We have launched a new website! Same address (dieselbookstore.com) but with more bells and whistles (can you hear them?) and still more being added weekly (listen for them). Grant & Jon have been working away the last few months to make it better, smarter, beautiful to look at, and filled to the gills with interesting news, reviews, videos, audio clips, and more. It is like an infinitely expanded version of our newsletter now laid out before your very eyes. If you have a book that you are passionate about and would like to review it, we are now putting some on the website. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you enjoy the new site, this new newsletter, and our three stores -- all working hard to keep available to you the best writing, the most relevant information, and the most transformative artwork.
John & all Dieselfolk
James M. Cain, Dashiel Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Thomas Pynchon?! Yes, social critique is alive and noir in Pynchon's latest, Inherent Vice. Sex, drugs, crime, comedy and L.A. circa 1970 provide the elements for this accessible, entertaining and intelligent whodunit. An excellent summer novel - it's not too late! -- John Evans
With every new publishing season, I look forward to a new Rennie Airth mystery, but this is only his third in the last 10 years. The first novel, River of Darkness is set in rural England in the immediate aftermath of the Great War and John Madden, a man scarred by both war and the death of his wife and infant daughter, is sent to a Surrey village to investigate a series of gruesome murders. Five publishing years and ten in Madden's life later, it's 1932 and The Blood-Dimmed Tide returns us to the same Surrey village, where a brutal murder of a young girl brings Madden out of retirement. Part British police procedural, part literary landscaping, Airth's writing combines the psychological complexity of P.D. James and the brilliant sense of culture, history and character of Pat Barker. The Dead of Winter, set more than a decade later in 1944 post blitz London, is a time of V-2 bombs, Jewish refugees, thriving underworld crime, critical food shortages, houses destroyed and families separated, and Madden's connection to a young murdered Polish refugee brings him into a complex investigation of multiple murders. There is a thread than runs through these novels, but it's not murder. It's the lasting repercussions of war from the horrors of trench warfare to the London blitz, a society struggling with a profound sense of displacement and an unrecognizable world. -- Margaret Simpson
Andromeda Klein's life basically sucks. The mom is an overbearing wreck, the dad a washed-up paranoiac musician. Her best friend and cohort in magick is dead, and sending her cryptic text messages from beyond. Her boyfriend has vanished and, worst of all, the 'friends' of the public library are purging all of her favorite books - arcane tomes of spells and magick history she can not possibly afford to replace. To top it off, her dreams and tarot readings seem to be literally manifesting in the world around her, in strange and terrifying ways.
There are many things to love about Andromeda Klein. Portman's attention to detail - deities, tarot lore, magick spells - makes the occult intimate and familiar, like you've always known it, forgot it for awhile, and are now remembering it; the tangible angst, well-balanced with the hope for a little peace and quiet; and, most of all (for me, at least) Andromeda's malformed inner ear bones that lead to gut-busting misinterpretations of what has actually been said. This book is awesome, and you should totally read it. -- Grant Outerbridge
In this noteworthy first book, Lydia Peelle delivers eight seamless narratives that highlight the quiet strength and complexity of her characters while capturing the compelling spirit of the rural South. Living and breathing in these realistic landscapes are wandering carnies and coyotes, a disgruntled goat herder, a herpetologist, an amputee taxidermist, and a clairvoyant - people of all ages with a rare knowledge of their native wilderness and an understanding of life and death that is both practical and profound. It's hard not to grow fond of characters who are just as easily haunted by rumors of a prowling cougar or legends of a vengeful Thunderbird as they are devastated by the disappearance of a familiar landscape, a loyal animal, an old lover, or a limb. Faced with pushy real estate developers, new farm technology, or their own desire for change, these individuals must decide whether to remain rooted to the land or sever their ties with a chosen way of life. Exhibiting the wisdom of a skilled writer, Peelle's stories reveal themselves slowly and thoughtfully, exposing the desperation, dreams, loneliness and compassion that shape people's existence. -- Steffi Drewes
A surreal, kaleidoscopic journey through the various subcultures the Internet has fostered, this book could easily be called Fear And Loathing On The Internet had Hunter S. Thompson written it. From the mundane folk who house the souls of dragons and elves to the more bizarre and exotic enclaves that I dare not mention here, Your Next-Door Neighbor Is A Dragon is far more than just a list of weird people and their foibles. Parsons gets down in the trenches and witnesses everything firsthand - he even suits up and goes undercover to a Furry convention. Talk about investigative journalism! Horrifying, hilarious, and sweetly tragic overall, you will never, ever view the Internet the same way again. -- Joey Puente
Paper is one of our oldest (and I believe best) technologies, which at its inception was designed for the transmission of knowledge through writing. Since then, we have used it for multiple other endeavors: kites, sculpture, clothing, art, even the elegantly utilitarian architecture of Shigeru Ban. Paper collects some of the most intriguing art to be made from this material and showcases each artist's work with 2-3 pages of full color photos. It surprises and inspires with its exquisite conflation of medium and message. Beneath the cover, we find an entire three dimensional pagoda carefully cut and folded up from its source sheet, life-size mythical environments, something that may be a feathery heart made from De Baudelaire au Surrealisme beneath a glass dome, and a recycled paper party dress. Divided into such sections as "cut-rip-tear," "paper art," "fashion," and "furniture," Paper will delight book lovers and designers, artists and other creatives. -- Trevor Calvert
Over the years, writer & illustrator Patricia Polacco has created a body of picture books that have become classics in children's literature. Themes of illiteracy, multi-racial, intergenerational friendships, family celebrations and communities pulling together in crisis are embedded in warm, sometimes funny and always delightfully illustrated tales. Polacco often draws on the stories of real families and children from her own childhood in Berkeley and Oakland, which adds a richness and authenticity to her work. The adult narrator of In Our Mothers' House looks back on her childhood experiences as one of three adopted children being raised by two loving women. The societal oppression faced by gay couples raising families, especially severe a generation ago and still a reality, is conflated into one nasty neighbor and, given the intended audience, seems age-appropriate. It's a romping good story of a boisterous family in good times and difficult ones, and while a bit idealized, serves as an excellent model of inclusiveness much needed in our time. -- Margaret Simpson