Friday, July 16, 2010

Hey kids - read and be rewarded!

We announced this last week in our newsletter, but I wanted to take another quick moment and pass it along to our blog followers as well: Green Apple Books is having a summer reading reward program for any and all kids 15 and under.

Click the image on top of this post to go to the full-size questionaire. All we ask is that you read 20 books this summer and then tell us a bit about your favorite. Once you fill out the questionaire and bring it into Green Apple Books, we will give you a store credit good for $5.00 - it's that simple. Really.

The books read don't have to be purchased at Green Apple (although we wouldn't mind if you did) and there is a chance that we will use your comment card as an in-store "shelf-talker" so other readers can share in your favorites.

Book lists must get back to Green Apple by August 31st, 2010 so GET READING!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Book of the Month!

Each month, we present a new book that we enthusiastically recommend. Really enthusiastically recommend. This month's choice was endorsed by multiple Green Applers (not to mention by Dave Eggers on the front page of the NY Times Sunday Book Review last week). Buy it now and thank us later. Here's Nick's "shelf-talker."

Many of the (few) people who say they don't like David Mitchell call his books inaccessible. I can understand this and will start by saying the The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is not one of those books. This is a beautiful, remarkable, and--yes--accessible work of literary genius. There are few books, classics included, that I have enjoyed as much as this book. It has a very historical majesty to it but feels modern at the same time. De Zoet is a wonderful protagonist in a book full of mystery and danger. This book will continue to be read as long as people are reading. Don't think any further. Just buy it. -npb

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Haute Art

A personal favorite illustrator and cartoonist of mine, Trevor Alixopulos, will be having a small press spotlight show on his work opening this coming Monday, July 19th at The Cartoon Art Museum (665 Mission St. SF). Aside from technique and attention to detail, what I like about his work is the that the paneling is loose, often abandoning the confines of traditional panels giving most of his stories a kind of dreamlike quality, as if they were vaguely recalled from some far depth of the subconscious. See what I'm talking about below, in his comic rendition of a portion of Hesiod's Works and Days (a particularly impressive accomplishment in my eyes, since I feel it to be extremely rare that a graphic interpretation of works previously published yield any new angle on original text).

See what The Cartoon Art Museum has to say about him below the comic, and check out his books at The Green Apple Annex.

Beginning on June 19, 2010, the Cartoon Art Museum’s ongoing Small Press Spotlight will feature the art of Trevor Alixopulos.

Trevor Alixopulos is Hawaii-born transplant to the Bay Area, raised in Sonoma County. He has been working in art comics and small press for the past ten years. First inspired by the 1990s zine explosion and the new wave of art comics in RAW and LOVE & ROCKETS, he started photocopying his first minis while still in his teens. From his first stapled satirical zines his artistic horizons have broadened to encompass long form graphic novels, experimental narratives and painting.

After producing his handmade comic QUAGGA for several years he was eager to work on a more ambitious scale and jumped at the chance to draw a graphic novel. His first, Mine Tonight (2006), was a deconstructive political thriller, set in the 2004 Presidential Election. Suffused with the overheated, paranoid atmosphere of the post 9/11 years, it attempted a romantic modern noir of Bush’s America. His second graphic novel, The Hot Breath of War (2008) again engaged social themes, but this time in an abstract manner, more lyrical than literal. A novel of short stories grouped around themes of passion and aggression, exploring the areas where people try and fail to connect, from the battlefield to the bedroom. The Daily Cross Hatch called The Hot Breath of War “A book that demands to be experienced.” It was nominated for an Ignatz Award for Best Graphic Novel and was listed on’s Top 100 Comics of the 00’s.

Alongside his longer novels Alixopulos has continued to produce small hand-made comics with a stapler at home, as well as working in watercolor and screenprints. His art has been featured in shows at Giant Robot, Gallery of Sea and Heaven, STUDIO Gallery and in ANTHEM Magazine. On the themes of his work today, Alixopulos stated, “…I’m interested in the play between narrative and iconic forms in comics. Comics stake out some common zone of understanding, while dramatizing those areas where understanding breaks down. I like this profane realm, where the word won’t go; language becomes cartoon, visual joke, enigmatic sign and heraldry.” Today he does occasional commercial illustration, works in a library and draws comics from his home in Santa Rosa, California.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Of Walking

Richard Long, A Line Made by Walking

I was recently introduced to a friend of a friend who moved to San Francisco from London and who knows no one in the city. Partly inspired by Tom Graham's just completed 7-year, 1,200 mile project of walking every street in San Francisco, I promised to show the new arrival around town, but on the condition that we would do so by walking. After all, we do live in the U.S.'s most walkable city. That's something to hang our hat on, I think.

There are no shortage of books on walking, of course: Thoreau's seminal essay "Walking" being one of the most eloquent and widely quoted meditations on an act so mundane and overlooked that in order to appreciate it we've taken to referring to it as an art. (Cf.: Geoff Nicholson's easygoing, rambling The Lost Art of Walking.) And while I promised this transplanted Londoner a series of casual walks, it's more serious walks that intrigue me.

Werner Herzog's 1974 walk from Munich to Paris, chronicled in Of Walking In Ice (which, though it's not on our website is currently in stock), is one such arduous walk. Spurred by typically inscrutable and supremely irrefutable logic - he reasoned that if he were to walk to Paris, his friend (the film critic Lotte Eisner) would not die - Herzog tramped through miserable conditions during three weeks in late-November/mid-December, breaking into boarded up cabins to sleep, making a detour to see Joan of Arc's house, arriving in Paris to find that yes, indeed, his logic proved correct.

Another such walk - the results of which are pictured above - was undertaken by the artist Richard Long. Long's work centers on the idea and practice of walking - and on the possibility of transforming something as transient as a walk into a "lasting" - a relative term - piece of art. A Line Made by Walking, created by Long in 1967, is contextualized in a recent essay by Dieter Roelstraete published in After All's beautiful "One Work" series.

Finally, there's the two-volume set of memoirs by Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and Water, chronicling what's now a nostalgic walk across Europe from London to the Balkans in the early 1930s. A classic of travel literature, Fermor's account offers an evocation of the splendors of a lost world, and of the pleasures of something as simple, and taxing, as walking.