October 2014

Dear Reader,We celebrated our ten years in Malibu with Garrison Keillor and Tom Robbins events at our store one month before we closed. It was a beautiful way to end a decade as Malibu's booksellers. Out-of-sight real estate costs and local frustration over increasingly inappropriate high-end retail leasing conspired to make maintaining a bookstore in Malibu impossible. It was a sad, poignant, and telling conclusion to a much-loved but overwhelmed community bookstore.Our Brentwood store is going strong, now in its sixth year and our Larkspur is getting its sea legs underneath it. Our original Oakland store just celebrated its 25 years with a big party all last weekend long! Our booksellers and our customers are keeping up the vital conversation that is essential to a dynamic cultural life and a vivid civil society. Something bookstores embody every day.We have begun something which for us was rather unexpected. In order to go another 25 years, our Oakland store needs an upgrade. We need to move up to the latest computer inventory system (ours is from the '80's, concurrent DOS). We need to refurbish the casework, increase our events schedule, enhance our inventory, refresh our sound system (did you know that at least once a month there is live music at DIESEL? We are asking for a community investment in another 25 years of DIESEL on College Avenue in Oakland.We have begun an Indiegogo Campaign, which lasts from September 25 to October 25, so we can celebrate the past 25 years and continue for another 25! Whether you decide to help us out with a donation (which gets you a choice of all kinds of cool rewards, by the way) or whether you continue to keep us going by coming in the store and talking about and buying books, or making all of your online book and ebook purchases on our website -- we want to thank you for supporting the fragile ecology of free speech independent bookstores help to maintain.  In particular, thanks for the conversations, the community, and all the book buying you've done to keep us going all these years.We love what we do and we love doing it with you. Here's to another generation of booklove at DIESEL! See you in the store.John & all DIESELfolk

Staff Pick Logo
Wolf in White Van: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374292089
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 16th, 2014

Wolf in White Van is one of the most weirdly seductive novels I've ever read. At times it put me into a near trance-like state. The book is a nostalgia trip, but one that acknowledges that many of us are nostalgic for a childhood that didn't really exist, or maybe simply for the way we were able to lose ourselves in stories as children. I wandered through this novel like I would through a suburban wasteland, dreamlike, sunbaked. I felt ensorcelled. The story unfurls, revealing its mysteries a little at a time but never providing solid answers. It felt a little like one of Darnielle's wonderfully narrative Mountain Goats songs stretched to 200 pages -- but in the best possible way. I could hear the melancholic melody in the spaces between the prose. -- Anna Kaufman

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Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of the Great Gatsby Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594204746
Availability: Special Order - Please call to confirm availability
Published: Penguin Press - January 23rd, 2014

Abounding with wit and insight, historical and biographical information, this coruscating anatomy of the writing of a great American novel is spellbinding in itself. Sarah Churchwell not only gained access to the diaries of many of F. Scott Fitzgerald's writer friends, including Ring Lardner, H.L. Mencken, Edmund Wilson Jr., John Dos Passos and, of course, Zelda (one wonders how they could drink so regularly and write a darned thing), but she took note of Jazz Age nightclubs, traffic laws, fashion, parties, football games and roadside signs (many reproduced in this book). She also fine-tooth-combed newspapers the author would have been reading. As it happened, a lurid double-murder had taken place in New Jersey. The bodies of a man and a woman, each married to someone else, were found artfully arranged in a public park. The police made a hash of their investigation and the papers ran riot.  In short - very short - Ms. Churchwell demonstrates how Fitzgerald absorbed all these particulars and used them in his glorious creation. Even the most casual reader will be amazed. -- Diane Leslie

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California: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316250818
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Little, Brown and Company - July 8th, 2014

In her stunning debut novel, Edan Lepucki shows us a terrifyingly believable image of the future. It is one, too, quite different from that imagined by its protagonists, Carl and Frida. As they struggle to survive alone in the California wilderness, two things happen that change everything: Frida discovers she's pregnant, and they become aware of an isolated community of people living not far away from them.When Carl and Frida set out into the unknown hoping to join these people, what they find gives them both a sense of security and the realization that nothing is as it seems.  Can they trust this community with its hidden secrets?  How far will they go to protect one another and the life of their unborn child?Lepucki's exploration of these questions makes California a gripping and powerful read. -- Linda Grana

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Laidlaw Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609452018
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - June 3rd, 2014

"If you can write one of these a year you will become a millionaire." This was the career advice given William McIlvanney back in the '70s as he wrote the Scottish noir (now dubbed "Tartan noir") trilogy that would become his masterpiece. Of course, what would any right-thinking Scotsman do with such advice? Why, set aside mystery writing and become a poet, of course! Long hailed, by the likes of Ian Rankin, as an underground classic, Laidlaw is poised now to reclaim its masterpiece status. 'Literary mystery' does it no justice, so let's just call it this: flat out amazing. --Brad Johnson  

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Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451621389
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 6th, 2013

Susannah Cahalan is a young, up-and-coming reporter with the New York Post when she is suddenly struck with a deep panic: she's convinced her boyfriend is cheating on her. The left side of her body is going numb. She's hit by bouts of horrible nausea and seizures, and her mental state violently shifts from euphoric to depressive. Doctors shrugged it off as a young girl who partied too hard and worked too much, and it was months and months before she got an actual diagnosis. This is an astonishingly brave book. -- Maria Jennings

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Philographics: Big Ideas in Simple Shapes Cover Image
By Genis Carreras (Created by)
ISBN: 9789063693411
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bis Publishers - March 11th, 2014

Philosophy + Graphics = Philographics. This gorgeous book presents ninety-five philosophical ideas, each given two pages. The page on the left side is a description of the idea in words. The one on the right side is a graphic representation of the idea using simple shapes and colors. It is a clean and uniform presentation that can be enjoyed by both students of philosophy and graphic designers. A unique little book. -- Alan Dishman

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The League of Seven Cover Image
By Alan Gratz, Brett Helquist (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780765338228
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Starscape Books - August 19th, 2014

Electricity can be dangerous stuff, particularly if you live in an alternate universe where the use of electricity allows monsters called Mangleborn to rise from their underground prisons. The original League of Seven were great, legendary heroes who trapped the monsters, but when Archie Dent's parents become mind-controlled by newly escaped Mangleborn, he has to be a hero to protect himself, his new friends and his parents.The League of Seven is set in a great steampunk world, with wonderful clockwork robots and airships. But what really makes this adventure stand out are the set pieces, like the mob attack on the girls' school (which ends spectacularly badly for the mob). There's a real sense of victory every time Archie and his friends overcome another obstacle. But are they the new League of Seven? How can they be if there's only three of them? Special extra points go to this book for a cameo from Nikola Tesla, who is always entertaining. -- Clare Doornbos