Thursday, December 30, 2010

The best books I read in 2010

Kevin D., stylishly putting the rest of us to shame.

The House of Versace by Deborah Ball is an absorbing business book for fashion lovers. Ball chronicles one man's creative development, and the partial dissolution of a glamorous brand due to his sister's hubris and excess.

The book unveils Gianni Versace's post-WWII modest Calabrian roots, intuitive sense for what makes women feel sexy and luxurious, his sad killing by serial killer Andrew Cunanan, his celebrity-packed memorial service, and his sister Donatella's sometimes unwise management decisions.

The author uncovers the shocking way the Versace family jettisoned Gianni's 15-year partner Antonio D'Amico from company profits.

I found Wall Street Journal Business Reporter Deborah's Ball's work to be impartial, astute, and compulsively readable, despite little description of Versace's actual designs.

(post script: The label's last Milan collection in September, impressed NY Times critic Cathy Horyn, who called the long-lengths, and tight-fitting styles- superior.)

Secret Historian by Justin Spring

My heart is bursting with gratitude for Justin Spring for his exhaustively researched and exciting Secret Historian. And thanks, too, to self-invented, self-identified sexual rebel (though no label suffices) Sam Steward, the esteemed professor turned Hells Angels' tattooist, turned above average erotic fiction writer, all while fighting a valiant battle with barbiturates.

Spring spent 10 years studying Steward's journals, letters and notorious card catalog of notes on casual sex left behind in his Oakland attic.

This necessary and fulfilling bio, rejected by 10 publishers before FSG stepped up, will make a lovely holiday gift, even if the recipient, (unlike Steward) does not favor beatings and humiliation by straight guys in dirty socks.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010



I had a rough and tumble time picking out my personal favorites of 2010. To whittle down the number of choices I decided to stick to just one fiction and one non-fiction title that I could consider particularly striking. Of course if you'd like to hear me expand on the topic you know where I work. Ask me. You'll be in for it. Promise.


Stoner by John Edward Williams

Generally I am a reader of authors that express a certain unadulterated exuberance or enthusiasm for the mystery of the living world. Cendrars, Simic, Miller and Hamsun are a few that jump to mind immediately. Williams' novel Stoner is narrated in quite the opposite fashion. The titular character, William Stoner, is practically lead by a leash toward his passions, barely by his own volition, which for the most part make their beds in the confines of stuffy places such as his university's library, studies, offices, etc. He follows these, lives humbly amongst them and moves on. It's difficult to explain how exciting this novel is. Essentially it is about a quiet, dull life of an unremarkable man. What is mesmerizing about it however is how infinitely relatable the minutia of Stoner's life is. This is no work of 'gripping' daring do. It is a novel of a tranquil, lucid sort of genius and I cannot recommend it highly enough.


The Great Debate About Art by Roy Harris

I'll spare you any sort of critical analysis of this text that may be stewing around inside me. I'd have a hard time explaining myself without sounding too silly, convoluted and without stumbling all over myself, mouth full of feet. Roy Harris however, is able to gracefully tackle the topics of art history, criticism, and 'artspeak' without falling apart. The Great Debate About Art is a short, accessible and most importantly to me, acerbic text that hammers out why my face has fallen flat at so many art shows and museums. It's a book about a lot more than just art. The human condition is big.

Best of 2010 continued

My three favorite books of the year were The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker; The Hour, a Cocktail Manifesto by Bernard DeVoto; and December's Book of the Month, The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

The first is a Dutch novel of loneliness; the second is a witty and opinionated rant about booze; and the last is a "biography" of cancer. Click on any title for my original reviews. (Or to buy the Google ebook edition of the last, click here; it's only $12.99!).

Looking forward to another year of reading, twins, and (moderate) drinking. . . .

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Best of 2010...

Here you go... The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell and Antwerp by Roberto BolaƱo...npb

Merry Christmas

The mustachioed men of Green Apple, and the classier and more tasteful women of Green Apple, wish you a merry Christmas and thank you for your support.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Books of the year 2010

No, I'm not going to list them all here, but if you are interested in some of my favorites, click here to visit the NPR podcast area where you can easily download my appearance on this morning's Your Call Show.

In addition to highlighting some of my picks, callers were plenty, offering up both book suggestions, as well as giving big audio hugs to their favorite independent bookstores in the Bay Area. Lots of love from the Santa Cruz area, by the way. . .

Thanks Rose, and KALW, for having me on; and thanks also to Rachel from Booksmith for joining me on the show, and for trying to get a word in edgewise - there was soooooo much to talk about!

~Have a very merry one, and we'll see you in 2011~


Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Carols

Chistmas Carols are proven to increase jolliness. I just made that up. Furthermore, R. Kelly's new album is great and the Christmas remix of the title track totally makes it even more worth bringing home to your family and playing again and again. Buy it from us!

Does anyone know any good Christmas rap music?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The best books I read this year

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Nina

Being prompted to choose favorites can sometimes be an annoying experience. It reminds me of the save-or-kill scenarios that people sometimes bring up, e.g. "If you were on a crashing plane with your mother and father and there was only one parachute to save one of their lives, who would you give it to?". Considering my rather confused sense of morals I usually don't participate in such mind games or arbitrarily and generously respond, "He who has not made peace with the Lord must live another day". This time around though, when asked to select my two most beloved books of 2010, it was easy to comply and I left the Lord out of it, too. See below my shelf talkers for two literary gems I'll always hold dear to my heart:

Dolly City by Orly Castel-Bloom

If I had written this book, I'd be so purged of all the vile filth festering in my mind, that I'd bake wondrous pastries for strangers out of pure saintly impulse. That's how satisfyingly sadistic Castel-Bloom's little masterpiece is. Gratuitously violent isn't a sufficient tag, as this story is also a finely crafted satire of statehood (Israel) and the art of mothering (fucking up) a child. Orly, you're my new favorite matriarch and I'd light your cigar for you anytime.
(Dolly City was also described as the "the most important Israeli novel of the last four decades" by Tablet's Liel Leibovitz)

Heartsnatcher by Boris Vian
This is a queer, cockeyed dog of a novel. In it, horses are crucified for their unwholesome sexual appetites, the elderly are auctioned off for the young to abuse and farm animals get days off. Prominently featured, too, is one of my favorite character types, the overbearing and reliably psychotic mother. For a taste of Vian's comedic skill, read pages 58-59, starting with "Vulgar, vulturous, vulpine villagers!"
(Boris Vian had a particularly interesting life. He was a Jazz trumpeter, film actor, author, playwright, cabaret singer, translator, record company executive and Transcendent Satrap of the College de Pataphysique. The man also had a heart condition and, to make up for the lost hours anticipated by an early death, hardly ever slept. He calculated that at the age of 40, he would have lived as long as someone 102 years old who had slept normally. He died in 1959, aged 39, watching a film version of his satirical erotic novel, J'irai cracher sur vos tombes (I Spit on Your Grave), of which he strongly disapproved.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday's VERY Special Guest

Well, the rain that fell on Clement Street today was a little less white and fluffy than what falls on the North Pole, but that didn't stop SANTA CLAUS from making an appearance at Green Apple Books this afternoon, raising donations for the San Francisco Fire Fighter's Toy program.

Santa also raised quite a few eyebrows with his jokes and impersonations - my favorite was Christopher Walken from Pulp Fiction, and Woody Allen definitely kept things from being too gentile. . .and I think Marlon Brando from Last Tango in Paris might keep me off of butter til at least January. Still, we raised $250 in cash, and quite a grab-bag of books and toys - thanks to all who donated, you are certainly "going to Santa Heaven."

Santa also wanted me to mention that he has a very close friend named Will Franken who has been performing stand-up comedy in the Bay Area for years and years. Will has a special holiday themed one-man show on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights next week at The Eureka Theatre called "Texas Chainsaw Yuletide", and both Santa and I think it would be a wonderful way to get in the holiday spirit. Tickets are available here.

Happy Holidays from Green Apple, The San Francisco Fire Department, and most of all, from Santa Claus!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The best books I read in 2010

Next up: Josie

(Two of) the best books I read in 2010

One of my favorite books of the year, Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be? is exactly what its title implies: an inquiry into how to live, and how to do it well. Through a fictionalized account of her personal life, Heti explores the ways in which self-doubt, capriciousness, and the ego are tied to one’s ability to live a creative life in the modern age. Yes, I know, this all sounds so serious. Or maybe it doesn’t. Either way, this novel is a rare gem of modern literature that effectively combines intellectual, philosophical musings with a narrative that is creative, absorbing, and quite funny, without being pretentious. How Should a Person Be? is about what it means to make art, and what it means to be a human. After finishing it over the course of a few days, this book stuck with me for weeks. I even read passages of it aloud to a friend, something I rarely do. This is a fine book from a fine Canadian author, one that made oh-10 just a little bit better.

[Unfortunately, How Should a Person Be? has not yet been published in the U.S. But, never fear. An excerpt from the book was published in the current issue of n+1, which is available right here at Green Apple Books. And, the book itself can easily be ordered through the Canadian publisher House of Anansi Press. Also, Sheila Heti has a great website where you can read a lot of her writing, including excerpts from her three books, as well as some great articles and interviews.]

I read my other favorite book way back in February, in a single sitting. Tove Jansson’s The True Deceiver quickly pulled me into the stark world of a cold Scandinavian winter, and the complex life of one uncompromising, socially isolated woman. Though the tale begins quite modestly, this story quickly compounds and calls into question what even the most seemingly moral among us will do for what we want, or what we think we need. The darkness and vulnerability of Jansson’s characters and their relationships with one another left me contemplative, if not haunted. Understated and beautifully written, this book has continued to stand out among everything I have read in the last year, in the best way possible.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Move Over Pantone 15-5519

The "inviting, luminous hue" of Pantone 15-5519, the color that has so magically characterized this year is going to have to move over pretty soon to make way for the "dynamic reddish pink" of Pantone 18-2120! That's right, people. The Pantone 2011 color of the year has indeed been announced, Honeysuckle, promising to embolden us in the face the everyday troubles of the coming year! Verve and vigor, everyone!
In further color news, Color: A Natural History of the Palette, Victoria Finlay's new book is on our shelves in voluminous amounts. I'm taking the time to direct your attention to it because, other than the fact that I think it's a great book, I'm worried that it's a book that will be widely overlooked this season. Within it's pages we find the story of Finlay enthusiastically seeking out the origin of individual colors on our palate, many of which have bizarre and intriguing stories behind them, involving things such as insect invasions, human urine, and the off mining disaster or two. I think that the cover of the book itself, as well as the blurbs printed on the back of it prove to be a bit misleading, giving the book a bit of an Eat, Pray, Love kind of vibe, which is a little unfair (and that's not to say anything poor about Eat, Pray, Love necessarily, but aside from travel, the similarities are nonexistent).

I wouldn't have gravitated to Finlay's book at all if it weren't for my own personal interest in design, and truth be told I thought that it looked a little dull upon my first assessment, but upon opening it I was pleasantly surprised to find a text filled composed unique of travelogue and little known historical facts. Like any good history of a single object (or in this case maybe concept?), it's about so much more than the object itself. Did you know that there are colors today that are slowly on their way out of existence? I mean, who really thinks about color these days anyway? Who's trying to get to the bottom of this situation? Really?!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Get 'em while you can...

I'm not sure if you've heard the news yet, but the San Francisco Giants are Champions of the World!!!

Relive each and every out of the 2010 World Series with this deluxe edition DVD set. 8 disks contain all World Series games, games five and six from the NLCS, and a bonus disk of the season's highlights. PLUS (and this is a big one) - PLUS, you can finally give Cluck & McGarble the mute and watch entire games with our own KNBR broadcast crew calling the shots.

This DVD set is available in-store only, and they are flying fast; if you want to put one of these under someone's tree, you best call us quick: 415-387-2272

Giants deluxe DVD - $79.98

Listening to Kuip, Kruk, Miller and Flemming instead of those other two guys - Priceless...

The best books I read in 2010

This is me at work. My leisure time looks nothing like this. I usually read sitting down.

It is difficult to do justice to one of my favorite books I read this year, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. This book invaded my consciousness and, at least for the time I was reading it, colored the world around me anew. Poetry can do that, and so it's not surprising that the sole novel by Rainer Maria Rilke, writer of some of the most beautiful and arresting poetry in (any) language, is like the effect of a beautiful poem experienced tenfold, like a dream that feels impossibly long. Written as a notebook of the stream-of-consciousness musings of a young man living, wandering and writing in Paris, this semi-autobiographical novel examines subjects such as writing, death, memory, childhood, identity, and "God" via a typically modernist fragmented narrative that nonetheless moves seamlessly through time and space. This is a novel that simply cannot leave you unmoved.

My other favorite book read in 2010 is Short Talks by Anne Carson. Here I feel I should admit, cliche though it may be, that I would read Anne Carson's version of the phone book (come to think of it, I would actually really, really like to read Anne Carson's version of the phone book.) Anyway. Being very brief meditations on a wide range of subjects (including but not limited to: A Short Talk on Walking Backwards, A Short Talk on Gertrude Stein, A Short Talk on Waterproofing, A Short Talk on Hedonism, A Short Talk on the Sensation of Aeroplane Take-off), all of these micro-essays are short, some of them are profoundly substantive, some are light and lovely, and they took me a surprisingly long time to read because nearly every one of them stopped me cold, made me want to linger with it a moment. It's a perfect book to keep bedside, travel-side, or just by your side for a little while. Now, because I can't resist and I can't say it better, I'll just share my favorite one, and let you decide if you want another:

Short Talk on Orchids

We live by tunneling for we are people buried alive. To me, the tunnels you make will seem strangely aimless, uprooted orchids. But the fragrance is undying. A Little Boy has run away from Amherst a few days ago, wrote Emily Dickinson in a letter of 1883, and when asked where he was going replied, Vermont or Asia.

Laughs for you, Toys for kids

Did you hear about Macy's firing Santa for a barely, almost, kind of, sort of vaguely off-color joke? Here's the story.

Green Apple--and a few other locally owned independent businesses--still has a sense of humor. Inspired by Flax Art and Design (who are hosting Will Durst this Saturday), we're hosting a comedian in a Santa suit on Saturday to tell jokes to generous Green Apple shoppers. And lucky for you, it's the very funny Will Franken.

Here's the deal: come in this Saturday, December 18 between 2 and 4 pm. Bring an unwrapped new toy for a kid (or donate $5 or more) to the SF Firefigter's Toy Drive, and you can sit on "Santa's" lap and hear a joke. Not for the easily offended.

So if you're planning to buy books as gifts, could use a laugh, and can give a toy to a kid in need, please join us this Saturday from 2-4pm.

If you can't make it, help us spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, etc.!

P.S. The toy drive is most in need of gifts for older girls.

Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 Comic Selection

The late aughts have been good in the comic world. I've tried to compile a short list of what I think are the ten best books of the genre that have come out this year along with a compelling* image from each and a quick footnote. I was excited to find that not only was each book either a new original story just released this year or is a continuation of a series that began within the last quarter of the decade, but also that the names on talent roster were was a harmonious mix of both old and new blood. So without any further ado, my gift guide for the bleary-eyed, pasty, social-disaster-child in your family:

The birds ponder the origin and meaning of a crashed jet in Anders Nilsen's Big Questions series.

Mosfet the Warlock toys with the very fabric of life and death in his insane epic POWR MASTRS.**

Dan Clowes' much anticipated Wilson, turned out to be a quiet, weird human tragicomedy.

In Matt Furie's Boy's Club series, Pepe falls into himself after stumbling upon a vision of real ugliness.

Jim Woodring unleashed some particularly unfair and brutal circumstances upon poor old Manhog in his newest opus, Weathercraft.

Titular character Wally Gropius, battles for love and money in Tim Hensley's absurd, architecture and money punning new book.

Rob, of Jeff Smith's newest series RASL meets a bizarre lizard faced nemesis.***

Lisa Hanawalt lays down a list of poor pet choices in her new issue of I Want You (#2).

Kevin Huizenga's Wild Kingdom features a whole lot of weird stuff, including Walt Whitman quoting W.S. Merwin in a brief advertisement for um... a hot new thing?

And finally this rather self explanatory page from Johnny Ryan's latest installment of Prison Pit, which only promises to get more gross and gory as the series continues.

Happy holiday shopping!!

* Haha.
** I cannot recommend this one enough.
*** RASL, not quite as kid friendly as Smith's previous work, BONE

Saturday, December 11, 2010

We'll Keep the Lights On

As the buyer for the store, I spend a lot of time in an office away from the sales floor. But the holidays means all hands on deck, so I've been spending a lot of time at the front register and helping people in the store. I have really been struck by how common it is for people to inquire after the health of the business, or to give a supporting comment like "Glad you guys are still here." What this means is that the battle to make people aware of the plight of independent businesses is being won. People have come to understand that, if they don't want to do all of their shopping at Crate & Barrel, Target and Amazon, they have to visit those funky little stores they love so well. Might have to actually get out of one's pajamas, and might not always be the easiest finding a parking space, and yes, one might even spend a couple more bucks than one would shopping online.
That's the thing: almost everything we sell at Green Apple could be bought cheaper somewhere else, if one didn't mind waiting a couple of days for the UPS driver to drop it off. Sometimes we see folks scanning bar codes with their iphones, being all sneaky like we booksellers couldn't possibly understand they they are secretly shopping online! And yet about 10,000 of you come into Green Apple every month and support us with your purchases.
Businesses are supposed to have mission statements, a short expression of the core principles of the business. The one I come back to when we sit down to do some strategic planning is Green Apple: Because People Still Need to Leave the House. And that just about says it all. So thanks you loyal Green Apple customers, we'll still be here stocking the best books and music and movies and whatever else we can sell to keep the lights on, as long as you keep getting dressed and dropping by when you're in the neighborhood.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The best books we read in 2010

[Over the next few weeks, we'll be running a series of posts featuring our staff members' selections of their favorite books read in 2010. Forgive our presumption, but we're booksellers: most of us can't limit ourselves to just one book.]

Sparks (captioning himself in the 3rd person)

After reading the NY Times list of Ten Best Books of 2010 a friend joked with me that if he had to read two books a week, his year-end list would include titles from only the last 3 months as well. (In all fairness, two of the ten books on the Times' list were published as far back as June, but pity the first, apparently forgettable, half of 2010.) I like to think that most booksellers have longer memories and are, therefore, more charitable: some of the books we'll be sharing with you were published this year, others were published twenty years ago. Some are out-of-print, some are in piled in healthy quantities on our tables. All in all, I think we've got a great selection of titles to share.

Without any further ado, here are the two best books I read in 2010:

The Way of the World, by Nicolas Bouvier (NYRB, $16.95)

The Way of the World is a new old book, having been originally published in French in 1963 and in English by the redoubtable NYRB in October 2009. (The Marlboro Press published it in the mid-90s, now out-of-print.) I read the book in January while living in the middle of Illinois, a heartless month in a cold place. Like all great travel narratives, it filled me with the urge to escape. I wrote about the book then and don't think I can do any better now:
Nicolas Bouvier’s beautifully rendered recollection of a trip he and a friend, the artist Thierry Vernat, took from Geneva to the Khyber Pass is a testament to the kind of admirable travel that leaves one breathless. The Way of the World records a trip I can never take (history renders certain things impossible), but like all memorable literature it pulls the reader along, it stirs up the depths we do our best to ignore in order to survive the office, regular meals, the slight pleasures of daily living...

...Ultimately, it may be that the most remarkable aspect of the book is not its vivid recollections of the pleasures and sorrows of the road, but Bouvier's insouciance when faced with the tribulations of travel. This attitude is best typified at the end of the book, as the traveler realizes his destination:
"That day, I really believed that I had grasped something and that henceforth my life would be changed. But insights cannot be held forever. Like water, the world ripples across you and for a while you take on its colors. Then it recedes, and leaves you face to face with the void you carry inside yourself…"
My other favorite book this year is a collection of Eliot Weinberger's essays, An Elemental Thing (New Directions, $16.95). Before even finishing this collection, I'd ordered the rest of Weinberger's books and promptly devoured them as well. Here's my shelf-talker:
Eliot Weinberger, a college drop-out turned translator (of Paz, Borges, Bei Dao, among others) writes essays unlike anything you've read. These pieces--erudite, wide-ranging, poetic--are of universal scope, touching upon topics as diverse (and cohesive) as the varieties of Chinese wind, a history of the rhinoceros in Europe, the Nazca lines in the Peruvian desert, vortexes, and a reverie on the stars that is one of the most beautiful things I've read. Weinberger's vast learning is matched by an equally encompassing sense of wonder, and his ability to draw the exotic closer, while still permitting it an air of mystery, is a thing to marvel at.

19 gift ideas from $2.49 to $1750

In our latest newsletter (archived here; subscribe here), we present 19 gift ideas from $2.49 up to $1750.  You can read that, or you can watch this.  Roller skates were involved, however subtly.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


New signage around Green Apple Books this holiday season 2010. Happy horror holiday noose.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

K to the FOG in the AM

I've got to keep this entry brief, because I'm up to my ears in holiday gift suggestions for the book lovers in all of our lives...

Tune in to KFOG tomorrow morning from 8:00am - 9:00am, when I will be sharing all the tomes I've deemed gift-worthy, during an extended holiday Morning Show appearance. No hints now, but know that my list will certainly knock your stockings off; so turn that dial to 104.5fm in The City or 97.7fm in the South Bay and crank-up the volume!

You can also stream the Morning Show live at - just click the banner link that says, 'Listen Live', it's that easy.

And don't forget that Amazon = lump of coal.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Google eBooks are here!

Green Apple has taken another small step into the 21st century. Like some other independent bookstores, we've teamed up with Google to provide you with ebooks.

Nifty things about Google ebooks:
  • they are cloud-based, so you can read your ebooks on any device, from your desktop or laptop to your IPhone or IPad. They even synch automatically as you read.
  • they are "device-agnostic," meaning you can read them on any device (from the above screens to Sony's e-reader) EXCEPT the Kindle, but don't get us started there.
  • while prices vary by publisher, Green Apple can match the prices of other sellers for most books from most publishers (Random House is the current big exception, alas).
So now you can read "e" editions of books and still support Green Apple. More info awaits you here.

We've just launched, and will soon be curating a fine selection of recommendations to get you started (this was my first ebook download). Meanwhile, please help us spread the word!

Friday, December 3, 2010


Like our September Book of the Month, December is filled with 'Cs.' Most prominently in my world is the vitamin C that I've been funneling down my throat for the last week in an attempt to fight off a vicious cold. 'The big C,' aka cancer, is the topic for our December Book of the Month, and of course there is the obvious Christmas, Chanukah, capitalism and all other such Cs that are American requisites we're consistently obliged and acknowledge this time of year. Cancer and crazy holiday-time obligations aside though, the most important C-word that comes to mind here at Green Apple is COMMUNITY. Henceforth I'd like to direct your attention to this link to the NCIBA, The Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, and to to ask you please keep in mind that if you can't get your books from us there is a whole mess of independent bookstores in the immediate area that are totally excited and eager for your business, that there is little reason to run to any corporate bookselling conglomerate if we happen to fail you. This is an important time of the year for all booksellers, especially the little guys.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A thing of beauty is a joy... at least until the next thing of beauty comes along

In the course of the next few weeks, we'll be unveiling some of the best books we read this year, but in the meantime, look at these beauties from Visual Editions.

Tristram Shandy
has always deserved a design innovative enough to match its plot--and now one of the funnest, funniest, and singularly modern novels (which just so happens to have been written 250 years ago) has found its ideal form.

And while Leonardo's definition of sculpture as "taking away superfluous materials" may not hold true in the following case, Jonathan Safran Foer's sculptural reworking of Bruno Schulz's Street of Crocodiles, certainly proves that the book as an object is far from dead.

Both J.S.F.'s Tree of Codes and Tristram Shandy are, of course, in stock now.

December Events Round-Up

Even the scroogiest Scrooge would have to admit that the holiday season brings along with it nice things. Piney things are nice things. Books wrapped up in paper are nice things. Candles are nice things. But sometimes, especially in retail-world, don't you get tired of hearing about things? If so, then that's good, because this post is about experiences. Free experiences. Free experiences that sometimes include booze. That's right, even in the retail madness that is December, we've got some events going on, so mark your calendars for these shopping reprieves:

On December 8th, we'll be heading down the street to the Rockit Room with author Chris Gullibeau to hear more about his new book, The Art of Non-Conformity. Based on his popular online manifesto "A Brief Guide to Wold Domination" The Art of Non-Conformity defies common assumptions about life and work while arming you with the tools to live differently. Topics include how to fight authority and win, graduate school vs. the blogosphere (did you know that the latter was an alternative to the former? I didn't, but look at me now), how to build your own small army (admit you're curious) and travel tips and tricks.

We're also looking forward to hosting local new writer Ethel Rohan on the 9th as she reads from her debut collection of short stories, Cut Through the Bone. Victor LaValle, author of The Big Machine says, “Cut Through the Bone is full of phantom limbs and phantom lives. These stories create a sense of loss in the reader, an ache, but thankfully they avoid dull cynicism. Instead, they bear witness to the difficulty of living for oneself while sacrificing for others... Ethel Rohan is one hell of a writer.” So come out to support a local talent with a searing new voice and enjoy some complimentary wine or perhaps some Irish whiskey (Rohan originally hails from Ireland).

Finally, on December 11th we're proudly welcoming Pulitzer Prize winner David Rohde and magazine editor Kristen Mulvihill, authors of a new memoir about Rohde's time in captivity in Pakistan, A Rope and a Prayer. Invited to an interview by a Taliban commander, New York Times reporter David Rohde was kidnapped in November 2008 and spirited to the tribal areas of Pakistan. They found that Pakistan's powerful military turned a blind eye to a sprawling Taliban ministate that trained suicide bombers, plotted terrorist attacks, and helped shelter Osama bin Laden. In New York, David's wife of two months, Kristen Mulvihill, his family, and the New York Times struggled to navigate the labyrinth of issues that confront the relatives of hostages. A Rope and a Prayer is the story of those seven months, what they revealed about American efforts in the region, and a story of love and a very human triumph. Don't miss what is sure to be a spell-binding, eye-opening firsthand account of this chilling story.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oh yea, we've got 'em. . .and then some!

Infinite City is Rebecca Solnit's reinvention of the traditional atlas, examining the many layers of meaning in one place, in this case the San Francisco Bay Area. It's one of Green Apple's favorite books this holiday season, we've got plenty of hardcover copies in stock (unlike many other stores), and as an extra bonus for our wonderful customers, we have also partnered-up with MOMA to distribute 6 FREE POSTER-SIZED MAPS as they become available. Each poster is a two-sided reproduction of a map from the book, as well as selected text from Rebecca Solnit, and others. We currently have 4 different maps in the store - yours for the asking.

Aided by artists, writers, cartographers, and twenty-two gorgeous color maps, each of which illuminates the city and its surroundings as experienced by different inhabitants, Solnit takes us on a tour that will forever change the way we think about place. She explores the area thematically--connecting, for example, Eadweard Muybridge's foundation of motion-picture technology with Alfred Hitchcock's filming of Vertigo.

Across an urban grid of just seven by seven miles, she finds seemingly unlimited landmarks and treasures--butterfly habitats, queer sites, murders, World War II shipyards, blues clubs, Zen Buddhist centers. She roams the political terrain, both progressive and conservative, and details the cultural geographies of the Mission District, the culture wars of the Fillmore, the South of Market world being devoured by redevelopment, and much, much more.

Infinite City is a real gem, the sort of book that you want to give as a gift, and yet greedily keep for yourself. If that seems like the kind of problem you might run into, allow me to suggest that you get a couple of extra copies (book or posters or both) to share. Problem solved!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Click the image to enlarge.

- Green Apple Books and Music / 506 Clement Street / San Francisco / California
- November 18th, 2010 / Around 10:00 p.m.