Tag Archives: margaret

On Our Nightstand, September 7th-13th

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

Anna in Brentwood
The Wayward Bus
By John Steinbeck
I decided I wanted to read something fun and relaxing, and somehow this translated into my picking up one of Steinbeck’s goofier, lust-filled novels. Both the version of myself who slogged through Grapes of Wrath in high school and the one who rapturously pored over East of Eden in college would be appalled.

Diane in Brentwood
Growing Up Jung
By Micah Toub
Toub is the son of TWO Jungian psychologists. His writing style is a delight and it’s clear that with all the introspection wafting around his childhood home, he’s as screwed up at the rest of us.

Geo in Brentwood
I Hotel
By Karen Tei Yamashita
Yamashita encapsulates the complex political environment of 1960s San Francisco in a truly ambitious, explosive, and enthralling novel.

John Peck in Oakland
How Did You Get This Number
By Sloane Crosley
Great humor writing, with a refreshing feet-on-the-ground (i.e. not too precious) take on life’s absurdities.

Margaret in Oakland
Lions at Lamb House
By Edwin M. Yoder Jr.
Another of those fabulous finds from Europa Editions–a fictive encounter between Henry James and Sigmund Freud at James’ country estate on the East Sussex coast. Deliciously droll.

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On Our Nightstand, August 3rd-9th

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

Anna in Brentwood
The Jokers
By Albert Cossery
This was the first of Bookslut‘s Jessa Crispin’s Bright Books for Dark Times, and I can already feel it making everything a bit sunnier. The atypical revolutionaries in the novel use humorous pranks to reveal the truth about their city’s corrupt, buffoonish governor. This book is so smart and engaging, but sadly I’m almost done. I guess I’ll have to read through the rest of Crispin’s list!

Christine in Oakland
The Windup Girl
By Paolo Bacigalupi
A great social commentary on the fate of humanity when Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and the Monsantos of the world gain ultimate power.

Geo in Brentwood
The Air-Conditioned Nightmare
By Henry Miller
One week after reading Simone de Beauvoir‘s America Day by Day, a travelogue on America written by a French writer, I’m now reading a travelogue on America from an American expatriate from France. The compare/contrast exercise will surely be riveting.

Margaret in Oakland
Faithful Place
By Tana French
I went from thinking that I wasn’t going to like this, the third novel in French’s mystery series, because I didn’t like the main character’s role in the second book, The Likeness. But now, reading this tightly structured, beautifully characterized novel, I think Faithful Place is French’s best, period.

Thea in Malibu
Dreaming in Cuban
By Cristina Garcia
With that poetic magical realism so characteristic of Latin American writers, Garcia tells the story of the different generations of the del Pino family in the aftermath of the Cuban revolution.

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We Are the Walrus

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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…?

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*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?

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On Our Nightstand, June 15th-21st

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

Anna in Brentwood
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
By Aimee Bender
Bender’s second novel is a whimsical concoction, seasoned with enough of the bittersweet to avoid becoming cloying. I’m so excited that she’s going to be here to sign on July 10th!

Geo in Brentwood
Working
By Studs Terkel
My attempt to understand the different class relationships in this country. Terkel’s illuminating oral history presents a variety of voices from all walks of life.

Karen in Oakland
Nemesis
By Jo Nesbo
Nesbo is a musician, economist, and mystery writer who’s really hot in Sweden right now. This is the perfect follow up to Stieg Larsson‘s Millennium Trilogy.

Margaret in Oakland
Deaf Sentence
By David Lodge
From the absolutely hilarious cocktail scene that opens the book, Lodge’s latest novel is hysterical, especially for people of “a certain age.” David Lodge has never written a bad book.

Miles in Malibu
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
By Oliver Sacks
Case studies from Sacks’ work as a neurologist, which cover everything from savantism to synesthesia. I’m learning about all kinds of things I didn’t think were possible!

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On Our Nightstand

Taking a page from NPR, here’s the first in a series of (hopefully) weekly updates on what we’re currently reading here at Diesel.

Anna in Brentwood
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother’s death and her family’s bloody history.

Cheryl in Brentwood
Extraordinary Knowing by Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer
Extraordinary Knowing is an attempt to break through the silence imposed by fear and to explore what science has to say about various “inexplicable” phenomena. From Sigmund Freud’s writings on telepathy to secret CIA experiments on remote viewing, from leading-edge neuroscience to the strange world of quantum physics, Dr. Mayer reveals a wealth of credible and fascinating research into the realm where the mind seems to trump the laws of nature.

Geo in Brentwood
No. 44, the Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain
Based on Twain’s boyhood memories of the Mississippi River Valley and of the print shops of Hannibal, the story is set in medieval Austria at the dawn of the printing craft. It is a psychic adventure, full of phantasmagoric effects, in which a penniless printer’s apprentice—a youthful, mysterious stranger with the curious name 44—gradually reveals his otherworldly powers and the hidden possibilities of the mind.

John Evans
Rhythmanalysis by Henri Lefebvre
Rhythmanalysis displays all the characteristics which made Lefebvre one of the most important Marxist thinkers of the 20th century. In the analysis of rhythms–both biological and social–Lefebvre shows the interrelation of space and time in the understanding of everyday life. With dazzling skills, Lefebvre moves between discussions of music, the commodity, measurement, the media, and the city. In doing so he shows how a non-linear conception of time and history balanced his famous rethinking of the question of space.

John Peck in Oakland
You’re A Horrible Person, But I Like You: The Believer Book of Advice
A compendium of advice from the producers, writers, and actors of The Office, Saturday Night Live, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Knocked Up, Flight of the Conchords, The Daily Show, Arrested Development, Reno 911!, and The Hangover along with other people who should really never give advice.

Kim in Malibu
2666 by Roberto Bolano
The lives of a throng of unforgettable characters—including academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father—intersect in the urban sprawl of SantaTeresa—a fictional Juárez—on the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of young factory workers, in the novel as in life, have disappeared.

Margaret in Oakland
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
Julie Orringer’s astonishing first novel, eagerly awaited since the publication of her heralded best-selling short-story collection, How to Breathe Underwater, is a grand love story set against the backdrop of Budapest and Paris, an epic tale of three brothers whose lives are ravaged by war, and the chronicle of one family’s struggle against the forces that threaten to annihilate it.

Thomas in Brentwood
The Story of Art by E. H. Gombrich
The finest introduction to art ever written!

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Look! Up in the Sky!

In honor of Free Comic Book Day—it’s tomorrow! You go into any comic book store and they give you free comics—here are some of our favorite books about comics (and a few bonus treats).

Tom De Haven‘s thrilling and evocative novel, It’s Superman!, returns Clark Kent to his Depression-era roots for an adventure that sheds comic excess and focuses on what makes the Man of Steel human.

De Haven’s got a great nonfiction look at Supes, too: the new Our Hero, a fantastic look at the character’s real-life origin story, his ups and downs, and his lasting cultural impact.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning fictional take on the comic industry’s birth and golden age has achieved modern-classic status for a reason. The thrill of creativity taking flight has never seemed more visceral.

Of course, with the rise of comics came the rise of comic book-detractors. David Hajdu explores all sides of this epic censorship controversy—including the publication of the famous anti-comics screed, Seduction of the Innocent—in The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America.

POW! Fun bonuses:

*An excellent interview with award-winning graphic novelist and Bay Area local Gene Luen Yang, author of the new (and likewise excellent) Prime Baby.

*A hilarious analysis of gender-swapped superheroes (um…possibly NSFW).

*This speaks for itself: videos of Tim Gunn critiquing superhero costume choices.

Keep feeling super with Margaret in Oakland’s reading Antonio Machado‘s “Last Night While I Was Sleeping”:

That’s it for the month, guys! Check out all 30 videos for the 30 days of April here. And then vote for your favorite! The winner—along with the winning voter, who gets a mysterious(ly awesome) prize—will be announced in May!

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