Sign Up For World Book Night!

The deadline to sign up to be a giver for World Book Night 2013 is JANUARY 23RD. And as a special treat, for our dear Dieselites, we'll be throwing book pick-up parties at our Malibu, Brentwood, and Oakland stores. So apply today!

Got questions? Here are some answers, courtesy of the World Book Night website. 

 Q. What is World Book Night?
A. World Book Night is a charity dedicated to the promotion of literacy and the celebration, sharing and enjoyment of reading amongst teenagers and adults. The first World Book Night was held in the UK in 2011. In 2012 World Book Night was celebrated in the UK, Ireland, Germany and the USA on April 23 and saw tens of thousands of givers share the joy and love of reading with millions of people who don't regularly read.

Q. What are givers, and what do they do?
A. Givers are volunteers who are passionate about reading and have signed up to give copies of a certain book on or around April 23 to those who don't regularly read within their communities. Givers collect the books they've been allocated from their local participating bookshop or library in the week before World Book Night.

Q. How do I get involved?
A. Giver applications for 2013 are now open and you can apply here.

World Book Night 2013 - Become a Giver!


Hello Reader,

There is an exciting book event happening this spring, across this whole wide country of ours (as well as the U.K., Ireland and Germany).  It's called World Book Night 2013!  The idea is that on one night, throughout America, 1 million books will be given away by hand by tens of thousands of people.  Authors and publishers have enthusiastically agreed to print over 30 thousand copies of 30 different titles, to be delivered to pick-up locations throughout the country -- mostly independent bookstores and libraries.  Individual readers will sign up to be Givers who agree to hand deliver 20 copies of a title of their choice to strangers in locations outside of their homes, their bookstores, and their libraries.  It may be a park, a prison, a school, a hospital, an intersection, an airplane, a bus. 

You can sign up as a Giver, choose DIESEL as your pick-up location, and choose from this year's title list.  World Book Night 2013 is April 23rd, which is UNESCO's World Book Day and is the day of both Miguel de Cervantes' death and William Shakespeare's birth and death.   

In 2011, this was done in the U.K. and Ireland with astounding results and last year the U.S. joined in, with great success. The deadline for signing up as a Giver is January 23rd!  Please take the time to go to the World Book Night 2012 website and sign up to be a Giver.  You can see video footage from last year's event on the site as well, to get a sense of the joy created by this generous sharing of the love of reading between strangers. 

The World Book Night 2013 website is here.  The direct link to the sign up form is here.  Please put DIESEL as your registered pick-up location and let's make this event one of the biggest and best feel-good events of the year! 

Encourage your friends, your mayor, the media, your family, your favorite organizations -- all of them! -- to sign up and join to help to make this as big an event as we can!  It will take all of us to work together to get books into the hands of those who least expect them. 


Happy Reading! 

John and all Dieselfolk


January's Bookseller of the Month

Our Bookseller of the Month for January is Cameron Carlson. Each month, we ask a staff member a few questions about their relationship with books, and reading in general. Below are Cameron's responses.

1. What kind of reader are you?

I read everything, mostly nonfiction; history, 
journals, philosophy, and religious texts. I also enjoy non-American 
literature and American Noir. I read several books at once. I'm not sure 
how many I'm currently making my way through but definitely four books 

2. Name three favorite titles that came out in the last three years.

The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq, People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry, and 
The Tiger by John Vaillant

3. What reading experience surprised you recently?

I expected Houellebecq's The Map and the Territory to be sort of 
nihilistic like Bret Easton Ellis' writing, based on his reputation, but I 
find it very honest and compassionate. Also, I picked up Patrick White's 
Voss, which I knew nothing about and was floored by his dense, 
medical precision with emotional language.

4. What upcoming book are you looking forward to?

The next book that I would buy based on an author's reputation, would 
be John LeCarre, out of curiosity. I think James Ellroy was undertaking a 
new series. Also, John Jeremiah Sullivan.

5. If you could spend a day with one living author, who would it be and why?

This is a difficult question for me to answer because I prefer to spend 
time with people I know well, and having interviewed some authors in the 
past, know that I am incapable of asking a fascinating, observant, and 
intelligent question in the moment. So this would have to be like who 
would I want to hang out with in a bar or in a storm shelter for a couple 
hours. Jim Harrison or Lydia Davis. Definitely Umberto Eco or James 
Salter. Joan Did's. Zadie Smith is really beautiful. Really anyone, now 
that I think about it.

Check out some of Cameron's favorite books on his recommendation page.


Women Who Raised Me: Episode Three


I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea, I grew up with a wonderful, attentive mother. Super parents, both. Really. But a young girl and developing bibliophile requires a whole host of literary mothers to show her the way. It takes a village.

Episode Three: Ursula Hegi

The year is 2002 and I am in the eighth grade. That's the top of the middle school heap, folks. And, at thirteen, I'm feeling as grown up as I've ever felt (peaked too soon). My English teacher is young and full of radical, anti-establishment ideas about the futility of benchmarks and we have rallied around her in the revolutionary spirit and burned our spelling workbooks. She tacked a list of banned books to the wall and had many of them in her room to loan out; I could mainline the inflammatory literary smut they wouldn't keep in the middle school library. My first selection? Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi.

War, sex, Nazism, dwarfism, and a librarian heroine? What's not to love? And, until this moment, I had read only young adult fiction, never something so complex and beautifully written. Not to say that young adult authors can't be masters of craft, but Hegi is particularly daring and shocking. The story is about both Trudi, a dwarf woman reconciling her otherness in World War II-era Germany, and the greater implications of Nazism on the lives of Trudi and the members of her town. I want to make this clear: it blew my mind. Hegi opened me up to a number of great novelists that year--Toni Morrison, Ernest Hemingway--things that I didn't think I was ready to read because no one had ever told me it was okay.   


Next Time: I find out that women write the best horror.


Read Episode Two: Kate DiCamillo

Read Episode One: Maud Hart Lovelace


Three Good Things: Presents, Presents, Presents


1. Best part of the holidays? Love and togetherness, of course. The second best part? The freedom to just tell people that you want certain things from them.

Check out these great DIESEL picks for your wish list!

2. 'Tis also a grand season for mail. I love the packages of candy, tins of wild-flavored popcorn, chocolate fruits, cured meats--CHEESE. Best of all are the Christmas cards. More than you ever wanted to know about your college friends' illnesses accompanied by a photo of the whole family in white linen.

Read this article about Bill McMillen, a man who has taken the art of the Christmas card to a new level. He and his wife send out a new holiday novella each year.  

3. Feel no distress, this holiday season, as you shop for those loved-ones who love their e-readers! Here's the breakdown, from Book Patrol, on how E-Books and Print Books Can Coexist. And, remember, if you want to gift eBooks, gift with Kobo

Diesel's 2012 Best Illustrated Kids Books


We know that there are other lists out there, but here's the Diesel-approved supplement to all other "2012 Best Illustrated" lists.


Women Who Raised Me: Episode Two


I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea, I grew up with a wonderful, attentive mother. Super parents, both. Really. But a young girl and developing bibliophile requires a whole host of literary mothers to show her the way. It takes a village.

Episode Two: Kate DiCamillo

It's the year 2000 in Lafayette, California. I've been reading the Series of Unfortunate Events and wielding my new vocabulary as best a ten-year-old possibly could. Too much Daniel Handler has made me a little rough around the edges, so my mother has given me a book by a woman, Because of Winn Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo. This is obviously a girl book for girls and I protest, but mom points out that there's a dog on the cover, which would make it a dog book, and that might be okay.

The story is about a ten-year-old girl, Opal, who has just moved to Florida with her emotionally distant father and befriends a rascal sort of dog, who she names Winn Dixie (after the supermarket). Having myself recently moved across the country, to the vast and lonely California, I had that first taste of seeing myself in the characters of a novel. As she lived I could see myself live. As she made choices, I weighed the equivalent conflicts in my own life. And when she thought that maybe Winn Dixie had run away, I cried and cried, right along with Opal. DiCamillo writes with empathy and an understanding of the emotional landscape of a child. She changed my view, at that young age, of what a novel could do, because it suddenly became something more than a form of entertainment. 


Next Time: I get my hands on a list of banned books.


The Melville Summer


My favorite reading experience was during the summer of 1976, after my first year of college. I was living at home, working, hanging out with friends and all that, but when I wasn't doing those things I was reading Moby Dick. My sister had graduated from college and moved to Kansas City, so I took over her room which was larger than mine, with a dormer in front. I put an Indian bedspread over the entrance to the dormer, moved a small bookcase into it along with an old armchair our dog had chewed the wooden arms of, which my parents were going to throw away. With a floor lamp and my stereo and records I was set. All summer, when the time was right, I'd put a record on, sit in the chair and slowly, deliciously, read Moby Dick. My memory now is that this lasted all summer and all I actually remember of that summer is the supreme pleasure of being in my little cubbyhole surrounded by warm light, books, and good music and reading to my heart's content.

--John Evans




Women Who Raised Me: Episode One


I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea, I grew up with a wonderful, attentive mother. Super parents, both. Really. But a young girl and developing bibliophile requires a whole host of literary mothers to show her the way. It takes a village.


Episode One: Maud Hart Lovelace


It’s 1995 in Mobile, Alabama, which means that I’m five and taking fashion cues from Full House. I’ve got the hot pink leggings and enormous t-shirt, a big bow in my big hair. It’s summertime, so I’m also sporting glitter-jellies as I run amok around the neighborhood with my motley crew of cul-de-sac urchins. We play from dawn to dusk, like it’s a full-time job. We stay outside as long as humanly possible to avoid getting roped into chores. But let me tell you, it is difficult to be five and responsible for coming up with enough interesting make-believe games to amuse all your friends. Enter: the dear sister of my mischievous heart, Maud Heart Lovelace with her Betsy-Tacy series. My mother began to read chapters to my sister and I before we went to bed. These were turn-of-the-century girls who knew how to have a good time, before the Ya-Ya Sisterhood required that such a mythical childhood grow in the shadow mild parental abuse. Lovelace inspired me for years to have better adventures, ask better questions, and to marvel more at the magic of a car that can travel ten miles an hour.


Next Time: A book makes me cry!


DIESEL A.V. Club: Adaptation Trailers


Great things are happening. Great, big, star-studded things are happening at a theater near you. Life of Pi is finally becoming a movie. Watch the trailer, below, it looks like an epic, Dali-inspired acid trip. Then there's The Hobbit, the closest thing to a cinematic sure-thing we could hope for--Peter Jackson's cup runneth over. And finally, the adaptation I talk about at least twice a day, Cloud Atlas. How can it work? How can it possibly work??!

Also look out for: Anna Karenina, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Great Gatsby, and The Bell Jar. It would also seem that the second part of the Breaking Dawn movie is coming out in a few weeks...

1. Life of Pi.


2. The Hobbit.


3. Cloud Atlas.