The holiday season is here -- Halloween, Election Day, Thanksgiving... We have beautiful books coming in every day, we are shipping everywhere in the U.S., and our well-read booksellers are chock-full of recommendations, ready to help, to wrap, to send. This seems as good a time as any to sing the praises of independent, locally-owned businesses. The multiplier effects on our local economies; the carefully chosen selection of what we carry; the deep knowledge, passion and care with which we, year in and year out, provide local services to our communities -- you see this on your streets, in the independent stores you frequent, and in the eyes of the local merchants whose names you may know, and who may know yours. What more needs to be said about this -- it is the best of civil society. Most all of our stores in this day and age have 24/7 websites where you can conveniently order, and have shipped, anything they regularly carry and more! So, come on in and join the fun at your local businesses, on the street and online -- where the quality is, whatever way you measure it!
John & all Dieselfolk
Heroism and reverence characterize some of the best surfers, and some of the best scientists. The extreme sports of both fields converge in The Wave. Author of the fabulously fascinating book on great white sharks, The Devil's Teeth, Casey brings the same capably curious and intelligent synthesis of current science together with experiential and adventurous exploration to the subject of giant waves. Current wave scientists, physicists, climatologists, and geologists present facts, histories and theories in clearly rendered chapters of interviews and journalistic prose. These alternate with amazing stories of human endurance and first hand accounts of big waves from surfers, fishermen, sailors and field scientists. The result is an in-depth informational page-turner that presents an increasingly threatening phenomenon: the rise in frequency of waves of over 100 feet, propelled onto our coastline by a myriad of factors, many of them a consequence of global warming. Timely, telling, and also thrilling, Casey has done it again, bringing us the best of engaged, immersive journalism on a subject that affects us all. -- John Evans
Toby is a bad boy. Unloved and uncared for, he's grown accustomed to the fleeting thrill of troubling anyone and anything that crosses his path. This includes Shelby, the smart new girl at Citrus Middle School who is not only unafraid, but has the audacity to fall in love with Toby and not take no for an answer. Toby's response, however, is far more provocative than a simple no. And suddenly, the threat and promise of this one relationship bring to the surface all of the latent hope, fear, helplessness, and hypocrisy one mundane, slightly sinister Florida county can muster. -- Colin Waters
David Mitchell - author of Diesel bestseller Cloud Atlas - seems to take each new book as an opportunity to explore increasingly strange and unexpected corners of the world. The breakthrough success of Cloud Atlas was followed by the beautifully understated Black Swan Green, which seemed like an intentional step away from the sprawling, nearly sci-fi narratives of his earlier work. In Thousand Autumns, Mitchell reconnects full-force with the historical, political, folkloric, and fantastical currents of his earlier novels to create a dense, layered work that is more world than story.
The book takes place at the turn of the 19th century, and centers around Dejima, a tiny, man-made island off the coast of Nagasaki. Its titular character is a Dutch merchant who, though engaged to a woman back home, falls for a Japanese midwife - but this is no more a simple historical romance than Black Swan Green is a simple coming-of-age novel. Mitchell pokes and prods at the boundaries of historical fiction, throwing linguistic arguments, medical lectures, ghost stories, and even a few well-placed illustrations into the pot. The result is a fantastically conceived, utterly convincing novel that should further solidify Mitchell's reputation as one of the great storytellers of the new millennium. -- John Peck
Globalization is here, and it's not how we pictured it. De Blij is a great tour guide to particular and actual powers of place that determine the relationships to globalization each community makes. Providing depth, and yes roughness, to many of the more reductive books on the subject to date, de Blij takes on Thomas Friedman's "flatness" and Jared Diamond's factors leading to failed states, among others, presenting more nuanced and complex takes on the geographic distribution of power, affluence, education, health, and risk. The evolving social world is made up of "globals, locals, and mobals." To get a richer sense of the rough terrain the majority of the world's population inhabits, and the physical and cultural landscapes they create and are created by, this accessible, intelligent, and well-researched book is a good place to start. -- John Evans
San Francisco, California, 1968-1977: arguably the most transformative era in twentieth century American history. Fitting, considering the players at the heart of these years made up every different shade of the American collage. The International Hotel on the corner of Kearney and Jackson serves as the epicenter of not only Karen Tei Yamashita's brilliant novel, but also what's been known as the Yellow Power movement. But this umbrella term, as Yamashita illustrates over the ten novellas (one for each year) that make up I Hotel, doesn't do justice to the complexities, similarities, and differences with which each ethnic group and individual deals. "Maybe we all look alike, and maybe the law lumps us all together so we got to stick together, even though we're really different and can't understand each other and our folks back in the old countries hated each other's guts." I Hotel is a political powder keg of a novel, at turns explosive and poignant, and an altogether triumphant effort. -- Geo Ong
Graphic novelist Charles Burns returns with another entry in an imposing body of work that explores isolation, illness, and - for lack of a better phrase - biological errancy. Presenting itself as "the first volume of an epic masterpiece of graphic fiction in brilliant color" (referring to the fact that Burns nearly always works in black and white), the book is as uncompromisingly harrowing as any of its predecessors. From its cover image (a play on the Tintin story The Shooting Star) onward, X'ed Out is a story of corrupted innocence; or, more specifically, what happens when the darker realities of adulthood impose themselves onto the adventure stories of our childhoods. Charles Burns is the David Cronenberg of comics, and no one is better at pinning down the exact moment at which a dream begins to take on the unmistakable shape of a nightmare. -- John Peck
Have you ever needed something? Anything? Then you can relate to Socksquatch. Like most of us, his need is simple. All he wants is a sock; a sock that fits. Socksquatch demonstrates the important life lesson that our simplest needs are often hardest to fulfill, no matter who you are, teaching us that no matter how persistent or dedicated we are our needs are unrelenting. This charming, simple, and quirky story will entertain children of all ages. Go ahead and flip through it - because everyone needs a good laugh. -- Elise Clarkson