Tag Archives: kim

On Our Nightstand, August 31st-September 6th

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

Anna in Brentwood
Mockingjay
By Suzanne Collins
If you’re anywhere between the ages of eight and eighteen, you’re probably all over this already. But all you dignified adults out there would get a lot of pleasure out of this brilliantly conceived and powerfully written young adult series, of which this is the final–and impressively mature–installment.

Colin in Oakland
Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy
By Eric D. Weitz
I picked up Weimar Germany because I wanted to know how the Nazis came to power, but what I found was a history of a fascinating period in its own right. Rife with contradiction, revolution, workers rights, feminism, antisemitism, right-wing and left-wing paramilitaries, the blossoming of modern art and architecture, nudists, depression and hyper-inflation–the 15 years of the Weimar Republic are a microcosm of the 20th Century superbly brought to life in this excellent book.

Geo in Brentwood
The Master and Margarita
By Mikhail Bulgakov
In an excellent role reversal, a customer came into the bookstore and recommended a book for me! This Russian classic about the devil visiting Stalinist Russia is dark, inventive, and wickedly funny.

Kim in Malibu
Better
By Atul Gawande
I have a slight book crush on New Yorker columnist and surgeon extraordinaire, Atul Gawande, who writes about medicine and medical-related issues with sensitivity, intelligence, incredible humanity and very little ego. This particular book (he has written three) talks about the complicated reasons the medical profession succeeds and fails on a performance level both historically and in the present, and reads like the most compelling narrative. Fascinating stuff and highly, highly recommended.

Miles in Malibu
What the Dog Saw
By Malcolm Gladwell
Gladwell’s attempt to analyze and find deeper meaning in such mundane subjects as hair dye, ketchup, and dog training is a success. He asks the “more interesting” questions and answers them tactfully and with insight.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

On Our Nightstand, August 24th-30th

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

Alison
The Same River Twice
By Ted Mooney
I am absolutely taken by this moody, atmospheric novel set in contemporary Paris. There are artists, filmmakers, art dealers, and Russian mobsters all swirling around in this well-told tale. It is the kind of story that runs like a film in your head, but I have no idea where it’s going.

Anna in Brentwood
Our Tragic Universe
By Scarlett Thomas
As in her previous novel, The End of Mr. Y, Thomas is brilliant at getting inside the inquisitive, troubled minds of her young female protagonists as they ponder life’s big questions. Plus, every time I read a Thomas novel, I find myself getting recommendations for other books, as her characters are always reading. PopCo made me pick up Survive the Savage Sea, and this one already has me searching for my copy of Aristotle‘s Poetics.

Kim in Malibu
Little Black Book of Stories
By A.S. Byatt
A book of previously uncollected and intriguingly creepy short stories by Byatt that includes the fascinating “A Stone Woman” about a woman who literally morphs into rock. Freak of nature or metaphor? You decide!

Miles in Malibu
Consider the Lobster
By David Foster Wallace
Seeing America through the David Foster Wallace lens is like looking at your favorite food under a microscope. At first you may be unsettled by the inconvenient truths, but you will ultimately be rewarded for reading about the seedy underbelly of the world of dictionary editing, life on the 2000 McCain campaign trail, and the surreal hilarity of adult entertainment conventions. Eat up.

Thomas in Brentwood
The Insufferable Gaucho
By Roberto Bolano
More literary antics from Senor Bolano. An expectedly eclectic collection of incurably ill, insufferable, and ingenious characters. “Jim,” the three-page story that begins the collection, is an absolute knockout: a chili scalding the back of your mouth and a ghost haunting the corners of your memory.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

On Our Nightstand, August 17th-23rd

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

Anna in Brentwood
Night of the Living Trekkies
By Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall
Laugh all you want (I can totally hear you!), but it’s the best zombie book I’ve read since World War Z. And it’s hilarious. So actually, you really can laugh.

Geo in Brentwood
Riding Toward Everywhere
By William T. Vollmann
In this book, Vollmann does what he does best: immerse himself in some crazy experience so he can tell us about it. This time it’s illegal trainhopping. While it doesn’t make me want to risk my life on the rails, I do now fancy a nice little train trip up the coast.

John Evans
The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny, and Globalization’s Rough Landscape
By Harm J. De Blij
For readers of Thomas Friedman and Jared Diamond, a nuanced global perspective which furthers, and corrects, much of their writings. Leave it to a geographer to clarify overwhelmingly vast complexities.

John Peck in Oakland
The Turkish Cookbook: Regional Recipes and Stories
By Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman
Continuing my world culinary tour with this awesome and very complete cookbook. Contains beautiful photographs of both food and regions of Turkey.

Kim in Malibu
So Long, See You Tomorrow
By William Maxwell
Maxwell might be one of the best mid-century American writers you’ve never heard of, and this book, a slim novella that packs a hefty emotional punch, is quietly satisfying. It was written as the pseudo memoir of a man recounting the events of his childhood growing up in Illinois in the ’20s in the aftermath of a local murder, and, prepositional phrases aside, conjures up such a complex inner world for his characters, I find myself transported.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

We Are the Walrus

=

As you may have heard by now, the I Write Like widget is serious business: copy and paste some text into the box, and it’ll tell you which (for the most part white, male) author you write like. With 100% accuracy, of course! We started with some of our staff members (Anna = Vladimir Nabokov; Geo = Charles Dickens; Grant = James Joyce; Jon Stich = Kurt Vonnegut; Margaret = Ian Fleming; and Alison, Cheryl, John Evans, Kim and Thomas all = H.P. Lovecraft—wow we’re a morbid bunch). But then we got creative:

Did you know…?

=

*Pablo Neruda = Raymond Chandler!
*Michael Moore = Dan Brown
*President Obama’s inaugural speech = H.P. Lovecraft (that guy! so versatile)
*Darth Vader = Anne Rice
*Lyrics to “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey = Ursula K. Le Guin
*Unabomber Manifesto = Stephen King
*Lyrics to “A Whole New World” in Aladdin = Mark Twain
And:
*Jack Kerouac = David Foster Wallace = James Joyce = Grant. Duh.

Gosh, we’re thinking about the relationships between these writers in whole new ways! (Huh. That sounds like a line from Mark Twain…) We feel like we’ve learned something. Don’t you?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

On Our Nightstand, July 13th-19th

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

Anna in Brentwood
Somebody Everybody Listens To
By Suzanne Supplee
A realistic and heartfelt young adult novel about a teenage girl from the small-town South who tries to set her dreams of becoming a country singer in motion. I don’t know much about country music, but Supplee does a great job of capturing how music of any kind can convey and intensify emotion.

Geo in Brentwood
Poor People
By William T. Vollmann
I can always count on William Vollmann’s work to challenge me intellectually and philosophically. Poor People is no exception.

John Peck in Oakland
Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter
By Tom Bissell
Every art form based on new technology spends its first few decades in a sort of limbo, during which any attempt to valorize it as art is smacked down by the guardians of high culture. As video games near their third decade, the argument for games as art is gradually, but surely, becoming irrefutable. As a gamer, I’ve been waiting a long time for a good book-length study of one of my favorite activities, obsessions, and yes, art forms.

Kim in Malibu
About a Mountain
By John D’Agata
It would have been easy for essayist John D’Agata to rant about how storing nuclear waste inside a mountain is a really, really bad idea. Instead, he weaves together the facts of the Yucca Mountain, Nevada, project with wit, insight, and surprising cross references, ultimately revealing just how little we can truly know about anything.

Thomas in Brentwood
The Man With the Golden Arm
By Nelson Algren
Nelson Algren’s The Man With the Golden Arm is crass, dirty and unrelenting. I am gladly submerged in the tremendous daily follies of Algren’s post-WWII burnouts and users.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

On Our Nightstand, July 6th-12th

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

Anna in Brentwood
The Hole We’re In
By Gabrielle Zevin
A fascinating and brutal look at the financial crisis through the story of one family. Zevin’s unflinching characterization and dark humor make this book hard to read—and at the same time, impossible to put down.

Elise in Oakland
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
By Haruki Murakami
My previous encounters with Murakami didn’t leave me a fan, so I was reluctant to read this. But it’s amazing—dreamy, but still rooted in reality. There are a lot of storylines but they’re not hard to follow because I’m interested in every single one of the characters.

Geo in Brentwood
God’s Lunatics
By Michael Largo
An A-Z reference guide about the funnier, stranger side of religion. Entertaining, eerie, and a tad bit disturbing!

John Peck in Oakland
The Return
By Roberto Bolano
After reading the 900+ page epic 2666, this book of Bolano’s short fiction is like dessert.

Kim in Malibu
The Laws of Simplicity
By John Maeda
The annoyingly multitalented John Maeda (MIT professor! RISD president! Graphic design superstar!) examines the idea that less can actually be more—or at least, more meaningful—in relation to design, technology, business, and life in general. Seeing as how Maeda’s ideas often blossom into iconic, why-didn’t-we-think-of-this-sooner epiphanies, I expect to learn a lot from this slim volume.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

On Our Nightstand, June 1st-7th

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

Anna in Brentwood
The Possessed
By Elif Batuman
Batuman’s funny, thoughtful journey through the world of Russian literature will make you want to (re)read Anna Karenina. It will not make you want to go to Uzbekistan.

John Peck in Oakland
American Vertigo
By Bernard-Henri Levy
Noted French thinker Bernard-Henri Levy travels through America in the footsteps of Tocqueville. Part travelogue, part essay, entirely engaging.

Kim in Malibu
The Routes of Man
By Ted Conover
A fascinating, readable, and humanistic account of how several key roads worldwide are changing and the impact this has on political, environmental, medical, and social concerns. The best piece of nonfiction I’ve read since Citizens!

Steffi in Oakland
Let the Great World Spin
By Colum McCann
Written in a series of diverse and compelling POVs, this National Book Award-winning novel presents very believable and intriguing characters tied together by a fascinating storyline.

Thomas in Brentwood
Just Kids
By Patti Smith
Rock icon Patti Smith’s memoir is written with the greatest abundance of love for the hustlers, poets, thieves, mystics, and transients in her life. And of course, for her Robert Maplethorpe, who embodied all of the above.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized