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.


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: 

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.





Three Good Things: Trees, Festivals, Skippyjon Jones



1. Seeing Trees.

It isn’t very often that you see a good book trailer (by nature they seem counter-intuitive), but this trailer for Seeing Trees is actually visually arresting and informative. Out today, Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Ordinary Trees is “a gorgeous journey into the life cycle of trees.” If you like trees, come in and check out the book. 


2. The Customer Knows Best. 

Repeal the Internet Sales Tax?






You know the situation all too well.  You go to a grocery store, a BART station, or any other wide “parking lotted” location, and you are immediately locked into an uncomfortable stare-down with a pseudo-impassioned plain-clothed youth, armed with a clipboard and an intrusiveness that ranks somewhere between an aggressive homeless person and a Macy's employee desperate to meet a quota.  You normally think up some lie, pretend to be on your phone—anything to just get into the store and on with your life. 




AMIGO, A Giveaway


Thanks to all who entered and congratulations to our winners!


John Sayles' new film Amigo opens August 19th and we're giving away tickets! Comment here or on our facebook page for a chance to win a pair of ticket vouchers to see the film.

The Brentwood winner will win tickets for the Laemmle's Monica 4 in Santa Monica.

The Oakland winner will win tickets for the Cinemark Union Landing 25 in Union City.


About the film:

   AMIGO, the 17th feature film from Academy Award-nominated writer-director John Sayles, stars legendary Filipino actor Joel Torre as Rafael, a village mayor caught in the murderous crossfire of the Philippine-American War.

   When U.S. troops occupy his village, Rafael comes under pressure from a tough-as-nails officer (Chris Cooper) to help the Americans in their hunt for Filipino guerilla fighters. But Rafael’s brother (Ronnie Lazaro) is the head of the local 
guerillas, and considers anyone who cooperates with the Americans to be a traitor. Rafael quickly finds himself forced to make the impossible, potentially deadly decisions faced by ordinary civilians in an occupied country.

   A powerful drama of friendship, betrayal, romance and heartbreaking violence, Amigo is a page torn from the untold history of the Philippines, and a mirror of today’s unresolvable conflicts.

   For Trailer & More Info, Please Visit:


Playing at these theaters: