Saturday, April 9, 2011

April is National Poetry Month

... it is also:
  • African American Women’s Fitness Month
  • Amateur Radio Month
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month
  • Community Service Month
  • Confederate History Month
  • Emotional Overeating Awareness Month
  • Fresh Florida Tomato Month
  • Grange Month
  • International Guitar Month
  • IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) Awareness Month
  • Jazz Appreciation Month
  • Jewish-American Heritage Month
  • National Arab American Heritage Month
  • National Better Hearing and Speech Month
  • National Financial Literacy Month (new!)
  • National Food Month
  • National Garden Month
  • National Kite Month
  • National Landscape Architecture Month
  • National Occupational Therapy Month
  • National Older Americans Month
  • National Pecan Month
  • National Poetry Writing Month
  • National Soy Foods Month
  • National STDs Education and Awareness Month
  • National Tomatillo and Asian Pear Month
  • Pets are Wonderful Month
  • Prevent Lyme in Dogs Month
  • Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month
  • Straw Hat Month
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Thai Heritage Month
  • The Cruelest Month
  • Workplace Conflict Awareness Month
  • Zero Tolerance for Distracted Drivers Month

...and National Grilled Cheese Month

Friday, April 8, 2011

Opening Day!

The Giants bring major league baseball back to San Francisco today, when they will raise the World Championship banner high above AT&T Park like conquering pirates. Along with the start of a new baseball season come a couple of recent books about the Giants, one a celebration of last season's misery, one an examination of a classic game from the '60's.

A Band of Misfits is by longtime San Jose Mercury News beat writer Andrew Baggarly. No less a Giant than Rich Aurelia says of this tome: "After being a part of the Giants organization for so many years, it was an honor - and excruciatingly fun -- to watch this team in 2010. I was as happy for them as if I'd won the World Series myself, and there's no better writer to cover this great season than Andy Baggarly. He is one of the few members of the media who is there day in and day out and who truly understands the game of baseball."

The Greatest Game Ever Pitched recounts a 1963 pitching duel between 42-year-old Warren Spahn and 25-year-old Juan Marichal. The Braves and Giants took the field on July 2, 1963 at 8:21 PM in cold and windy Candlestick Park. Four hours later, the two pitching legends were deadlocked in a scoreless tie when Willie Mays, with one out and no one on, hit a walk-off home run to end the game. Marichal and Spahn each threw more than 200 pitches and went 16 innings without relief.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Green Apple chats with Gabrielle Hamilton

Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef/owner of Prune in New York City. She’s also a writer, with an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan and publication in lots of fine magazines. That unusual combination—a successful restaurant and writing skills—have made her food memoir a must-read for anyone who loves to cook or eat. It’s called Blood, Bones, and Butter: the Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef. The book is HERE and the eBook for $12.99 is HERE.

During her whirlwind Bay Area tour a few weeks ago, Ms. Hamilton graciously answered questioned posed by Green Apple Books, while signing books in the office and in a follow up call while headed to the airport. Here is the slightly condensed interview.

Green Apple: You were obviously an astute and thorough journal keeper. Could you tell me about your journaling practice? Did you use your journals to jog your memory, or transfer whole parts into these chapters? Do you still journal?

Gabrielle Hamilton: “I journal un-religiously, without a system or routine and often that journaling happens on pieces of brown paper, whatever I can shove into an envelope. I did not use my journals with the exception of trying to recollect my backpacking journey through Europe, and relied on it heavily. I couldn’t remember in what order I traveled. At first I wanted to get every part of that journey in, then thought, this is not a travelogue, just get a few details.”

GAB: When did you find time to write?

GH: “It was really excruciating. I had to write often in the middle of the night with one baby on one side of me and the other on the other side, or in brief bits on the line during service with a Sharpie, or stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. It was a real sort of guerrilla writing. It was not like Yaddo.”

GAB: What’s it like reading reviews of your memoir?

GH: “I love it. It’s so delicious to get feedback. I’ve been working alone in a room and had only my head to bounce ideas around. To find what readers bring to this is gratifying. Even if they don’t like it I’m happy.”

GAB: What about criticisms of what you left out—more about the ex-girlfriend, your parents’ divorce.

GH: “I only wrote about people as they pertain to food in my life. It’s supposed to be about food. Of course I snuck in some life in there, a bait and switch. As soon as a relationship didn’t drive the narrative they had to exit. Maybe my skill set didn’t let them exit gracefully. An astute reader is going to catch it. I didn’t want to over-expose myself. I didn’t want to write one of those ‘me me me’ memoirs. I wanted something more graceful.”

GAB: Your relish for a spotless mise en place and organizing a walk-in makes diners feel safe and eat confidently, but biographies by restaurant workers also demystify what happens beyond the pass, for diners, and shows that it’s not as pretty a scene as the dining room, sometimes grossing them out.

GH: “The beauty and horror live in such close proximity to each other, minute by minute, so you get such sensual delicious experience butting right up against unsavory experience. You have to be flexible.”

GAB: You’ve done food writing for the New York Times food section, and now your life story, but why haven’t you aimed to become a name across other media platforms with cookbook, cooking show, and more restaurants?

GH: “That does not appeal to me, that kind of life. I don’t want to be on a cooking game show. It seems television about my industry, it’s no longer about cooking. It’s entertainment.”

GAB: Doesn’t a show like “Kitchen Nightmares" show viewers what not to do?

GH: “I haven’t seen 'Kitchen Nightmares.' I don’t have a television.”

GAB: What do you think of our city?

GH: “I’m happily familiar with the city and I have very dear friends here. I regret I’m allotted an hour and thirty minutes (between events). I did manage to get a quick breakfast at (Charles) Phan’s take out place. I got together at Zuni with girls I know-- Elizabeth Falkner, Traci Des Jardins. I stopped in at Orson.”

GAB: Falkner is the city’s most famous lesbian chef.

GH: “Maybe I have honorary lesbian status. I’ve definitely gotten arrested with ACT UP enough, even if I did marry a man. I blew it. Lesbians are a tough crowd.” (With irony in her voice and a smile). “I just recently applied for Italian citizenship. They’re very thorough in researching (one’s legal record). I had eleven arrests, mostly misdemeanors for resisting arrest, trumped up. I’ve sat in the back of a paddy wagon more times than I’d like to remember.”

GAB: At Camino, where you’ll be tonight, even the bar uses locavore spirits and juices; does Prune strive for that?

GH: “I grew up locavore, which was not a phrase at the time. I live this way. My mother had a garden. We ate nose to tail. I can’t get into the commodification of the lifestyle. It’s used as marketing talk. What they’re doing at Camino is excellent, superior.”

GAB: What does San Francisco do better than New York, food-wise?

GH: “As everyone knows you have much better produce and a longer growing period. This is my kind of cooking and eating.”

GAB: How about Mission burritos?

GH: “I’ve had plenty of tongue taco. I love to hang out in Dolores Park. I always stop off at BiRite, Swan Oyster Depot, and Zuni.”

GAB: Has the book garnered movie interest?

GH: “Apparently that’s starting. I haven’t had a chance to let that settle into my brain. My father is very interested in who should play him.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

eBooks are cool, but. . .

. . .they can't hold a candle to good ol' long-playing records.

LPs, slabs of wax, or whatever you still call them are the medium of choice again these days for both serious music buffs and the uninitiated hipster alike; and Green Apple Books and Music has both factions covered. Not only have we been increasing our stock of newly released albums - yes, there are still many fresh releases a month - but we just shook on a deal that will leave collectors of the classics drooling. Yes, drooling.

Green Apple has just introduced the first few hundred 33 1/3 Long Playing Records into our inventory from the respectable folks of Open Mind Music. Sadly, the Open Mind storefront closed its doors a couple of years ago, but Green Apple and Open Mind are joining forces to bring you the finest used vinyl in the Bay. OK, maybe the second finest used vinyl selection in the Bay, but we're working on it!

Green Mind? Open Apple? (OK, I guess we're still working on that, too.)

Check in with us regularly as we will be indroducing batches of hundred of records at a time.

Ahhhh, the good life. . .

Monday, April 4, 2011

An amusement

Found on the Internet today, thanks to our pals at Shelf Awareness, an industry newsletter. We try not to just re-post cool things we find on the Internet, but I think the coolness factor here is high enough. Like Green Apple selling Google eBooks: a literary marriage of old and new.