Saturday, August 29, 2009

What a day, what a day, what a DAY!!!

It's a perfect 78 degrees without a cloud in the sky! What?!? Stunning weather in the Richmond district of San Francisco, and during summer of all things? Where's the fog? Where's the cold? Where's my hat? I've got to get out of here and enjoy it... There's just so much to do today (like The Outside Lands music festival in Golden Gate Park, or Jeff Kent being honored on the Giants walk of fame) that i've really got to wrap this up and hit the streets...
So, I'll pass the buck a bit by passing along some book related links. Hope you've got WiFi access on the beach, but if not, remember that you could be enjoying a corker of a tome while sporting gobs of SPF30. First, a DIY approach to classroom curriculums from The New York Times, and secondly, yet another kick to Kindle's crotch courtesy of David Byrne (via boingboing).
OH, yea. . .above is a photo I took some time ago of Metallica's Lars Ulrich, getting on the reading kick. A daily bookend, if you will, to Roman's amazing post from this morning.

Reading with Glenn Danzig

See, even pompous rock stars read! Watch as Glenn Danzig (of Danzig and formerly, the Misfits) shows off his book collection. Note the "creepy" lighting. We get it, Glenn-- you are a scary man.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Funny New Book

This fall, we will receive the mother lode of new books from established big-name authors. It's like the publishing industry decided to release every sure-thing book to shore up its (and our) chances of survival: Eggers, Brown, Gladwell, Kingsolver, Gaiman, Lewis, Irving, Pamuk, Vonnegut, Hornby, Moore, Alexie, Munro, Chabon, Nabakov(!). Perhaps this will get more people into bookstores this fall and winter?

But there's no need to wait until these biggies start to stress our overstock storage areas. And there are worthy books from writers you may have never heard of. I'm here to tell you about a fun new novel that's sure to please: This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper. (Those who heard me talk books on KALW's "Your Call" show last week heard pitches for this book from me and from Neil Sofman of Bookshop West Portal).

When our narrator's father dies and he has to sit shiva with his crazy family, at least he has his wife. Oh, wait. He just found her, um, “making love” to his boss. With a set-up like this, this book must either be a schmaltzy family novel of loss and redemption or a nasty guy book, right?

Nope. It’s sweet but wry, with compelling characters, quick pacing, and loads of laughs. Just the right book for, well, anyone who likes to read fiction.

Above all, it’s that rarest of treats: the truly funny novel.

I'm new to Tropper's fiction, but other independent booksellers I know swear by him as a reliably funny and thoughtful writer.

We have signed copies in the store. It's even discounted 20% to convince to you to take a chance.

Lattice of Coincidence

"Lots of people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidents and things. They don't realize that there's this lattice of coincidence on top of everything. I'll give you an example to show you what I mean: Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly, somebody says: plate, or shrimp, or plate of shrimp. No point in looking for an explanation. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness."

That's not me talking. I don't spend enough time in the metaphysics section to start rambling like that. That's Tracey Walter's character 'Miller' from the film Repo Man, which I suggest you make haste to go out of your way to see if you haven't already. It's a classic.

More importantly though is that 'lattice of coincidence' concept that he's talking about. I like that, or at least I like that term, and to tell the truth it does seem like time and time again while in the midst of some esoteric thought that proverbial plate of shrimp does come somewhere within earshot. I'm not sure how Green Apple ties in to this lattice exactly, but it's often here at work that my thoughts surprisingly manifest themselves physically before me. I suppose that's what comes with forty-two years of accumulation of used goods will get ya'. The detritus of the cosmic unconscious.

The other day I was reminiscing over the days when I was mildly obsessed with the Providence, Rhode Island art scene. For the uninitiated, in the late 90s and early 00s Providence was host to the Fort Thunder warehouse as well as the Paper Rad art collective, both of which produced a mountain of pretty seminal underground art, both audio and visual (re: this video for the band Lightning Bolt). As I was saying though, mid-reminiscence (totally a real word according to Merriam-Webster) what do I see come across the buy counter but Brian Chippendale's out of print and fairly rare first graphic novel, Ninja. Shortly after that I come across a copy of the Wizardzz LP (another Fort Thunder project) in the 'misc w' section in our annex, and later still a copy if Paper Rad's BJ and Da Dogs out in our bins.

All this in just one shift? Lattice of coincidence? Big plate of shrimp? The unexpected finds that turn up in an archeological dig can be exciting indeed. Now if that Paper Rad DVD from 2006 would just turn up...