The Best Book Covers of 2010

And now, leaving the Worst Covers in the past, let’s move forward into 2011 with some of our favorites from the year that was!

Cheryl in Brentwood
By Shuichi Yoshida




Grant in Oakland
Makeshift Metropolis
By Witold Rybczynski



John Evans
By Thomas Bernhard




John Peck in Oakland
Poem of the Pillow and Other Stories
By Gian Carlo Calza




Jon Stich in Oakland
Victore or, Who Died and Made You Boss?
By James Victore




Kim in Malibu
Where We Know
By David Rutledge



Madison in Malibu
Richard Yates
By Tao Lin




Miles in Malibu
The Instructions
By Adam Levin

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The Worst Book Covers of 2010

It’s a new year. Time to pause, reflect, and look back on the year that was. Specifically, what was up with some of 2010’s cover designs?

Here are our nominations for the worst of the worst. Please submit your own! The best (that is, the most eye-searingly terrible) submissions will receive our utmost admiration, and perhaps a guttural cry of fear.

Obama’s Wars
By Bob Woodward

Obama’s wars apparently involve an army of tiny photoshopped heads. The back cover is just as bad: a random assemblage of snapshots. Was this book designed by someone’s high school yearbook committee?

By Cornelia Funke

The Statue of Liberty is mad as hell, and she is not going to take it anymore.

Is It Just Me?
By Whoopi Goldberg

Sorry, Whoopi. It is just you.

The Demon’s Covenant
By Sarah Rees Brennan

“All right, so cut out a photo of one of Shakira’s backup dancers, then put her in a circle of blue cellophane like the stuff that came on that sweet gift basket I got from Bath and Body Works. And you’re done! No? Okay, add some rocks or something.”

Canterwood Crest: Scandals, Rumors, Lies
By Jessica Burkhart

All the girls who were mean to you in junior high, all in one place! With bonus riding crops.

By Sebastian Junger

“Hi, I’m Sebastian Junger, and this book is about ME.”

Boy Racer
By Mark Cavendish

Well, whatever other faults it might have, we certainly can’t claim it’s not in-your-face.

Cool Colleges 101
By Peterson’s

From James Dean to this: the decline of cool.

Here’s the Situation
By Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino

Please. When Benjamin Franklin exposed his nipple on the cover of his autobiography, it was so much more cutting edge.

Be sure to check back later this week when we’ll reveal our favorite covers of 2010!


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Diesel and Google Partner For New eBook Program

Diesel customers (a.k.a., you) no longer have to choose between reading digital and supporting your local bookstore – Diesel is now selling Google eBooks™ online at our website. Yesterday, Google launched its ebook program, and is partnering with Diesel and other indie bookstores so we can provide an easy way to discover, read, and buy ebooks at competitive prices.

A Google eBook is a new form of cloud-based digital book that allows readers to access their libraries on almost any device from one single repository, regardless of where the ebook was purchased. Google is offering hundreds of thousands of titles for sale, ranging from new releases and bestsellers in every category to classics in the public domain.

Google eBooks work with myriad devices — tablets, smartphones, computers; basically, everything but the Kindle. This means that any eBook you purchase from the Diesel site can, for example, be read first on a home computer, then on a mobile device, then during lunch on your office computer while enjoying a delicious plate of green eggs and ham.

In addition to ebooks, you can, as always, search through a database of five million titles of print books at, peruse staff picks, bestsellers, videos, and upcoming events. So come hang out with us, 21st Century digital-style.

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3 Quick Questions With Nicole Krauss

Nicole Krauss is the bestselling author of The History of Love and, most recently, Great House. She stopped by to tell us some of the things she thinks are great.

Presenting Nicole Krauss’…

Favorite Book

The Loser by Thomas Bernhard

Favorite Movie

Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Mirror

Favorite Music

Laurie Anderson’s new album, Homeland

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99 vs. 1

Anna in Brentwood reports:

Which is more likely to make you want to read—and/or give you an overall impression of—a book: its first line, as celebrated by the American Book Review, or its 99th page, as suggested by Ford Madox Ford, and recently covered by The Guardian and this blog?

I don’t know the answer to this question, but it is interesting to compare the first line and (short, as it also contains the wonderful illustration below) 99th page of one of my favorites from the American Book Review’s list, C.S. LewisThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

First line:
There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

99th page:

Caspian would never have sailed away and left him. And he felt sure that somehow or other he would be able to make people understand who he was.

He took a long drink and then (I know this sounds shocking, but it isn’t if you think it over) he ate nearly all the dead dragon. He was halfway through it before he realized what he was doing; for, you see, though his mind was the mind of Eustace, his tastes and his digestion were dragonish.

Personally, I want to read (and reread!) both of those books. Also, Eustace is still my favorite, as he has been ever since I first made his acquaintance thanks to Lewis’ wonderful and unforgettable introduction. Perhaps the truth is that, like Narnia, it doesn’t matter how you stumble into a book, so long as you get there in the end.

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On Our Nightstand, October 5th-11th

Here’s what we’re reading this week at Diesel!

Anna in Brentwood
Half Empty
By David Rakoff
As in his previous collection–Don’t Get Too Comfortable, one of my favorite books of essays ever–the pieces in this book delve into a vast array of subjects with Rakoff’s perversely reassuring pessimism.

Grant in Oakland
Zero Decibels: The Quest for Absolute Silence
By George Michelsen Foy
A personal journey through one of the noisiest places on earth – New York City – and its opposites – a snowy forest, an underground mine, an anechoic chamber – in search of absolute silence and what that means.

John Evans
Introduction to Sufism: The Inner Path of Islam
By Eric Geoffroy
Why not take a good look at the heart of Islam and its messages of universal tolerance, love, and peace? I can’t think of a reason.

John Peck in Oakland
The Scott Pilgrim Series
By Bryan Lee O’Malley
Little graphic novels that somehow manage to be simultaneously escapist and true-to-life.

Miles in Malibu
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work
By Alain de Botton
The world is full of man-made things. Every day, we use, eat, see, buy, and sell man-made things. But who are these “men,” and how does “making” “things” affect their lives and the lives around them? De Botton’s meditation on labor and laborers paints a portrait of the faceless manufacturers of our everyday commodities.

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Born to Win!

Just another example of how reading can help you get ahead: Liz Arney, one of our Oakland customers, submitted a snap of her two kids wearing Diesel’s Born to Read shirts to a San Francisco Chronicle back-to-school photo contest—and won! Please bask with us in our secondhand sense of accomplishment—and/or in the extreme cuteness!

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3 Quick Questions With Cornelia Funke

Cornelia Funke is the author of the modern kids’ classics Inkheart, Dragon Rider, and—most recently—Reckless. In that spirit, she threw caution to the wind and told us some of her favorite things!

Presenting Cornelia Funke’s…

Favorite Book
The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Favorite Movie
The Year of Living Dangerously

Favorite Music
Franz von Schubert’s Winterreise

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3 Quick Questions With Tom McCarthy

This week, we were lucky enough to have Tom McCarthy stop by and sign copies of his Booker Prize shortlisted novel C (come and get them while they last!). While he was here, he was nice enough to answer our three quick questions. We give him an A+!

Presenting Tom McCarthy’s…

Favorite Book
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Favorite Movie
Wild at Heart

Favorite Music
The Velvet Underground

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On Our Nightstand, September 21st-27th

Here’s what we’re reading this week at Diesel!

Anna in Brentwood
Earth (The Book)
By Jon Stewart, et. al.
Written in the style of a guidebook for all the alien species who may have discovered our planet after we’ve destroyed ourselves, the followup to America (The Book) is hilarious…and just a little bit sad. But focusing on the hilarity–my favorite bit so far may be this description of Saturn: “God liked this planet. So he put a ring on it.”

Cameron in Malibu
By Ryszard Kapuscinski
Infamous Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski records his encounters with the Soviet Empire in this series of essays. Beginning with his father’s disappearance in Belarus, Kapuscinski describes the peculiarities of Central Asian satellite republics and the eventual fall of Soviet Russia.

Geo in Brentwood
Henry and June
By Anais Nin
A rather intimate (understatement?) look into Nin’s diaries reveals a provocative and racy account of sex, literature, and psychoanalysis.

Jon Stich in Oakland
Strange As This Weather Has Been
By Ann Pancake
Set in the West Virginia mountains, this novel details how the mining industry has helped to create unnatural disasters whose effects are described through a cast of characters. It reminds me a lot of Timothy Egan‘s The Worst Hard Time, writing and subject wise.

Thomas in Brentwood
Selected Poems
By Paul Verlaine
Un coup de pied au cul.
Une gifle dans le visage.
Un brise dans le coeur.

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