It has been a heavy winter lying on the land. March is the beginning of spring, certainly here in California where the coreopsis and the cherry blossoms are abundantly blooming. Spring is a good time to open up to new ideas, new experiences, new understandings. Books are some of the best and most pleasurable places for all of that. This is also time for a new season of books from publishers, who have been working hard to edit and prepare for publication the unexpected treasures composed by their authors. You can order, find information and view images of them on our website and can find the flesh and blood, paper and ink incarnations of these creations in our stores. We also now have a very active blog which you can view regularly for reviews, opinions and commentary on the latest titles. Please pass along to others the virtues of our blog, our website and our stores -- don't be stingy, spring is a good time to be generous, too.
John & all Dieselfolk
Its the brink of the 60s! Val and Judy are growing up fast! As a sucker for grand tales and epic journeys, the trials that a young girl must go through from 13 to 18 couldn't be more fascinating; especially when told through the cheeky and exacting whit of John Stanley. Beyond the simple appeal for nostalgia, this collection pops with a simplicity that simultaneously embodies and re-imagines an iconic style deeply rooted in time. This book is an instant charmer with its heavy-handed punch lines and caricatures. The young rascals' pulp romances and fiery attitudes evoke those zany impulses that you stuffed away with all your old pleated skirts and Chuck Taylors - a great book for everyone from those going through their own formative years to older comic book collectors and enthusiasts. With these gorgeous reprints on antiqued paper that stay true to the original issues, it's not difficult to lose yourself in space and time. -- Thomas Bailey
Drummond Clark was once a spy of legendary proportions but now he is older, may have Alzheimer's disease, and tends to wander away from home. His son, Charlie, clueless of Drummond's secret profession, is driving his father home one day when bullets start flying from the car behind them. Charlie soon discovers that Drummond's unremarkable career as an appliance salesman is actually a cover-up for an elaborate plan to sell would-be terrorists faulty nuclear detonators. Now the CIA wants to "contain" father and son alike and Drummond must pull his son into the fray if they are both going to survive. This is a real fun page-turner filled with humor, intrigue and non-stop action. -- Karen Keith
Although the tale of a troubled youth in the midst of New York City has been done dozens of times by fill-in-the-blank Salinger-philes, Paul Auster has managed to justify the pretentious and often stupid decisions of a young man in remarkably beautiful fashion. Moon Palace is set in New York City during the moon landing of Apollo 11, a mission Auster uses to coincide with the exploration and maturation of our hero.
Marco Stanley Fogg has few family members and even less money when he moves to New York in the fall of 1965 to attend Columbia. After his first year in the dorms, he moves into a single bedroom apartment he has unconventionally furnished with the many boxes of books previously owned by his uncle Victor. A bed made out of eight boxes here, a table made out of six stacked boxes, a stool made out of two boxes there.
Fogg's minimalist lifestyle becomes even more so after his uncle's death. He must cope not only with the loss of his last remaining family member but also the fact that he has virtually no money. Fogg's solution is to pay tribute to his uncle's life by reading every one of his uncle's books and then selling the copies to a secondhand bookstore. As he does, his apartment becomes sparser, but his knowledge of and love for his uncle grows. As his furniture slowly disappears, Fogg grapples with his poverty and is drawn further into his desire to exist with nothing. Analogous to Krakauer's tale of Christopher McCandless in Into the Wild, Moon Palace plays with the desperate and inspired attempts of a young man to create his own future. -- Jon Stich
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. -- John Evans
A trio of eerie and unnerving novellas. The first two involve women inflicting needless cruelties on people helpless and dependent on them, but Ogawa strays away from creating caricatures or relying on obvious psychology. The third story, possibly the most complex and strange, involves a lonely woman befriending the triple-amputee landlord of a maybe-cursed dormitory complex. The ambiguous ending is frustrating, but nevertheless compelling. Ogawa's use of language is both seductive and severely disquieting; I will definitely be seeking out more of her work. -- Anna Kaufman
Published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, these works prove how something as ordinary as a sheet of paper can be transformed into something extraordinary. Fifty-two artists from around the world cut, carve, and construct, creating objects and installations from sheets of paper, cardboard and reclaimed books. If you have ever used an exacto-knife to cut an image out of paper, you'll know that one small slip can ruin everything. The artists represented here must have the utmost patience and a deft hand, executing intricate designs as fine as lace or teasing to life three-dimensional images from a flat plane. Books spring to life, long forgotten pages resurrected into scenes reminiscent of a fairy tale and text carved away revealing a maze of illustrations. Spanning the whimsical to the dark side, all are thought-provoking and will never have you look at a piece of paper the same way again. -- Cheryl Ryan
The moment I saw this book I couldn't believe my eyes. Michael Ian Black, one of the funniest men to ever live, had written a book... for kids? Mind. Blown. It called to me, and who was I to deny that call? Inside is a monkey, despite the book being titled The Purple Kangaroo. But he isn't just any monkey. This monkey can read minds. He can even tell what you're thinking of! What are you thinking of? Well, a purple kangaroo of course. What else are you thinking of? Ask the monkey, he's the one who can read minds, not me! -- Joey Puente