May 2014


Dear Reader,

Local California independent bookstores have taken a page from National Record Store Day by inaugurating the FIRST EVER CALIFORNIA BOOKSTORE DAY -- MAY 3RD 2014! At DIESEL we will have Fun, Games & Prizes! We have unique, limited edition, literary creations produced by authors and publishers specifically for this one day! They will be on sale for ONE DAY ONLY! What day? California Bookstore Day -- Saturday, May 3rd, 2014! T-shirts, bags, bookmarks, and: Unique Creations by George Saunders, Dave Eggers, Wendy MacNaughton, Lisa Brown, and Neil Gaiman, among others! While supplies last!

It's a PARTY! We are Celebrating our local, independent, passionate bookstore with our bookloving booksellers and readers. It's a lovefest, a joyful and playful party, and an opportunity to get works created just for us, available for one special day! The authors and publishers know the value of indies in their creative lives and for their creative works -- we all do! So, come out and have fun and celebrate with us! When? Saturday, May 3rd -- ALL DAY! Where? DIESEL of course!

See You Here!
John & all Dieselfolk

Staff Pick Logo
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616203214
Availability: Backordered
Published: Algonquin Books - April 1st, 2014

A book for book people and for people who love a good story. When you step off the ferry from Hyannis to Alice Island, the third shop you encounter is Island Books. A.J. owns the bookstore and lives in the apartment above it, so his life is all about books. But his life is miserable. Bad luck and changing times work against a man who's stuck in the past. Then events he could never imagine pull him back into the world again. An enjoyable and satisfying story. -- Alan Dishman

Staff Pick Logo
Trapped Under the Sea: One Engineering Marvel, Five Men, and a Disaster Ten Miles Into the Darkness Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307886729
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - February 18th, 2014

A true-life adventure that reads like a thriller. Five men went into a 10-mile-long tunnel hundreds of feet under the ocean to fix the Boston Harbor water treatment system. Not all came out alive. Trapped Under the Sea is a fascinating account of bravery and camaraderie. What went right. What went wrong. Why no one was accountable. You will not be able to put this one down. A Perfect Storm meets Shadow Divers. -- Riley

Staff Pick Logo
The Discovery of Middle Earth: Mapping the Lost World of the Celts Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393081633
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 4th, 2013

Some might argue that Western culture must be shaken to its roots. So much of what we learn is merely new facts laid on the orderly grid of what we know, or think we know. Graham Robb, author of the bestselling The Parisians and The Discovery of France, is working the roots.

The Discovery of Middle Earth is his intensive investigation of the organization of the pre-Roman Celtic world. His brilliant revelations and enticing narrative style make this history a mystery thriller. You won't look at European, American, nor world history the same way after reading this.

Whether it is the Pythagorean basis of Celtic and Druidic celestial surveying, establishing rhumb lines for navigation by sea and winter and summer solstice lines for roads and towns; or acoustic surveying for constructing those roads; or networks of communication moving at 37 mph, not to be matched until the telegraph in the 19th century -- the mind-bending achievements of these mysterious occupants from the 5th century B.C.-on are brought to life through meticulous scholarship and culling of the classic canon. Supplemented by the latest archaeological research, Robb reconstructs the deeply connected world of these varied tribes, beginning in Gaul where most of the ideas, principles, and practices are established and taking us through the Roman conquest where much was destroyed.

The last third of the book takes us to Britain and Ireland, attempting to discover if the Druidic culture, with its wood buildings and no written records, can be discovered in the patterns of occupancy, ritual observance, and in the shadows of mathematically precise cultural landscapes. And how would it relate to the Celtic stories and legends we are familiar with from the Prettanike, the Poetic Isles? History as high adventure, astonishment, and mystery, this work establishes old roads abandoned, and what's been lost in the paths forsaken. -- John Evans

Staff Pick Logo
Seiobo There Below (Ndp; 1280) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780811219679
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - September 24th, 2013

László Krasznahorkai's most recent book is, by leaps and bounds, the best novel I read in 2013. It was so good, I intend on reading it again this year. Krasznahorkai is half-hypnotist and half-sorcerer, and he pulls off audacious, seemingly pretentious maneuvers like 20-page sentences in such a way that you quickly lose sight of the audacity and find yourself instead wherever he damn well wants you. In some chapters, this means you're struck dumb; others, smiling ruefully; and still others, close to tears for reasons you can't quite articulate. "What's it about, though, Brad?" you're wondering. Neither a straightforward, plot-driven novel, nor a short story collection, it's maybe best to think of Seiobo There Below as a collection of moments -- set in places as far-flung as a Buddhist monastery in Japan to the medieval workshops and modern-day museums of Italy to the mysterious fortress/palace Alhambra. In each, Krasznahorkai reflects on the possibility of beauty existing in a world seemingly unfit for it, and what it means when we get a glimpse. Seiobo There Below repeatedly rehearses precisely how this looks, and I could not look away. The adventurous reader will be challenged and rewarded. -- Brad Johnson

Staff Pick Logo
Making Art a Practice: How to Be the Artist You Are Cover Image
ISBN: 9781844096077
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Findhorn Press - June 12th, 2013

More of an inspiration guide than a "how to" guide, this is something for anyone with creative passion who wants to further their exploration into the wonderful world of art and more importantly define him or herself as an artist. This is a hands-on and experimental action book designed to inspire the reader to create, as well as explore a wide variety of artistic possibilities. -- Avery Albert

Staff Pick Logo
Tupelo Honey Cafe: New Southern Flavors from the Blue Ridge Mountains Cover Image
ISBN: 9781449446147
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Andrews McMeel Publishing - April 1st, 2014

Just plain fun! Cast your eyes over the table of contents and you're suddenly sitting on a porch in a rocking chair, hollerin' and wavin' to the good folks passin' by and inviting them up for an Ode to Muddy Pond cocktail. Yes, folks, a whole first chapter dedicated to adult beverages. But let's not stop there. The photographs are so inviting I could almost move right into the pages and the recipes are just good ole southern satisfaction. The Frogmore Stew (which contains zero frogs) is great for a summer gathering, chock full of corn on the cob, shrimp, and all the yummy things that go into South Carolinian hospitality. Also not to be missed and perhaps to be dreamed about is the Acorn Squash Stuffed with Bacon Bread Pudding. -- Christine Longmuir

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The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385753784
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - April 8th, 2014

Selwyn Academy is an arts school where the pupils excel in dance, drama, art, and music. Some of those pupils are stars of a reality TV show called For Art's Sake which is filmed at the school. Our hero Ethan is a mediocre trumpet player and has no confidence in himself or his ability to draw. He is not one of the reality TV stars and neither are any of his small group of friends. An English class on Ezra Pound incites Ethan and his friends to a secret rebellion against the administration and the TV production company which may or may not be controlling them. This all seems like an unlikely set of circumstances, yet the characters really hold it together. There's a great mix of different outlooks from this group of friends which underpins the theme of the perception of reality. A theme which works so well, in fact, that the three different beginnings and three different endings all make perfect sense. I really enjoyed this book -- a youthful stirring of dissent makes a refreshing change from kids trying to survive in alternate worlds or kids battling apathy in this one. -- Clare Doornbos