 12" x 24" 100lb. Quintessence stock for the finest color reproduction".

If the high quality of the volume isn't enough in itself, its contents are of equal substance. There are pages of scientific evaluation of data, including analysis of the results of "Photogrammetric" tests, a process that involved the use of a Microdensitometer (shown below).

It's quite scientific.

However, if you don't have a scientific bent, there is a human - er, alien - interest as well, in the inclusion of select quotations from a few of the Pleiadian cosmonauts. Although PTAAH has a few choice words for earthlings, including the (inadvertant?) revelation that as of 1975, the Pleiadians were not yet authorized to interfere in human affairs, it is SEMJASE who steals the show, demonstrating a masterful blend ecological compassion, scientific knowledge and mysticism, as well as providing a hint of more to come (Volume 2, anyone?):

"You call us extraterrestrials or star-men, and you attribute to us superhuman powers even though you do not know us. Regarding this, we are men, like you, but our knowledge and our understanding exceeds yours considerably, especially in the technical field."

"We do not reach to an end of the universe, for such does not exist."

"Within a short time I will get a new beamship, which you will be allowed to photograph closely, to get better pictures."