Thank You Malibu!

The pie was eaten. The parking lot was full. Thanks to all who made our Grand Opening and Thank-You Party a huge success!


Photos from the new store:


In Our Neighborhood: Grimm's Fairy Tales at Cella Gallery


I live in an area that is in the midst of an artistic transformation, yet for some reason I rarely take advantage of what my community has to offer. One Saturday night, not so long ago, I saw a post for an open gallery night where the galleries on one street were joining forces and welcoming all to explore what they had to offer. Rather than spend another night in my pajamas, I decided to see what was going on. 

When I arrived, people were milling about, drifting from one exhibit to another. Vintage pin-up girl posters with live music, indie horror flicks, and hip-hop dance lessons were some of the first things I encountered. At the end of the street was the Cella gallery,, where a themed group show, inspired by Grimm's Fairy Tales, was on display. The room was crowded--it was by far the most popular exhibit on the street. There were approximately 30 works ranging from pencil sketches to acrylic on canvas, but perhaps the most interesting were the mixed media pieces using books as the foundation. Hardcover boards became the canvases, a long braid hung from the spine of "Rapunzel", while "Hansel and Gretel" sprung to life from the opened pages. The most clever was called "Grimm Future" by W.B Fontenot. A vintage hardcover that was opened enough so you could see the computer jacks to plug in the book while all the words were blacked out. Very grim indeed. (I was told that if you did plug it in, it was loaded with a computer virus....nice touch!) 
The curator, Shannon Currie Holmes, plans on making this an annual exhibit with the hope of having 100 artists participate. Sign me up...this sounds like a great idea!

Visit the exhibit online at 

--Cheryl Diesel, Brentwood




Annie Leibovitz comes to Oakland


On Monday, November 21st, Diesel, A Bookstore in Oakland welcomes legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz to the store to sign her new book of photographs, Pilgrimage. The photographs in Pilgrimage took Leibovitz to places that she could explore with no agenda. Starting with Emily Dickinson’s house in Amherst, Massachussetts, she worked outward, traveling from Niagara Falls, to Yosemite, to the English countryside and even further afield. Filled with images of incredible beauty, Pilgrimage is a deeply personal collection from one of the world's foremost photographers.


Leibovitz's large and distinguished body of work encompasses some of the most well-known portraits of our time. She began her career as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone in 1970, while still a student, and by  the time she left the magazine ten years later she had shot 142 covers and published photo-essays on scores of subjects. In 1983, when she joined the staff of the revived Vanity Fair, she was established as the foremost rock music photographer and an astute documentarian of the social landscape. She has received numerous awards and honors, was decorated a Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, and was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress. She lives in New York with her three children.


This event is free and open to the public, but we'll save you a spot!  Pilgrimage will be published on November 8th. If you purchase your copy at Diesel, we'll reserve your place in the signing line on the day of the event. 


PLEASE NOTE: While we will have copies of Ms. Leibovitz's other titles for sale, she will only be signing copies of Pilgrimage. Please contact our Oakland store at 510-653-9965 with any questions, or to purchase a copy of the book.


On Canaan's Side - Signed First Editions!

Last week, Sebastian Barry (two-time Man Booker shortlisted author of The Secret Scripture) was in the Bay Area, speaking, signing, and promoting his new novel, On Canaan's Side. Barry, pictured below with Diesel bookseller Linda Grana, has signed a carton of first editions for Diesel--now on sale in our Oakland store!


"Told in the first person, as a narrative of Lilly Bere's life over seventeen days, On Canaan's Side opens as she mourns the loss of her grandson, Bill. Lilly revisits her past, going back to the moment she was forced to flee Ireland, at the end of the First World War, and continues her tale in America, a world filled with both hope and danger. At once epic and intimate, Lilly's story unfolds as she tries to make sense of the sorrows and troubles of her life and of the people whose lives she has touched. Spanning nearly seven decades, from the Great Depression to World War II and the Vietnam War, it is the heartbreaking story of a woman whose capability to love is enormous, and whose compassion, even for those who have wronged her, is astonishing."

Banned Books Week Wrap-Up

Today is the final day of Banned Books Week and we hope you all had a chance to celebrate. Last night we had a read-out in our Oakland store. People read from Candide and Harry Potter and Beloved and The Catcher in the Rye--great books that we couldn't do without.


 Diesel has also been participating in the nation-wide festivities by uploading videos to the Banned Books Week channel:

Three Good Things: Video Edition!


1. This week (Sept. 24- Oct. 1) is Banned Books Week! Join the Virtual Read-out, the centerpiece of this year's Banned Books celebration. Record a video of yourself reading from your favorite banned or challenged book and upload it to the Banned Books Week channel.


2. Not sure what to read? Take your time, slowly sift through your collection until you find the perfect passage...
3. And once you've got that influential text, just read from the heart. And don't forget to upload your video to the Banned Books Week channel!

From Publishers Weekly: "Say Yes to Gay YA"

Say Yes To Gay YA

By Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith

We are published authors who co-wrote a post-apocalyptic young adult novel. When we set out to find an agent for it, we expected to get some rejections. But we never expected to be offered representation… on the condition that we make a gay character straight, or cut him out altogether.

Our novel, Stranger, has five viewpoint characters; one, Yuki Nakamura, is gay and has a boyfriend. Yuki’s romance, like the heterosexual ones in the novel, involves nothing more explicit than kissing.

An agent from a major agency, one which represents a bestselling YA novel in the same genre as ours, called us.


Read the rest of the article in Publishers Weekly HERE 


I am appalled and saddened by this article although I shouldn't be surprised, I've known for a long time that I inhabit a bubble where social justice matters. As the book buyer for teen fiction for the Diesel bookstores I consider it a plus when the publisher rep tells me there is a positive LGBT point of view in the story, better yet one of the main characters. This will cause me to give a second look to a title I might otherwise have passed.  There is a link in the article to a decent list of YA Fantasy & Science Fiction with LBGT POV that I have posted at the Oakland store.

I must say these issues are far more troubling to me than the general state of the book industry. What kind of industry are we trying to save if a stranglehold is put on open-mindedness and diversity.


- Margaret


A few titles from that list: 

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments), by Cassandra Clare. Urban fantasy series with major gay characters.

Gone, by Michael Grant. Everyone over the age of 13 vanishes, and the remaining kids begin to acquire strange powers. A major character is a lesbian.

Huntress, by Malinda Lo. A quest fantasy set in a China-inspired fantasy world, with a sweet romance and some quite beautiful passages. The heroines are lesbians.



Bookcase Showcase: Our Books in Pictures

We fit them under our beds and over our kitchen cabinets and stack them into twin pillars on either side of the actual bookcase. We set them down in the bathroom and the backseat of the car and on the kitchen tables of friends and family. Booksellers are notorious book-hoarders, so we here at Diesel thought we'd share the places (and mis-places) we stash our stash.


Books Are Beautiful

In my eyes, books have always been beautiful. To walk up to the bookshelf, inhale the aroma, gaze upon the selection, and pull that one special book that speaks to you. Something magical happens at that moment. You open the pages and are transported into another world. A world that could be anything: high adventure that has you eagerly turning the page, romance that conjures fond memories or longings, or poetry and art so beautiful it inspires you to create your own. 

In this age of electronics, we have the ease to select books almost instantaneously. Via a good review or word of mouth, one can download a book in a matter of seconds. I appreciate the enthusiasm and understand the convenience but remain a proponent for the tangible. Licking your finger, placing it behind the page, ready to turn as soon as the last word on the previous has been read. It's that excitement that can't be reproduced. Curling the pages back as you curl up in a chair....being one with the book, that's for me. You know what I'm talking about.

It seems that publishers are creating more books that appeal to the senses; albeit a textural cover or an interactive interior. It's these features that can't be mimicked on an electronic device. Pages that literally unfold and spill out or pop to life at the turn of a page. Close your eyes and run your fingers over the raised cover and imagine what lies inside. This, is the magic I speak of. Let your imagination run wild. So, let loose, adorn your bookshelf with beautiful, mental sustenance that can be passed down through the generations--it is within your grasp.