Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mr. Trivia

Roger Hargreaves' Mr. Men series (1971) and Little Miss series (1981) have remained in print since their respective inception, been translated into nearly thirty languages, and have sold millions upon millions of copies. Seeing them pass through the store, parents purchasing the little books and immediately handing them to their children at the front counter, has always made me a little nostalgic. I grew up on the series myself, had a few personal favorites, and still get a kick out of how deceptively stylish they are. Too cute for words, really. Not too cute for franchising however, as I discovered the other night.

Not normally one to be suckered into buying a bunch of crap just because the item(s) in question bears the image of some nostalgic-to-me icon, I have to admit that I was, sheepishly, a little smitten when I discovered some of the Mr. & Little Miss products that have been created over the past few decades. A couple of these things would probably be floating around in my room to this day if they had seen fit to distribute them more widely in the US.

-Mr. Lazy Slippers
-Mr. Cool Toilet Seat Covers
-Mr. Funny's Runny Honey (what?!)
-Mr. Bump Plasters

Furthermore, I would like to try all of these candies:

It's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It's a beautiful day in the Richmond District, our new bike corral is in full use. We're here for all of your 4th of July reading and music listening needs, so stop on by and pick up something to read at the BBQ.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Have you ever heard of Shermer's Neck?

No, it's not a town in Nevada or upstate New York. It's a condition named after long-distance-cyclist and founder of Skeptic Magazine (and author of the recent book, The Believing Brain) Michael Shermer, whose neck muscles failed him about 2500 miles into the 3000 mile Race Across America (RAAM).

Those suffering from Shermer's Neck--which tends to afflict riders about 300 miles or so into this 10 day, 3000 mile race across the continent--take to extreme makeshift measures to keep their heads up: some fashion structural supports (from whatever's handy, including Pringles cans), others wind their helmets with duct tape and then fix that to their backs.

Obviously, anyone willing to tape their head to their back in order to keep bicycling across the country in the middle of June is not a normal person. They're a little crazy--and the RAAM, in which cyclists must average at least 300 miles a day (yay! basic math) with little or no sleep, will only make them a little crazier. (To find out just how much crazier, check out this fascinating episode of Radio Lab.)

As a testament to the sheer power and perversity of human determination there is little that compares to the RAAM (one competitor quipped that "Everest is more dangerous, but the RAAM is harder"), which is one of the reasons I'm excited about Amy Snyder's visit to the store on July 14th at 7pm. Snyder, whose experience as a triathlete provided her with insight into the limits of the mind and body, is the author of Hell on Two Wheels, a riveting chronicle of the 2009 RAAM, one of the closest and most controversial races in the history of the tournament.

So, if you're at all interested in any of the above--to recap: failing neck muscles! lack of sleep! terrifying visions of armed warriors on horseback (listen to the Radiolab episode)! bicycles!--and want to hear more by an author whose account of the race has been praised as "gripping" by the Wall Street Journal, please come join Ms. Snyder and the rest of the Thursday night crew on July 14th.

For more information, visit our events page.

Image from Bicycle Dreams, a documentary about the RAAM

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

summer reading = got umbrella?

Another soggy June afternoon in our City by the Bay, and if you're like me, this is the perfect weather for a bit of summer reading! Lucky for you, I've got some wonderful suggestions if you need them; and if you don't need them, how about turning off your computer and getting to those books!

Last week David Kipen and myself were guests on KALW's "Your Call" show - we discussed summer reading habits, how things are in the book biz in general, and how reading is getting done these days, what with ebooks and all. . . We took tons of listeners' calls and suggestions, and I almost wore out my voice thanking everyone for all the praise heaped on Green Apple. But luckily the voice hung in there.

Luckily the voice hung in there, so if you missed it last week, you can simply CLICK HERE and listen to the podcast any time you want to. Unless you're reading, and then I wouldn't want to interrupt you.