John Evans reports:
Last week we had one of our most intense author luncheons ever: Anchee Min. Her new book, Pearl of China, is a novel about the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author and activist Pearl S. Buck. It is the latest in a line of seven wonderful, fascinating books by her, from Red Azalea to Becoming Madame Mao.
The luncheon, which was Min’s first event on the six-week tour for this book, was at Chez Mimi, across the street from our bookstore in Brentwood. Min was like a lightning bolt, powerfully weaving story after story about growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution, working in a labor camp, emigrating to the U.S., raising her daughter. She delved into the history of China under Mao, feminism in China and the U.S., being an American mother, and wanting to be a martyr as a teenager. She brought so much passion, intensity, and fierce storytelling to her talk that we were totally enthralled. She finished it off with a brief performance of Chinese Opera that was brilliantly accomplished. Our only regret was that more people didn’t get to see her. Afterward, in the store, we quickly asked her what her favorite author, music, and film were, before she whizzed off to her next event at the library that night.
Perhaps our next poetry selection will become one of your favorites. Here’s Grant from Oakland reading Georg Trakl‘s “Destruction”:
Check out the full archive of poetry videos here!
John Peck in Oakland reports:
Beeswax Magazine is an annual literary journal published in Oakland, California, that features prose, poetry, visual art, and comics from new and established contributors. The editors (myself and my wife, Laureen Mahler) come from an eclectic background of printmaking, music, and writing, and the foremost goal in producing the journal is to create a medium that approaches writing and art in a whole new way–a book structure that contextualizes the work within and becomes an art object of its own. Each issue of Beeswax is hand-crafted and unique, and each incorporates different book arts elements, from letterpress and typesetting to printed lino cuts and hand-sewn bindings. Check out this article about Volta Press and Beeswax Magazine, as well as this recent interview. And come see us tomorrow at the Oakland store where we’ll be hosting a reading and release party for the newest issue: a build-it-yourself book complete with letterpressed cover, interior signature, binding thread, and instructions.
Skynet may eventually bring about the destruction of humanity and loose an army of Arnold Schwarzenegger- and Summer Glau-lookalike robots over the face of the Earth…but will those robotic killing machines be able to relax with a good book? New Scientist‘s CultureLab has a fun interview with Jon Adams, a researcher at the London School of Economics who’s investigating whether computers can read and interpret literature. It may be reassuring to know that as of yet, robots have neither emotions nor a good grasp on symbolism, and thus will not be passing English 101.
If you’re still suffering from future fear, bioengineers and authors Kyle Kurpinski and Terry D. Johnson will be offering advice from their new book, How to Defeat Your Own Clone: And Other Tips For Surviving the Biotech Revolution at 3 p.m. this Sunday at our Oakland store.
Chris Cleave will be signing copies of his phenomenal, funny, heartbreaking novel, Little Bee, in the Brentwood shop on Saturday, February 20th at 5 p.m. That’s this Saturday! The SCIBA—Southern California Independent Booksellers Association—has chosen Diesel as the location to have the signing take place, so there will be all sorts of wonderful book people in attendance, in addition to the Diesel booksellers you know and love. Don’t pass up the chance to meet the author of one of the best books of the decade!
Two new books inspired by Homer’s epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey have become fast favorites here at Diesel. Alison is as bewitched by David Malouf’s Ransom as Malouf’s protagonist, the sheltered King Priam, is by the wider world when he enters it (plus donkey) to plead for the body of his slain son Hector. And while we’re not quite dashing ourselves against any seacliffs, the news that Zachary Mason, author of The Lost Books of the Odyssey, will be coming to our Oakland store on February 25th is certainly Siren song to our ears.
NPR seems equally entranced by this epic new duo: you can listen to Alan Cheuse’s review on All Things Considered here.
Diesel Brentwood bookseller Anna Kaufman reports:
Getting new books into the store is always exciting: we love seeing old favorites return and the arrival of new titles hot off the presses. But it’s even more exciting to get to experience the arrival of a new book through the eyes of its author. We were lucky enough to be given that treat when local Brentwood author Margaret Stohl stopped by our store after lunch at her favorite taco joint and saw the display of her newly-released first novel, Beautiful Creatures, which we had just put in the window. The excitement was catching: Margaret immediately called her co-author, Kami Garcia, and the two of them met up to take pictures and commemorate their book’s release into the wild. It was wonderful to watch: other browsing customers were eagerly drawn into the celebration, and one lucky woman snagged Margaret’s autograph on the first copy she had ever signed. I couldn’t help joining the signing blitz myself, adding my name to Margaret’s first purchased copy.
Margaret and Kami both blogged about the surprise spree. Beautiful Creatures is generating a lot of buzz right now, already appearing at the top of several year’s-best lists. We’re so happy we had the opportunity to revel with Margaret and Kami as they got their first chance to see some of the tangible proof of their incredible accomplishment. The official Beautiful Creatures Launch Party is going to be at our Brentwood store on Tuesday, December 1 at 7pm, which means you all have a chance to come get in on the fun. The book is a moody and seductive Southern delight, so expect a fete that’ll hit that perfect midpoint between Gothic and giddy. Hope to see you there!
Former Diesel bookseller and local high school English teacher Nina LaCour celebrated the publication of her first novel for young adults, Hold Still, on Friday, October 23, 2009.
She has a wonderful blog with Launch Day entries and images, as well as some excellent photographs of the event.
Penguin is giving the book quite a push, and we extend our happy congratulations to her!