Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Hermit In The Bookstore

The last of the 2011 calendars

Having worked at Green Apple for a very long time, I have come to realize that I mark off my life in the seasons of the store: holiday decorations go up, I'm a year older. Calendar bins come back from storage, I'm a year older. James Patterson has a new book out, I'm 3 weeks older. And so I thought, if I were a hermit living under the stairs in the store, and I only came out at night after all of the customers and booksellers were gone, I would have a pretty good idea what time of year it was. Lots of books on display about love and kissing- must be coming on February. Big display of books about how great moms are, May must be around the corner, and I know that soon the military history and sports books will be coming in for Father's Day.

Calendar bins have been packed away and the
children's section has returned to its former glory

But there would be other things the observant hermit would know about the world outside from the safety of the bookstore. After Sept. 11, our Middle Eastern history section grew from a handful of books into its very own full bookcase, and now has shrunk down to half of that. As W.'s popularity waned in 2003, books that looked unfavorably on the president popped up like mushrooms in the store and, on Nov. 3 of 2004, they all disappeared overnight as W. won reelection and nobody (at least not Green Apple customers) seemed to think he was funny anymore. And then with the financial meltdown of 2008, books on economics and financial catastrophe were all the rage.

And so the moral of this story is, if you're going to hide away from the world underneath the stairs of a retail establishment, there are worse places you could do it than at Green Apple.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jaimy Gordon at Green Apple

So Jaimy Gordon paid us a visit (two, actually) this week. Jaimy who? Jaimy Gordon, the surprise winner of the 2010 National Book Award for fiction for her latest novel Lord of Misrule.

She told a funny story about being in an elevator with Patty Smith at the National Book Awards. Despite winning the same prize as Patty Smith, Ms. Gordon was too tongue-tied to say hi.

She showed us an easy way to tell a first edition from later printings (the first printing--of only 1,000 copies--has elegant endpapers; later printings do not).

And she willingly posed for a photo in the bright sun with our mascot.

As for the book, several customers have remarked how great Lord of Misrule is; Green Appler Lali attended his first-ever Green Apple author event to hear Ms. Gordon because he so liked the book; and I'm about 100 pages in and marveling at the vivid, if grim, world she has created.

Finally, we have signed copies available, including some signed first editions. We also have signed copies of some of Ms. Gordon's earlier works, like Shamp of the City-Solo and She Drove Without Stopping. Please call the store to put any or all of these on hold, or order them to be shipped by phone.

Thanks, Jaimy Gordon!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven't Read, which were frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you. But you know you must never allow yourself to be awed, that among them there extend for acres and acres and acres The Books You Needn't Read, the Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading, Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong To The Category Of Books Read Before Being Written. And thus you pass the out girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of the Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered. With a rapid maneuver you bypass them and move into the phalanxes of the Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First, the Books Too Expensive Now And You'll Wait Till They're Remaindered, the Books ditto When They Come Out In Paperback, Books You Can Borrow From Somebody, Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You Had Read Them, Too. Eluding these assaults, you come up beneath the towers of the fortress, where other troops are holding out:
the Books You've Been Planning To Read For Ages,
the Books You've Been Hunting For Years Without
the Books Dealing With Something You're Working On
At The Moment,
the Books You Want To Own So They'll Be Hand Just
In Case,
the Books You Could Put Aside Maybe To Read This
the Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your
the Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable
Curiosity, Not Easily Justified.
Mow that you have been able to reduce the countless embattled troops to an array that is, to be sure, very large but still calculable in a finite number; but this relative relief is then undermined by the ambush of the Books Read Long Ago Which It's Now Time To Reread and the Books You've Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It's Time To Sit Down And Really Read Them.

Excerpted from chapter one of Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveler. This book is not available in eBook format.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Vote early - Vote often - Vote Green Apple

There's a pretty fantastic promotion going on right now by the fine folks at Lonely Planet Travel Guides. . .

You see, they have chosen 10 'landmark locations' in San Francisco and New York, they've organized them into head to head rounds of voting, and are waiting on the proverbial pins and needles for the results to be final. YOU get to decide who's got the best of the good stuff, East Coast vs West Coast style.

I mention all of this because of lucky #7, which has your beloved Green Apple Books up against their _______ed Strand Bookstore. As of this writing, just under 5000 votes have been cast, and Green Apple has a commanding 59% - but what's wrong with a little landslide among friends, eh?

It is certainly a thrill just to have been mentioned, we really do appreciate it, but let's take this thing in style, OK? Green Apple needs your clicks.

Please and Thank You!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vera & Linus...

Vera & Linus by Jesse Ball and Thordis Thordis Bjornsdottir.

I have been a huge Jesse Ball fan since I first read Samedi the Deafness in 2007. His stories and style captivate me and yet seem to elude Green Apple customers. No matter how hard I try, people seem wary of taking the plunge into his innovative fiction.

Now I'm telling you to read Vera & Linus, Ball and Bjornsdottir's collaborative, self-published book from 2006. It is INCREDIBLE! This is a twisted and beautiful tale of cold-hearted love and murder. It is the kind of book you can read time after time and find more and more beauty in the dark recesses each time.

You are missing out on two original and amazing young voices if you pass this book by.