Friday, July 23, 2010

Books, signed.

A couple of Davids did us the great favor of signing copies of their new books: The Lost Cyclist and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. They're sure to go fast, so get 'em while you can.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

When Animals Want More

Sometimes animals just want more outta life. Some of them want to explore outside of the confines of their zoo pen, while others have the slightly more ambitious goal of invading a city (namely, Sicily). Frank Tashlin's, The Bear That Wasn't, is slightly melancholy, following a bear who proves himself a fine worker in an industrial complex, but is still always called a, "silly man who needs a shave and wears a fur coat." In the end, the bear rises above his silly bosses by concluding that even though people say he is one thing, doesn't necessarily make it true. Way to think on your own, bear! Curious George even takes part in the animal revolution by, among other things, wanting to make pizza.

There's a new display in the children's section of the store with some of my favorite books highlighting animals who love adventure. What are some of yours?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What it is

Excerpt from Rosanna Greensteet's '09 interview with Slavoj Žižek:

Greenstreet: What makes you depressed?

Žižek: Seeing stupid people happy.

Find more of Žižek's musings on the world at large in any number of his books. Try these:
First as Tragedy, Then as Farce
Living in the End Times
In Defense of Lost Causes
Welcome to the Desert of the Real!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Once more around the block

Robert Walser died doing what he loved: walking.

Last week's post, in which I mentioned a handful of non-fiction books on the "Art of Walking," got me thinking about walking and writing. Isn't walking, after all, as much an imaginative act as a physical one? There's a ruminative and voyeuristic aspect to walking that makes it not unlike the task of the novelist: to be both inside and out, to pay heed to the soul and the city... Indeed, there is a long tradition of walking fiction.

Perhaps the golden age of the walking story was the early 20th century, when writers as diverse as Henry Miller, whose perambulations (and of course his sexual escapades) around Paris formed the basis of Tropic of Cancer and other works; Raymond Queneau - ex-Surrealist and founding member of the Oulipo - who spoofed the pretensions of the former group in his novel Odile, in which a band of revolutionaries set out to change the world - by walking; and Robert Walser, whose long short story "The Walk" (in NYRB's Selected Stories) is a gem of the genre that starts off in typically Walserian fashion:
I have to report that one fine morning, I do not know for sure anymore what time it was, as the desire to take a walk came over me, I put my hat on my head, left my writing room, or room of phantoms, and ran down the stairs to hurry into the street.
My favorite walking novel, though, is of more recent vintage: W.G. Sebald's melancholic Rings of Saturn, a strange mix of history, photography, and the workings of memory. The Rings of Saturn is a troubling book and not a happy one, but through its twilit gloom something of hope shines through; perhaps it's the consolation instilled in us by the act of solitary walking: that of the illusion that we are, at least for a time, moving away from our problems.

Please feel free to share your favorite walking novel with us.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Anyone read Japanese?

Found this ( on Twitter today and wondering what cruel things they're saying about our humble bookstore across the Pacific. Anyone willing to translate for us? Excerpt below:

日本でも扱っているところがあるかもしれません。McSweeney's というサンフランシスコの個性的な出版社が発行している文芸誌(?)です。毎号全然違う形態で、このNo.33は新聞形式。

スラスラっと 読めるようになりたいですけど、全然ダメですねー。