John

"Alternating between poetry, science, history, fiction, cultural studies and spirituality with the occasional mystery or science fiction thrown in, eclectic is probably the best description of my reading. (Liminal and chthonic come to mind, but just because I like those words).Ideas, experiences, transformative writing, grace & sincerity are usually the draw for me, along with, if I'm lucky, humorous delight."

...And here is some more inspiration.

Rules of Civility (Paperback)

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780143121169
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books, 7/2012

*** August 2011 Newsletter Pick ***

Masterfully written and harking back to another time, in both style and subject, Rules of Civility is a richly enjoyable read. Memories of read pleasures past -- Somerset Maugham, Fitzgerald -- rise up to meet this new addition to The Novel's great writers. This lushly textured novel, which follows the social and emotional arcs of a small cast of characters through New York in 1938, is touching, nostalgic, and evocative. Relaxing back into the text of a capable prose stylist is one of reading's great joys. You quickly develop the trust and faith to sink deep into the story. Absorbing, delightful, thoughtful, and well-crafted, Rules of Civility deserves to become a bestseller and to be read on planes, in armchairs, and in bed.


$14.95
ISBN-13: 9781617750250
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Akashic Books, 10/2011

*** July 2011 Newsletter Pick ***

Adults have always loved children's books -- the books they grew up with along with new ones with well-imagined storytelling and stunning illustrations. But there is a third type of children's book that adults turn to: books written for adults in picture book format. The latest in this less-publicized genre is Go the F**k to Sleep. Artfully written poems and beautiful illustrations combine to graphically articulate the frustrations of trying to get a child to go to sleep. The imaginative range and verbal cleverness equal the perennial favorites among children's books: just what our childish adult hearts desire.


$16.00
ISBN-13: 9781556593109
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Copper Canyon Press, 10/2009

*** March 2010 Newsletter Pick ***

Okay, so if you ride BART or the Metro, bus, carpool or ride in a car, and if you ever are waiting for five, ten, fifteen minutes, somewhere for someone sometime - then do you know what is the most expansive, freeing, delightful and productive use of your time in those situations? Yep, reading poetry. I'm not kidding - it is concise, direct, bears repetition, expands time, puts you in the zone of patience, waiting, and joy. It's dreamy, heartening, exciting, quickening, and gives you, your, own, sense, of, time. My recommendation for your next moment, your next wait, your next chance to extend your sense of time instead of contract it is: The Shadow of Sirius by Pulitzer Prize-winning W.S. Merwin. Just pick it up, carry it with you, find the moment where minutes are yours to kill, and read it. Read each poem three times, with breaks in between to feel your imagination breathe and stretch and grow. Then, read, another, one.


$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780547394602
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Mariner Books, 9/2010

*** November 2009 Newsletter Pick ***

Many of the most compelling, engaging, and thrilling books of the last decade are what we now call narrative nonfiction. Books like Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City, Susan Casey's The Devil's Teeth, and Timothy Egan's own National Book Award winning The Worst Hard Time, are some examples. They manage to capture the visceral fascination of their subjects (murder, sharks, hurricanes, The Depression, fire) along with social history and, often, the history of an idea. All of this organized by sound storytelling structures, and you have a wonderfully fascinating read. Well-researched, compassionate, and vivid, Egan's new book tells the stories of: The Big Burn forest fire of 1910, the founding of the National Park system, the creation of the enduring idea of conservation, and the immigration and labor histories of the Rocky Mountain West. These gracefully interwoven stories create a memorable picture of the political, social, cultural, and natural forces at play at a pivotal moment in the nation's history. Add to this the powerful personalities of Teddy Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, and the wide array of characters who made up the first generation of forest rangers and you have a narrative nonfiction can't-put-down firestorm in your hands!


$22.95
ISBN-13: 9781582434964
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Counterpoint, 7/2009

*** October 2009 Newsletter Pick ***

You'll know Peter Coyote's woody voice from countless commercials, often for nonprofits and environmental groups, or his accomplished acting in some 120 or so films. If you ever lived in the Bay Area you might know him also as a member of The Diggers or the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Lucky for us, he is also a writer. Sleeping Where I Fall charts the trajectory of a tribe of individual humans, the ideas they shared, and the communal life they created from roughly 1964 to 1980. It is beautifully written, painfully honest, and luminously revealing of the intentions, failings, strengths, and humanity of that radical wet edge of the counterculture called the Digger Family. Coyote wisely incorporates thoughtful, graceful, and probing chapters on fellow Diggers in this tribal memoir, attempting to more clearly reveal their collective culture, their creativity, their struggles, and their wild successes. Their impact on the wider culture, and influence on the counter culture, is well-known but has never been captured so clearly and so articulately. Part memoir, chronicle and cultural history, it is the most insightful, intelligent, on-the-ground transcription of the moments, events and intentions swirling through the hearts and minds of that era. Honoring their heroic, troubled, and energetic attempts to be fully human, the book is both testimony and inspiration, encouraging a compassionate, imaginative and active engagement with your life in all of its relations. For those who lived it, it will be a vivid flashback, and for those who are curious, a wondrous, literary immersion. Dont' miss it.


A Dangerous Friend (Paperback)

$23.95
ISBN-13: 9780618056705
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Mariner Books, 4/2000
Only a master stylist of Just's abilities could create a contemporary political novel rivalling Graham Greene. Set in Vietnam in the early 60's, this is a gripping, elegant, insightful book of human character, politics, and history. He has all the subtlety and deceptive ease of the finest craftsman, generous and delightful.

$17.00
ISBN-13: 9780802133632
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Grove Press, 12/1993
The Palm-Wine Drinkard. Published to astonished acclaim in 1952, this surrealistic, modern African fable becomes more contemporary with each passing breath. Like hearing Sun House, or The Clash, or Thelonious Monk for the first time: forever changed.

$29.95
ISBN-13: 9780520209534
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of California Press, 7/1999
Just reissued by California, this incredible anthology has literally transformed American poetry since its original publication in 1960. Still packing a powerhouse of poets and poetics, this is an excellent introduction to American poetry & a deep course in writing from the New York School to the San Francisco Renaissance, Black Mountain to Beat.

$16.95
ISBN-13: 9781559391979
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Snow Lion, 7/2003
Not for the novice, this is the clearest and most generous book on the deep philosophy of Buddhism that I have ever read. It opens endlessly. Direct, intimate, supremely intelligent, it is for the serious student.

What Is Gnosticism? (Paperback)


ISBN-13: 9780674017627
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Belknap Press, 4/2005
THE historical scholar on gnosticism that everyone is talking about. Elaine Pagels cites her as the current authority, and she's no slouch. It provides a history of the idea of gnosticism, its evolution in the last century and a clear assessment of the relationship of heresy to orthodoxy.

The Biotech Century (Paperback)

$13.95
ISBN-13: 9780874779530
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Tarcher, 4/1999
President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, Rifkin has penned a vitally important book on the Biotech Industrial Revolution. Part serious historical and political analysis and part clearheaded reportage, it is a thorough, thoughtful, and fact-laden treatment of contemporary science and business not to be missed.