July 2016

Dear Reader,

Well things are all a-buzz at DIESEL this Summer.  We are all busy bees.  We've redesigned our newsletter, have been redesigning our website, and have decided to add a couple more newsletters.  We will be sending you each of these newsletters in the coming weeks and you can subscribe to regularly receive them then.

The two new monthly newsletters are for Young Adult and for Cookbooks.  You can also sign up for the YA newsletter here. And sign up for the Cookbook newsletter here.

For those desiring a concluding extension of this Intro's initial metaphor: reading is the honey.

Happy Summer Reading!

John and all DIESELfolk

Staff Pick Logo
So Much for That Winter: Novellas Cover Image
By Dorthe Nors, Misha Hoekstra (Translator)
ISBN: 9781555977429
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graywolf Press - June 21st, 2016

I believe this book will become the new standard for what people call "the great internet novel." While the stories themselves are not primarily concerned with technology, Nors captures the sensationalism and dissociation of the digital age through her use of "lists" and "status updates." It never feels like a gimmick. The pair of novellas are true, incisive, and written in the language of right now. As she told Lithub, the stories herein involve "middle-aged, childless women on the brink of disappearing." Yet with Nors' immediacy, and the wild, overflowing way in which her prose scrolls down the page, it becomes clear that these women will not fade away. They will stay with the reader -- defiantly, vibrantly -- long after reading.— Chris A.

Staff Pick Logo
Ninety-Nine Stories of God Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941040355
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - July 12th, 2016

Sorry, pals new and old, but one of America's great literary treasures, Joy Williams, has introduced a new measure for our friendship. Do you like Ninety-Nine Stories of God? Okay, I'm being a little dramatic there. But, rest assured, if you don't, I'm keeping an eye on you. In all seriousness, though, she has crafted something special -- one of those books that begin as a secret, turn into a surprise, and unfold into a classic.

Technically, I guess the ninety-nine stories are flash (or micro) fictions -- each only 1 or 2 pages. But the mysteries, contradictory readings, surface humor boring deep not only reward but outright demand multiple readings. Each time I wanted to move along to the next piece, inevitably my eyes would scan back to what I'd just read and it looked and sounded differently than before. The humor is often pitch dark, sometimes absurd, but never cynical or silly. These koan-like stories are of God, after all -- a point they take seriously enough to not spell out for the reader. They're after bigger fish than belief or disbelief. We'll be working out for a while exactly what they've netted, and this may be entirely the point.  — Brad J.

Staff Pick Logo
Over the Plain Houses Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9781938235214
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Hub City Press - May 1st, 2016

Julia Frank's debut novel is a haunting Southern story set in the North Carolina mountains in 1939. The USDA is sending agents into the mountains to instruct families on modernizing their homes and farms. Not surprisingly, when agent Virginia Furman arrives for Sunday service on Easter morning her enthusiastic presence is not well-received. At least not by anyone but the preacher's wife, Irenie Lambey. Irenie doesn't see an unwanted outsider, but rather a woman unescorted by a man. Irenie has taken to walking late at night in the woods in an attempt to find some space that she can claim as separate from her increasingly oppressive home life. She sees the hope of change and possibly a better life for her son in the presence of the outsider.

Julia has an exacting prose style and allows this dark drama to unfold slowly. Like most good Southern writers she treats geography as if it were a living breathing character that has its own history and demands that the characters must come to terms with. — Terry S.

Staff Pick Logo
Super Extra Grande Cover Image
By Yoss, David Frye (Translator)
ISBN: 9781632060563
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Restless Books - June 7th, 2016

The summary of this absurd book: a veterinarian to super-sized interstellar alien creatures is tasked with rescuing two ambassadors who have been swallowed by a massive amoeba. To make things more complicated, the two ambassadors also happen to be two ex-girlfriends. 

Now this is Yoss we’re talking about here: a Cuban sci-fi writer who burst onto the English-speaking market last year with the superb dark-comedy sci-fi, A Planet for Rent, so you can expect his trademark blend of outrageous imagination, R-rated humor, and fairly blatant social commentary. The exuberance and boisterousness he writes with (and indeed seems to live with -- he’s also a heavy metal rocker) does little to hide the withering criticisms he levels at government ineptitude, narrow-minded prejudices, and the hypocrisy of a lot of social norms. How wonderfully refreshing that there’s an author like Yoss, singing in metal bands and writing science fiction that refuses to hold anything sacred. Tip: keep a Spanish-English dictionary handy. — Chris P.

Staff Pick Logo
Collected Poems: 1950-2012 Cover Image
By Adrienne Rich, Claudia Rankine (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780393285116
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - click to see which location!
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 21st, 2016

Rich is a contemporary American classic -- she is accessible, experimental, direct, profound and funny. Her writing is as fine a poetry as exists, while at the same time being approachable. She is exploratory and caustic, a brilliant social critic, and a striking fantasist. Her imagination ranges widely and her intelligence is acute. I would recommend her to almost anyone who is willing to wrestle with the deep complexities of politics, identity, emotion, relationships, language, honesty, and truth. She is a force worth engaging and an excellent place to immerse yourself this summer. — John E.

Staff Pick Logo
The Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods Cover Image
By Erin Gleeson, Erin Gleeson (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781617690815
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Stewart, Tabori, & Chang - April 15th, 2014

We eat first with our eyes. Color, texture, pattern, and the plating of food all entice us even before the first bite. Erin Gleeson is an expert at combining these elements to create dishes that not only are stunning, but delicious. 

The ingredients and methods of preparation are simple, but the results will have your mouth watering. Curried Crispy Carrots shaved lengthwise are reminiscent of colorful ribbons, and the Watermelon Radish Salad is impossibly vibrant. Avocado Egg-in-a-Hole is a clever take on a classic dish, and the Polka-Dot Focaccia will bring a bit of whimsy to your table. 

This book is perfect for the budding home cook or for anyone who seeks new, colorful and interesting ways to prepare simple vegetarian dishes. — Cheryl R.

Vintage Camper Trailers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781423641889
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gibbs Smith - May 17th, 2016

This is a beautiful portrait of a beloved icon of the American landscape and people who cherish both the idea and the life it represents. Anyone wanting practical information about restoring or maintaining a camper trailer will find it here.  But it’s also one of those books you pick up to take a stroll back in time. That time is an era when the shiny, streamlined look was in, records were played on portable suitcase-shaped record players, and the bikes in favor were Schwinn Stingrays. The oversized book is full of beautiful full-color pictures. Together with the accompanying text, these pictures tell the stories of those who have made owning each of these vintage camper trailers a lifestyle choice. It’s a book for someone who owns a trailer, or wants to own one, or just wants to live the dream through a great book. -- Alan D.

Staff Pick Logo
Hour of the Bees Cover Image
ISBN: 9780763679224
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - March 8th, 2016

Twelve-year-old Carolina does not want to spend the summer at her grandfather's drought-parched sheep farm in New Mexico. But when her grandfather's stories seem to be both magical and true, she realizes that her heritage is more important to her than she would ever have guessed. An emotionally complex book, filled with magical imagery and a strong sense of family. -- Clare D.