Saturday, July 25, 2009

Shoutin' Out for the "hood

The July/Aug issue of 7x7 magazine is "The Neighborhood Issue." On the back page is a list of 10 things to do in 10 'hoods, number 84 of which is "Be thankful for Green Apple Books, the ultimate independent bookstore." We can get behind that. I thought I'd throw out a couple of other things that I'm thankful for here in the neighborhood.

1) Schubert's Bakery. I would call this lovely European-style bakery an overlooked gem, seeing as how they don't win "Best of" awards like their more famous colleagues at Tartine and Citizen Cake, but the all-day line out the door on the day before Thanksgiving tells me that more than a few local citizens are onto them. I am loathe to give away a secret, but my day just isn't off to the right start without one of their oatmeal scones.
2)Little Vietnam. If all I've got is $4 in my pocket and I'm looking for some lunch, Little Vietnam is the only place I head. Super-fresh cold spring rolls ready to go, delicious Banh mi. Even a couple of tables outside for al fresco dining.
3. Gaspare's. Once again, there are more famous pizzas in town, but this one is excellent, and it is served on a red-checkered table cloth, with plastic grapes hanging overhead and your own personal jukebox at the table. I don't know what more you could you want.

That's just three overlooked personal favorites, I'm sure I could think of a dozen more given the time. Feel free to add your suggestions.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Kindle in Every Backpack.

The Democratic Leadership Council has proposed "A Kindle in Every Backpack," (click for PDF file) a program designed to replace every kid's bookbag with a Kindle full of e-textbooks. Sure, it might lighten the load of their backpacks, but would they use them any more than their books?

The Council argues, "The ‘Kindle in every backpack’ concept isn’t just an educational gimmick—-it could improve education quality and save money."

For $300+ a Kindle, and the fact that Kindles aren't exactly durable, these guys aren't really thinking this through.

Imagine a teacher saying, "turn to page 115, please" and everyone starts clicking. Or a kid walking up to a teacher and saying, "I couldn't do my homework, my books are broken."

Read more at the New York Times blog here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

T.C. Boyle's"Why I Read"

A few years ago, we launched an occasional feature in our monthly email newsletter called "Why I Read." We asked authors, mostly local, to answer that seemingly simple question. The replies were as varied as the question allowed: from the quirky (Dave Eggers) to the earnest (Joyce Maynard), from the episodic (T.C. Boyle) to the hilarious (Kim Wong Keltner). We've been trickling them out into the blogosphere on occasion.

Here's T.C. Boyle's reply.

PS. Our favorite book of his is Drop City--smart and fun and character-driven.

"I read in order to cease the eternal chatter in my brain and ease up on the straitjacket of consciousness for a few nanoseconds at a time. My favorite reading takes place in nature--I love to hike to some remote place, read for an hour or two, then hike back. In fact, the best day I had last year occurred on the third of January during a blizzard in Sequoia Park. I took a fine book--sorry, don't remember what it was now--a fine dog and a bottle of rum out into the teeth of a three-blizzard, went a couple miles into the woods, read the book under a pine to keep the blowing snow off the page, drank the rum (some of it, anyway), and finally came back home to a nice fire after the chill began to seep in. Now, I tell you, that afternoon was the ultimate in reading pleasure."
-T.C. Boyle, author of many fine books

Thanks, Mr. Boyle. Here are others, if you're curious: Beth Lisick, Susan Choi, Peter Rock, Dave Eggers.

Why do you read?

Monday, July 20, 2009


Amid the collections of Dr. Seuss books, travel guides and writings on drinking, Green Apple has some dark and ugly creatures tucked away in some of its dustier corners. These things mutter. They fester at the thought of day and shun the eye of God. Hidden as they may be though, they are not invisible to the naked human eye. It is my humble opinion it's about time to exorcise these demons and bring them out in to the light (i.e. your hands).

If you hadn't already taken a guess, I am talking about all things at Green Apple that one can call nothing but METAL. I don't know if it's just me, but over the last couple of years it seems like there has been a resurgence of interest in this strange and often times frightening subculture.

Shorty after Peter Beste's 2008 release of his book True Norwegian Black Metal (currently unavailable through our distributor, sadly) I think just about every stockpiled copy of Lords of Chaos flew off our shelves. The 2007 Two Hunters album by Wolves in the Throne Room sold a couple of extra copies around that time, as did the 2008 self titled album by Krallice. Of course, maybe that didn't have so much to do with the aforementioned hit book as it did the Winter Solstice. Even the most brutal of all men delight in a thoughtful gift, right?

Now in no way is it possible for me to cover in brief the eighty million variants of metal; death, black, speed, grind, thrash, etc. The legends are out there though, and they are in print. These are books containing grim tales of a lifestyle that goes far beyond a musical preference, maybe dancing a little on the brink of insanity. From the specifics, such as the 33&1/3's coverage of the importance of Reign in Blood, to the broader histories like Lords of Chaos, Swedish Death Metal, or Choosing Death, there are stories of murder, suicide, (a particularly famous one was used as an album cover) church burnings and some seriously strange rituals from a fanatical scene.
Then again, perhaps none of this is of any real interest to you. Perhaps the abyss just rolled its eyes and never stared back. I just felt like mentioning it I guess. To be clear though, there is something for everyone here at Green Apple. Even for people who bury their clothes six feet deep before wearing them to infuse them with the essence of the grave (I'm not making this up!). Just don't take it all too seriously.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

This is Green Apple Books

Even with it you may get lost

I will be leaving Green Apple (and San Francisco) in less than two weeks (gulp!), so this post is as much for me as it is for habitual and casual readers of the blog. Pictures aren't quite able to capture the smell of fresh envelopes and old dust wafting through the Apple, but there are a lot of hidden gems in the store that you just might miss while browsing - even after working here for 2 1/2 years.

Well, it gets the job done anyway

No worries, we took care of it

Yes, those are faucets

You have another store?

"Yoohoo, erotica is up here"

 We keep the holiday spirit year 'round

For inscrutable reasons, this last picture pretty much sums it up for me.