May 2016

Hope you enjoy the reviews below, by DIESEL booksellers who are available daily at the store -- come on by!

In celebration of May Day this toast, from Gary Snyder

"Let's drink a toast to all those farmers, workers, artists and intellectuals of the last 100 years who without thought of fame and profit . . . worked tirelessly in their dream of a worldwide socialist revolution, who believed and hoped that a new world was dawning and that their work would contribute to a society where one class does not exploit another, where one ethnic group or one nation does not try to expand itself over another, and where men and women live as equals.  The people who nourished these hopes and dreams were sometimes foolishly blind to the opportunism of their own leadership, and many were led to ideological absurdities, but the great majority of them selflessly worked for socialism with the best of hearts. . . .  The failure of socialism is the tragedy of the 20th century and . . . we should honor the memory of those who struggled for the dream of what socialism might have been.  And begin a new way again." -- Gary Snyder, "May Day Toast to the Workers of the World" [2000]

Happy May Day!
John & all DIESELfolk

Staff Pick Logo
Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316386531
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Lee Boudreaux Books - January 12th, 2016

Set against the backdrop of the 1999 Seattle WTO protests, Sunil Yapa's novel artfully depicts the experience of seven interwoven characters whose lives converge and implode on one violent, chaotic day. The most conservative estimates place the crowd at the 1999 Seattle WTO protest, also known as "The Battle for Seattle," at a staggering 40,000 people. The carefully negotiated peace between the Seattle police department and protest organizers completely unraveled on the front lines amid a reactionary police force, as well as competing goals and strategies among protesters. Yapa takes time to develop his characters prior to the first lobbed canister of teargas. Indeed chapter after short, staccato chapter go by before that first canister spins in the air and the protesters and police brace for what comes next. He captures that moment better than any other author I've read.The book's perspective continues to rotate through each character as they reevaluate what it is that has brought them to that critical point. — Terry S.

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The Door (Nyrb Classics) Cover Image
By Magda Szabo, Len Rix (Translator), Ali Smith (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781590177716
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - click to see which location!
Published: New York Review of Books - January 27th, 2015

One of the finest novels I've read in a long time,  Magda Szabó's The Door captivates. Her use of language and myth (translated from Hungarian) elevate and transport. I looked forward to this book like seeing or spending time with a dear friend. It made the New York Times Top 10 books of 2015, a nod fully and richly deserved. -- Mia W.

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Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape Cover Image
ISBN: 9781619025738
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Counterpoint LLC - November 10th, 2015

Add this to the extraordinary list of creative memoirs by writers such as Annie Dillard, Terry Tempest Williams, Rebecca Solnit and Eula Biss. Geologist Savoy plumbs the depths of  American cultural landscapes in search of her place -- on this continent, in its history, of her family. Born in California and growing up on the East Coast, profoundly marked by the Grand Canyon, and subtly formed by the currents of race relations, the histories of the colonizing of the country, and the strains of Indian survivance and black slavery, she has written into, through, and out of her mixed-race background toward an engaged identity with the cultural geography that is hers. A beautifully written, enlightening journey which reveals so many of the historical particulars of our evolutions as a place and a people, this is a great and remarkable book for anyone, of any race, interested in family, ancestors, American culture, and how we each have come to be where and who we are.  -- John E.

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Eyes Full of Empty Cover Image
By Jeremie Guez, Edward Gauvin (Translator)
ISBN: 9781939419439
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Unnamed Press - November 17th, 2015

This unusual Parisian noir is as gritty and relentless as you would expect from the genre. But what makes Eyes Full of Empty stand out is Idir, the amateur private eye tasked with finding the missing son of a media mogul. Idir is a constant outsider. As the son of an immigrant he’ll never be French enough for his friends; yet neither Algerian enough for his parents. For the elite, his background makes him a useful tie to the criminal underworld, but on the streets he barely ranks on the totem pole. He inhabits a liminal zone, cruising through the levels of Parisian society with the ease of someone who, because he doesn’t fit anywhere, is somehow free to go everywhere. Which he certainly does: from the upscale Parisian apartments of the rich, to the dive bars of the immigrant districts; from Bohemian college pads to hinterland farms. In his pursuit of the truth, Idir respects no boundary. He is intent on proving that he does have a place in this world, even if it means carving it out himself.   -- Chris P.

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The Widow Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101990261
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley Books - February 16th, 2016

In this psychological mystery there are more victims than the one fatality. Jean Taylor, wife of the major suspect, Glen, torments herself wondering if she married a murderer. The London detective-inspector also obsesses over the case. He’s positive Glen is guilty but, lacking a body, can’t prove it. His long-suffering wife has to live with his idée fixe

Since the dead girl’s mother is positive her daughter is still alive, she launches a brilliant campaign to find her child, becoming a constant staple of print and TV. One shrewd reporter realizes Jean is the key to her husband’s crime and tries to befriend her. Jean’s original denial, slow and jagged recognition of what has occurred and her resultant action are fascinating to behold. -- Diane L.

Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries with Harriet Vane) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062196200
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Paperbacks - October 16th, 2012

If there are any better mysteries than Sayers's Lord Peter novels, I've never found them. Wit, excitement, challenging puzzles, and crisp, precise language that's a joy to read.

Strong Poison isn't the first book to feature Lord Peter Wimsey (that would be Whose Body?) or the best (arguably Murder Must Advertise), but I feel that it's nonetheless a very good place to start. Among other things, this is the book which introduces Harriet Vane, the great love of Lord Peter's life. -- Alex M. 

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The Vintage Showroom: An Archive of Menswear Cover Image
By Douglas Gunn, Roy Luckett, Nic Shonfeld (Photographer)
ISBN: 9781780676210
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Laurence King - December 22nd, 2015

Make no mistake: I'm a not a fashionista. I used to wear a nice pair of shoes at work, until they made my feet hurt. Back to sneakers, I ran. During the fall, I break out sweaters that were, when purchased ages ago, quite fetching. I'm told my style is -- and until very recently, I thought my friend had made up this term -- "normcore." (Yes, we've reached this point in history, with a heaving sigh.) I tell you this to throat-clear my way to the following declaration: I am obsessed with this book. Not to say I can necessarily see myself wearing much that's in it. A certain Teutonic-style of jackboots & leather jackets have been ruined by 20th-century military history. Probably, though, the comfy sleeping-bag jumpsuit. Can't visualize it? Ah, that's where the exquisite close-up photography comes into play, with sharp details on the intricacies of stitching. I'm not exaggerating when I say these clothes are historical documents -- worn with time if not by you.  -- Brad J.

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Beetle Boy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545853460
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Chicken House - February 23rd, 2016

Darkus Cuttle's father is missing. He disappeared from a locked room in the basement of the museum where he was studying the insect collection. Darkus moves in with his uncle, where he has to make new friends and get used to some very strange neighbors. But he refuses to believe that his father is dead. When Darkus is befriended by a highly intelligent and supersized beetle, his uncle is not too surprised and Darkus learns some surprising things about his father while he follows the clues to find him.

This is a thrilling adventure story for ages 8-10. It is packed with steadfast friends, imaginative adults, mad scientists and lots and lots of bugs. It's particularly satisfying to see the strengthening friendships build between a mismatched group of kids, even while Darkus still believes that Baxter the Beetle is his only friend. -- Clare D.