September 2008


Hi All,

School season has come round: learn, learn, learn. Whether you need books for classes or for your own edification, we are providing them, individually and in class quantities. Please let us know if there are any books that you need: we are swift and gracious with our special orders. As you know, we are interested in supporting the communities we serve in numerous ways. We are about to open a new store in southern California, in Brentwood! We are hoping to open within the next couple of weeks and are having our first event there, with none other than Alan Alda: Wednesday, September 17th, at 7pm. We feel lucky to provide the writing each of you need, for yourselves, your families, and your communities. And with September ending in Banned Books Week, it seems appropriate to thank you all again for supporting independent bookstores such as ours, which help to sustain the fragile ecology of free speech.

John & all Dieselfolk


Staff Pick Logo
Hope Is An Open Heart Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545037372
Availability: Special Order - Please call to confirm availability
Published: Scholastic Press - September 1st, 2008

Hope is a complex word, malleable enough to fit any context. As the word forms on our lips it can convey optimism, sorrow, fear, courage, imagination. Lauren Thompson has taken this small word and created a picture book for children that pushes way beyond material desires and magical thinking. The photographs alone, with their National Geographic caliber beauty, reveal their own stories and invite adult and child into conversation. There is richness here, with phrases like "Hope is sad tears flowing, making room for joy," and "Hope is angry words bursting, making room for understanding." Too, there is an opportunity to help young children move from a literal world view to a deeper knowledge of what makes us human. Some might argue this is too tall an order developmentally for young children, but if the small group of 4 to 7 year olds I shared this with is any example, you'd be utterly amazed at what little philosophers and theologians they can be. -- Margaret

Staff Pick Logo
Unarmed Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Cover Image
By Masaaki Hatsumi, Mizuho Kuwata (Photographer), Minoru Hirata (Photographer)
ISBN: 9784770030597
Availability: Special Order - Please call to confirm availability
Published: Kodansha - July 1st, 2008

Some have called Hatsumi Masaaki Soke the last living ninja grandmaster. He is the head of the Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu organization and if this book is at all accurate, the above claim is probably true. In-and-of-itself, this is a good reason to take this book home, but let's admit it: not all of us plan on becoming ninjas. However, this beautifully designed book is full of gorgeous illustrations and dynamic photos that will please any martial arts aficionado, and the history and philosophy will rivet those interested in the history of samurai ethics and Japanese warfare. Beyond the many reproductions of scrolls and art (some dating back hundred of years), Unarmed Fighting Techniques of the Samurai's ideas and thoughts are contemporary, wise, and illuminating. -- Trevor

Staff Pick Logo
The Looking Glass Wars Cover Image
ISBN: 9780142409411
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Speak - August 21st, 2007

This darkly imaginative retelling of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland turns everything you think you know about Alice on its head! The Kingdom of Wonderland is founded upon the power of Imagination. As the root of creation itself, Imagination is used to build cities, fill bellies, and put the "wonder" in Wonderland. On Princess Alyss Hart's birthday, her wicked Aunt Redd attacks the celebration and assumes the throne of Wonderland. Alone in the real world, Alyss is given cause to doubt her power of Imagination, as it is diminished and nearly dormant and her time within Wonderland relegated to hazy memories. It is up to Hatter Madigan, Alyss' chosen protector, to rescue her from the real world and bring her back to Wonderland where she must recover her Imagination and retake the Hart throne as its rightful heir! -- Joey

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No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312421434
Availability: Special Order - Please call to confirm availability
Published: Picador - April 1st, 2002

If you have ever wanted to truly understand the stranglehold that corporate money has on the American public, you must read No Logo. Exhaustively researched and mercifully accessible, Naomi Klein's scathing review of advertising, and the slippery slope of what we have complacently allowed to be seen as acceptable, is scintillating. Like Pacman, Klein explains, advertisements consume space regardless of tackiness or taste, such as advertisements behind home plate (a joke in the in the early 90s movie Major League, now a reality). The point is for the brand to be seen, which is why companies like Nike and Coke spend the vast majority of their money on the ad, and the least amount making the actual product. This is easily one of my favorite works of nonfiction, and even though it was published in 2000, the material is not at all dated. Just Do It! -- Jon

Staff Pick Logo
Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781590200551
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Overlook Press - July 1st, 2008

Soccer is indeed a beautiful game. And few played it more beautifully than the famous Dutch teams of the early 70's, with their full-field attack and charismatic players like Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens. But, as David Winner is quick to point out, there is something a bit odd about the Dutch. Their quirky style stems from their peculiar way of seeing the world, evident in their art, politics, history, precise landscape, and yes, their football. A wonderful meditation on all things Dutch and their gift to the game we love! -- Colin

Staff Pick Logo
Anathem Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061474095
Availability: Special Order - Please call to confirm availability
Published: William Morrow - September 9th, 2008

This is absolutely the best book that Neal Stephenson has written yet, and had me completely engaged from cover to cover. Quite frankly, I am terrified of how smart this man is. Anathem assaults you with complicated philosophical, mathematical, and scientific concepts at every twist and turn, but it never feels out of place or too difficult to follow. I wish that my textbooks could have been so engaging. If you're not afraid to flex your brain and learn some new stuff while being in the middle of a top-notch adventure story, you owe it to yourself to read this one. Anathem takes place far in the future of an Earth-like planet and is the first person account of Fraa Erasmas, or Raz to his friends, who is a young monk living within a monastery completely dedicated to the pursuit of higher thought. Tragedies far in the past require that the monks stay completely sequestered from the rest of the outside world. However, the world's leaders find themselves in a crisis that only the brilliant minds of Erasmas and his colleagues can solve, and one by one, Raz and his friends are summoned forth from the monastery and into service to save the world. -- Joey

Staff Pick Logo
Walking Through Walls: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416542940
Availability: Special Order - Please call to confirm availability
Published: Atria Books - September 16th, 2008

Like all the kids in 1950's redneck Miami, Philip Smith just wanted to be normal. And he would have been - were it not for his father, a renowned interior decorator to Caribbean dictators and other rich people, and his mother, a celebrity-loving Jewish socialite. But when his father, Lew, begins talking with spirits who instruct him in the ways of spiritual healing, things really begin to get strange. Suddenly his father can not only heal people with the wave of a hand, but knows everything Philip is doing. Everything. Now he's really got problems. Walking Through Walls is a coming-of-age memoir like no other that will make you laugh out loud as it blows your mind. Don't miss it. -- Colin

Staff Pick Logo
Bridge of Sighs (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400030903
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - August 12th, 2008

Louis Charles Lynch makes the mistake on the first day of school of answering present when the teacher reads his name as Lou C. To describe him as shy and picked upon is mild. One day when his only friend Bobby Marconi is not there to walk him safely passed the rough crowd of neighborhood bullies, things get out of hand and Lucy life is changed forever. Janet Maslin wrote in the NYT review of the hardcover, "much of Bridge of Sighs concerns itself with oddball details, from petty rivalries between the Lynch and Marconi families to the Lynch in-house dispute about how to run a convenience store. But in the midst of these small matters, the big contours of Bridge of Sighs emerge. They are richly evocative and beautifully wrought, delivered with deceptive ease. Another of Mr. Russo's hallmarks is that wonderfully unfashionable gift for effortless storytelling on a sweeping, multigenerational scale." A great melancholy masterpiece. -- Anita

Staff Pick Logo
Hurry Down Sunshine Cover Image
ISBN: 9781590511916
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Other Press (NY) - September 9th, 2008

A moving portrait of one family's trials with the sudden shock of a child's mental illness, Hurry Down Sunshine unfolds with great sensitivity, clarity, and self-reflection. Looking back on the months following his daughter's psychic break, Greenberg articulates, with literary grace and emotional honesty, the varied challenges and responses made by his family and himself. Appreciating the visionary insights and harrowing ravages of his daughter's state, Greenberg's openness, self-questioning and compassion make this one of the finest, and most useful, memoirs of the year. -- John