Saturday, April 3, 2010

Felices Pascuas

It's a bit after 1:00AM in Buenos Aires, where I've still got a couple of hours to kill before going out to hit Palermo Soho and its legendary nightlife. All the buzz back in the states seems to be that the Ipad was released to as much fanfare as the original Iphone. Excuse me if I don't grab the next plane to Best Buy. During the past couple of weeks my wife and I have traveled through three countries and are looking at two more to come. I've been on eight flights so far and have yet to see a Kindle. I can't imagine that the Ipad will be much different, fanfare and dollars aside.

We're both (obviously) voracious readers, and packing a mini-library for a month's worth of excursions away from home was quite a chore. You've got to be committed to your selections. Every page needs to count. But that's half the fun, yes?

I tore through Sebastian Junger's forthcoming 'War' in an advance reading copy - it won't be realeased for more than a month. Yet when we saw that the lending library of our digs in El Chalten (Patagonia) had a bathtub bloated paperback of 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' on its lending shelf, I gladly left 'War' and gave the dragon its due. Then we passed that "Girl" off to the Scottish couple behind us in line for our return flight; they were thrilled. I wonder who will find 'War', and if they will realize that it's something a bit special.

My wife was reading my old copy of 'Subterrianans' when an old photo of an older girlfriend fell onto the bed. She was cute in a late-eighties sort of way, and I hadn't thought of her in decades. The copy cost me $2.00 way back when, and even though it broke into pieces during this trip, between the two of us, a buck became a buck well spent.

I read a tattered copy of an out of print biography of W.C. Fields on Easter Island. Damn if he doesn't look like a Moai on the cover... There are 3,500 horses that roam free on the island and they claim as many people, but there are three libraries in the singular town of Hanga Roa. Still, I'll probably leave this tome somewhere near Bolivia. Or maybe in Uruguay if it survives the journey.

Killing time in the airport of Santiago, Chile, we were drinking beers in an earthquake shattered terminal beside an older Austrailian couple. He had a Lee Child mystery peeking out of his backpack. I had read that one in the past, but he'd just found his near where the penguins roam in Punto Arenas. We gabbed about Jack Reacher and then pooled our change to cover the drinks - all the ATM machines were on the fritz.

As I type this, my wife is flipping through 'Basketball Diaries' by Jim Carroll, a genuine poet who passed away while books were still read on paper, and didn't yet need a current converter to give them life overseas. She knew I was posting this blog, and chuckled at the serendipity of a line she came upon. Books are sometimes like that. Aku Aku.

"The more I read the more I know it now, heavier each day, that I need to write. . . and each time a page gets turned a section of the pentagon goes BLAST up in smoke. Solid."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No Drugs on Vacation

So I'm going on a little trip, a much needed one month vacation from Green Apple, San Francisco, and I think, my brains. Where I'm going doesn't really matter, what does is that I'll be catching a bunch of flights over the period of the next thirty some odd days. I've never really been a fan of flying. I try to stay within reach of the ground most of the time. So I'm saying that this will be something for me. I keep trying to have a sense of humor about it, think about this James Tate poem and just be cool-

We Aim to Please

I went to the cabin and said to
the pilot, "Excuse me, Captain, but it seems

as if I left my camera in the airport. Is
there a chance we could go back?" "No
problem," he said, and the plane began to
turn and descend at a tremendous speed. The
passengers were screaming and I was thrown off
my feet and struggling to stand. I crawled
back to the cabin and said, "Excuse me, Captain,
I found my camera after all. No need to return."
The captain said "No problem." And the plane
began its turn and rapid ascent, and I was
thrown backward again, and the passengers

were screaming even more shrilly. But soon
we were back on course, and the rest of the
flight went smoothly, and the landing
was perfect. As we lined up to depart, the captain
stood at the cabin door shaking hands with
the passengers. When it was my turn he said,
"What kind of camera do you have?" I said,
"I don't have a camera." "You're my kind of
guy," he said. And then he hugged me. And
I kissed him in the cheek.

God. That will probably happen to me.
So as I was saying, I'll be gone for April. Someone will most likely be blogging in my stead, but just in case there isn't I'll direct your attention to these other blogs that may fill the gap in my absence. These are things that I read on the semi-regular.

By Sam McPheeters


By Howard Junker


By Joe Preston


By some guy who is really obsessed with Henry Miller


By John K.


By Anders Nilsen

Or hell, I dunno, maybe just read a book. You've got your Wednesdays cut out for you. See ya' in a month.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bad advice anyone?

You’re a Horrible Person, But I Like You: The Believer Book of Advice

Litquake, The Believer magazine, Green Apple Books, and the JCCSF present a book release event for You’re a Horrible Person, But I Like You—a new anthology featuring horribly bad advice from renowned comedians from stage and screen!

Thursday, April 15, 8 pm
Jewish Community Center San Francisco (JCCSF)
3200 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

Among the You’re a Horrible Person But I Like You contributors appearing
on April 15 will be:

  • Larry Doyle - humorist (with the New Yorker, Esquire and more), TV writer
    (The Simpsons, Beavis and Butthead), and author (I Love You, Beth Cooper)
  • Daniel Handler - author of three books for adults, and a series for children
    under the name of Lemony Snicket. He also plays a mean accordion.
  • Marc Maron - Stand-up comedian who has appeared on Conan and HBO among
    many other shows, radio host, author, top-rated podcaster of WTF
  • Eugene Mirman - Named Best NY Comedian by the Village Voice and one of the
    country’s best by Paste. Has appeared on Comedy Central as well as Flight of
    the Conchords

There will be a post-show wine reception in the atrium of the JCCSF!
Tickets are $20 and available online.

Jewish Community Center San Francisco (JCCSF)
3200 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

Monday, March 29, 2010

Poem of the Week by David Highsmith

Happy Monday, readers. Without further ado, here's the poem of the week, by David Highsmith.

for Scott Taylor

green light diffused within a fog
Irish parade cancelled in a plague year

warmth first, then time
spread out among the consequences

snaps loose into sensibility
sentient as
"the wind that shakes the barley"

day to carry us back
curious sound

carried then, as arms take in sky
swift voices in snow

silent herd, church & steeple
within a closed hand

a congregation
carried on the wind

--from your wilderness & mine by David Highsmith, BlazeVOX [books], 2009

Sunday, March 28, 2010

So, You Liked The Lost City of Z?!

With everyone on vacation, some staffing changes, and changes to the store in general, we haven't really been up on our blogging...

That said I don't have too much time either.

I noticed that in the two months that the paperback of David Grann's The Lost City of Z has been out that we have already sold over 30 copies! There has been a lot of national media attention for The Lost City of Z (and it was a Green Apple Book of the Month when it first came out a year ago) and rightfully so.

Now there is a new David Grann collection out! Grann is a staff writer for the New Yorker and has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the New Republic.

The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession is a collection of some of Grann's most interesting and hard-hitting essays. Inside you will find questions on Texas' Death Penalty state, The search for the Giant Squid, the underground waterworks of New York City, the Aryan Brotherhood and their rise to power inside America's prison system, as well as other fascinating mysteries. Grann always investigates to the fullest, writes eloquently, and captivates the reader.

This is another great read...