April 2009



Hi All,

Full Bloom! Yes, flowers and independent bookstores are in full bloom this spring. We, of course, have opened up in Brentwood, because every neighborhood deserves a great independent bookstore. Don't miss the other neighborhood bookstores scattered around us. For those of us in the Bay Area, don't miss the blossoming of a new variety of bookstore: The Green Arcade in San Francisco. "Specializing in books on the environment, politics, sustainability, the slow food movement, organics, urban planning, nature, and children's books," they are wonderful: check them out. Just up the block from Zuni!

Happy Reading!
John & all Dieselfolk



Staff Pick Logo
Madness Under the Royal Palms: Love and Death Behind the Gates of Palm Beach Cover Image
ISBN: 9781401322915
Availability: Special Order - Please call to confirm availability
Published: Hyperion - January 1st, 2009

Madness Under the Royal Palms, about some of the denizens of Palm Beach, shocks and roils if not awes. It is to my mind an entertaining and thorough anthropological study of some of America's super rich. If you ever actually thought money could bring you happiness, reading this book will bring to light your mistake. Add to that the knowledge that many of the book's non-fiction "characters" wound up in Bernie Madoff's maw and you will delight that you vacation at 39 Palms in lieu of Palm Beach. -- Diane Leslie

Staff Pick Logo
Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374105365
Availability: Special Order - Please call to confirm availability
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 14th, 2008

My first encounter with David Hinton was a slim volume of poetry entitled The Selected Poems of Li Po. The translations felt fresh and alive and I read and re-read that book many times. For me, it was the language that I kept going back for - or, really, the not-language. Paired with the concise and vivid nature of Chinese poetry, Hinton's use of space and his attention to sound allows the mystery in each image a chance to blossom, and I say a chance because the poems never feel finished, they continue to grow and unfurl with each new read. This newest anthology, Classical Chinese Poetry, is just as wonderful. Hinton includes selections from all the early classics (The Book of Songs, Tao Te Ching, Songs of Ch'u, and a large selection of Tang poetry) but also gives his readers a chance to visit other folk-song collections and versions of poems which I personally had never seen before, including a wonderful series of seasonal poems by Lady Midnight. Aside from beautiful translations, the reader also gets many historical aids, in-depth notes and a large reference for future reading. Any fan of Chinese poetry, history, poetics or poetry in general should take a look at this wonderful collection. It is a beautiful edition and one I will pull from my shelf again and again over the years. -- Sean Mix

Staff Pick Logo
Intuition Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385336109
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Press - March 13th, 2007

Intuition features a truly compelling premise: two young doctors involved in high-stakes cancer research come in conflict when one produces a new, potentially life-saving drug, causing the other to doubt the veracity of his results. What really impresses, however, is how incredibly well-drawn all of Goodman's characters are. When moving between points of view - from Cliff, the discoverer of the potential cure; to Robin, his colleague (and - uh-oh - ex-girlfriend) who fears he's lying about the effectiveness of his drug; to Sandy, the press-savvy lab director; to Marion, his much more tentative but also more ethically-minded partner - Goodman manages the incredible feat of making every one convincing, and allowing each set of motivations to seem logical when you're inside the head of the person they belong to. It's not so much that she manages to keep the reader unable to choose who to believe; she makes you change your mind about who you think is right based on whose head you're currently in. It's a fascinating look at human psychology and ethics, and both inter-personal and societal responsibility. It even has a note-perfect ending. -- Anna Kaufman

Staff Pick Logo
500 Handmade Books: Inspiring Interpretations of a Timeless Form Cover Image
By Lark
ISBN: 9781579908775
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Lark Books (NC) - July 1st, 2008

We all love reading books, but as we have learned, the message is in the medium. 500 Handmade Books: Inspiring Interpretations of a Timeless Form capitalizes on this notion and collects an outburst of books that range from arch experimental books which unfold like an engineer's dream or are nestled in a seed like an unborn idea, to more quotidian, though gorgeous, examples of elegant books well-stitched and housed in embossed covers. Because you're reading this, I am willing to bet that you love books, so why not take a little time to explore the concept of this object that has shaped so profoundly how we live and think. With nearly a thousand full color photos over 400 pages, readers can come back to this marvelous catalog again and again, and will be delighted, surprised, and inspired. -- Trevor Calvert

Staff Pick Logo
Smile Cover Image
By John Rowe, John Rowe (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780698400887
Availability: Special Order - Please call to confirm availability
Published: Minedition - October 16th, 2008

This is the story about King and Queen Grumpy and their children who, as their names would suggest, never smile. Their town, Grumpy Town, is thrown into disarray when Prince Grumpy the Sixth is born with a 'mysterious illness'. The story that transpires is both charming and hilarious as the town tries to make sense of the goofy expression on the young prince's face. The pictures are subtle and unlike other picture books on the shelves right now. Both children and adults should read this book (especially the grumpy ones); it's sure to make you...smile. -- Veronica Tyler