Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Library

“When I bought this flat, I promised myself: no books in the bedroom. I’m a terrible insomniac, and I thought having books in the bedroom, and all the psychological power they embody, would not be good for a quiet night’s sleep. However, the books demanded to be incorporated into my domestic world. And invaded my bedroom and there they are.” -- Duncan Fallowell

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nine Stories

I scanned these pocketbooks from my personal collection a long time because I enjoyed the cover designs as much as much as the content. In particular the rounded corners on the Singer title, the Rousseau inspired(?) cover of Animal Liberation, and the maniacal death mask adorning the copy of Frankenstein. I hope to never have to sell them for the pocket change that they're worth but if I do then here they are. They make me want to read.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The reason the birds attack is that global warming has caused them to be mutant, toxic and flammable.

On Saturday April 2 at 2pm, Green Apple will host James Nguyen, the "visionary creator" (his words, not ours) of what might be one of the great B-movies of all time: Birdemic: Shock and Terror. Produced for less than $10,000 and filmed in the Bay Area (and even partially on our own Clement Street), Birdemic is "a meditation on Hitchcock's classic and the environmental chaos caused by the industrial Age."

The film was recently written up in USA Today, which said "While Birdemic will probably never be honored at the Oscars — unless they add a Best Use of Exploding CGI Vultures category — Nguyen's enthusiasm for his so-bad-it's-good film and his do-it-yourself attitude were infectious to everybody around the low-budget production."

Nguyen has written a short memoir on his making of the movie, which he will be discussing on April 2. This might be one to mark on your calendar.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Browsing v. "Browsing"

If you're reading this blog, chances are you don't need to be convinced of the value of a bookstore in your community and are least a little skeptical about the relationship of e-commerce to bookselling, reading, and publishing.

With that in mind, I'll point you to The New Republic, which has just published a thoughtful piece by Nicole Krauss, author of Great House and The History of Love, called "The End of Bookstores." Krauss' perspicacious analysis includes a comparison of browsing online and browsing in a bookstore:

Both the Internet and Google Books strive to assemble the known world. The bookstore, on the other hand, strives to be a microcosm of it, and not just any microcosm but one designed—according to the principles and tastes of a “gatekeeper”—to help us absorb and consider the world itself. That difference is everything. To browse online is to enter into a search that allows one to sail, according to an idiosyncratic route formed out of split-second impulses, across the surface of the world, sometimes stopping to randomly sample the surface, sometimes not. It is only an accelerated form of tourism. To browse in a bookstore, however, is to explore a highly selective and thoughtful collection of the world—thoughtful because hundreds of years of thinkers, writers, critics, teachers, and readers have established the worth of the choices. Their collective wisdom seems superior, for these purposes, to the Web’s “neutrality,” its know-nothing know-everythingness.

Read the whole essay here.