Chatter's blog

Blank No More

These entries in Claudia Rankine's National Book Award-winning collection, Citizen: An American Lyric, used to be blank. But now we know the names, along with so many others, and we must say them.

We must figure out ways (because there will be many) not simply to say -- but demand -- that black lives matter. 

My Heart Belongs to Bookstores

Courtesy of our friends at Shelf Awareness:

A Bookseller at Home: feat. THE TRANSMIGRATION OF BODIES

Yuri Herrera's US debut last year, Signs Preceding the End of the World, was one of our bestselling books in Oakland. This was no one-hit wonder, says Brad, and The Transmigration of Bodies will prove it. 

March on, John Lewis! March on!

Get to know Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).


A Bookseller at Home: Brad Talks about GRIEF IS THE THING WITHE FEATHERS

You know this already, but when Brad likes a book he really likes a book. Here he is talking about Max Porter's novel, Grief is the Thing With Feathers. 

Max & Anthony Marra will be in conversation in Oakland on Friday, June 24th. There is so much more to say about this wonderful debut. 

Break the Chains, Build Local Power

And now, a word from our friends at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance:

Since our founding in 1974, we have worked to rewrite the rules and empower communities to choose their own future. Across several vital economic sectors, we help break the corporate stranglehold that extracts wealth from local economies and undermines democracy. We give communities the tools to build a strong local economy themselves. From banking to energy, healthy soils to community-owned Internet networks, time and again we have shown that when we level the playing field for individuals and businesses, we improve our economy and the quality of life for all citizens. To many, ILSR is one initiative that they have followed, learned from, and tried to embody. But we are much more than that. We are a network of initiatives with a coherent philosophy and strategy that link all things community – utilities, internet, shopping, banking, trash, recycling, and – the most important part piece – YOU. We need your help to expand our reach and multiply our successes.

The Internet Makes Itself Useful

Alright, alright, Internet, maybe you're not so bad after all! 

"Yesterday [4/15] selections from the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature at the Library of Congress became available to stream online for the first time — the launch of a project digitizing some of their 2,000 recordings from the past 75 years of literature. “I think that reading poetry and prose on the page is important, but there’s nothing that can replace listening to literature read aloud, especially when it is read by the creator of the work,” Catalina Gomez, project manager for the process of putting the archive online, told Hyperallergic."

A bit like the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's massive collection of animal calls . . . but, well, literature. Okay, fine, Internet! You're doing good work. 

"This book is the best work of fiction I read in in 2015."

Chances are that if you've been in the Oakland store the past year you've either heard or read Brad commenting on John Keene's story/novella collection, Counternarratives.

Debut of Brentwood's Mystery Book Club

The first meeting of DIESEL, A Bookstore in Brentwood’s Mystery Book Club will take place on Friday, June 3rd, at 7 pm in the south courtyard of the Brentwood Country Mart. We’re going to be discussing Jessica Knoll’s Luckiest Girl Alive.

The group is free and meets on the first Friday of every month. RSVPs are requested so we have an idea of how many people to expect. If you have any questions, feel free to stop by and ask, call the store at 310-576-9960, e-mail or tweet at @dieselbrentwood.

Luckiest Girl Alive is both a national bestseller and a top choice of Diesel customers. It’s a thriller with a protagonist who at first seems spoiled and unhappy with her aspirational life. Gradually, the reader learns about the trauma that has caused her to act the way she does. Reese Witherspoon, who is co-producing the upcoming movie adaptation, described the book as “required summer reading for adults.”

The group is hosted by Diesel Brentwood bookseller and social media editor Alex Melnick. Alex is a veteran bookseller, a recovering computer programmer, and a Santa Monica native. You can read about some of his favorite books here. Feel free to e-mail him with book club questions and suggestions at or tweet at @aemelnick.

P.S. At each meeting, we will decide on the book for a later month. Come prepared with suggestions!

James Baldwin reads from ANOTHER COUNTRY

Every day is a good day to listen to James Baldwin read. 

Note: Oakland's Queer Person of Color Book Group will be discussing this very book on Monday, March 28th at 7pm. The group, like all our groups & readings, is open to the public. Hope to see you there, East Bay!