Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

3rd and King Borders store to close

SFist reports that “store closing” discount signs have appeared in the aisles of the Borders bookstore on Third and King Streets, depriving Giants fans of a rendezvous spot and after-game shopping experience. The store, whose cafe was usually lively, has been open pretty much ever since the ballpark opened ten years ago, is another victim of the changing book retail industry. A bowling alley may go in its place, SFist reports. LiveSOMA has more details, and the closing date, Oct. 16.

Up in the Air on Global Warming

Ira Flatow

Last week I spent 45 minutes (the time it takes to get from South San Francisco to San Jose) with Ira Flatow. He is the founder and president of Science Friday. I told Ira that I had my doubts about global warming, so he spent a good deal of the trip trying to enlighten me. Though he had some good arguments, they didn’t convince me (yet) to see the light, or should I say “the warm”. Bantering things around with the good-natured Mr. Flatow was enjoyable.   scifri on twitter

Brian Sussman

Today I met Brian Sussman. He was a local science reporter and meteorologist for KPIX, and now he hosts a morning radio show on KSFO-AM. I’ll be reading his book, Climategate, to get his view on global warming.

I guess time will tell…

The Mission through British eyes

The Mission district of the city: it’s like Camden only with wider roads and more second-hand bookshops.

She means a U.K. Camden, not the one in New Jersey (but I don’t know if she means Camden Town or the London borough of Camden; I’m thinking the former). Anyway, that was Rachel Cooke, writer for the Guardian (U.K.), in a feature on Dave Eggers in which she visits the writer and publisher’s lair on Valencia and finds him warm, modest, and soft-spoken. She covers his entire career, then visits the pirate store, where “I fall into a swoon of happiness.”

Beat poet Lenore Kandel, recalled by Stephanie Salter

Lenore Kandel holding 'The Love Book.' SF Chronicle photo by Gordon Peters.

When hallowed beat goddess Lenore Kandel died six weeks ago, the Chronicle published a nice memorial, with quotes from fellow travelers Peter Coyote, Gerard Nicosia, and others.

I just became aware of another piece, by former SF Examiner columnist Stephanie Salter, now writing for the Terre Haute, Ind. Tribune-Star. In the essay Salter, a former neighbor of Kandel’s on Bernal Heights, recalls Kandel as an aged, infirm neighbor whose infamy as an avatar of the sexual revolution Salter wasn’t even aware of.

Kandel’s 1966 poetry volume “The Love Book” was judged obscene by a San Francisco jury in a widely covered trial; the verdict was overturned on appeal. Kandel was also said to be one of the founders of the Diggers, and she was the model for a character in Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur:

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Literary things to do this Saturday

San Franciscans have a choice this Saturday: Apollo or Dionysus?

In Apollo’s corner, publishers and writers from two experimental presses, Sidebrow of San Francisco and Les Figues of Los Angeles, will appear Saturday at 7:30 pm at The Green Arcade, 1680 Market St. at Gough (map). Both presses publish poetry and experimental prose in small, interesting editions. I interviewed Les Figues’ Teresa Carmody a few years ago.

At the same moment, representing Dionysus, Writers with Drinks happens at the Makeout Room on 22nd St. Appearing are Javier Grillo-Marxuach (The Middleman TV series), Mary Robinette Kowal (Scenting The Dark And Other Stories), Kat Richardson (Greywalker), Naomi Quiñonez (Invocation L.A.: Urban Multicultural Poetry), and S. Bear Bergman (Butch Is A Noun).

Stiles, Mayor are National Book Award finalists

Congratulations to San Francisco’s T.J. Stiles, whose nonfiction book The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt has just been named among five finalists for the National Book Award. Here’s the New York Times review of the book, from May. Trivia: according to his website, Stiles is also a karate black belt.

Joining Stiles is Adrienne Mayor and her book The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, also a nonfiction finalist. Mayor is currently a visiting professor at Stanford.

The whole list of finalists is here.

SF Chronicle dumps own bestseller list

Thanks to a tweet from former Metblogger Michelle Richmond, I saw a nice writeup by another local author, Frances Dinkelspiel, on the San Francisco Chronicle changing its ways when it comes to publishing a list of locally best-selling books. Due to staff cutbacks, the Chronicle’s own bestseller list is no more. Instead they’re publishing the list compiled by the Northern California Independent Booksellers’ Association.

“A San Francisco Chronicle bestseller” has a nicer ring to it than “A Northern California bestseller,” but Dinkelspiel makes the point that the NCIBA’s list is more comprehensive and draws from a wider and more diverse list of independent bookstores.

Natasha Wimmer, Bolaño’s translator, to appear

NatashaWimmerNatasha Wimmer, translator of Roberto Bolaño’s two major novels The Savage Detectives and 2666, will be the featured guest at 12:30 pm Tuesday, October 6 at the Center for the Art of Translation‘s lunchtime reading and lecture series. Wimmer will read from her translations of Bolaño, the Chilean author who died in 2003 who has become the new superstar of Latin American literature, thanks in part to Wimmer’s sensitive, fluent translations.

Wimmer and Jeffrey Yang are guest-editing the Center’s journal of translation studies, Two Lines, with the deadline for submissions of 17 November 2009. Wimmer will also be appearing at 6 pm on Oct. 7 at the Lone Palm bar on 22nd St. in conversation with Daniel Alarcón.

Read this Publisher’s Weekly article, Translator helps turn a Latin American novelist into a U.S. sensation. And read interviews with and articles by Wimmer:

I want to go to there

Courtesy the beautiful and generous Michelle Richmond, here’s a nice piece on Associated Content, “Five books that make me want to travel to San Francisco.” They include Richmond’s own novel The Year of Fog as well as the Zuni Cafe Cookbook and the classic coffee table collection of pictures of Victorian houses, Painted Ladies.

Summer fairs (the good ones)

zine_fest_09It’s deep summer, which means neighborhood street fairs — the usual long rows of booths with obscure nonprofit groups, greasy food, and crafts of questionable provenance, with a stage at either end cranking out music that is quickly swept off by the strong breeze.

Two events which should be different:

The Street Food Street Fest, which will happen Saturday from 11 to 7 on Folsom St. between 25th and 26th. Why there? It’s the block where you’ll find La Cocina Community Kitchen, a four year old nonprofit business that incubates community food-oriented businesses run largely by immigrant women. Among the food vendors will be Sabores del Sur and Laiola.

On Saturday and Sunday, visit the San Francisco Zine Fest from 11 to 6, at the Hall of Flowers (known also as the County Fair Building) off Lincoln Way and 9th Avenue in Golden Gate Park. Not just an exhibition, the event features panels of all kinds for DIY publishers, journalists and artists. Admission to the whole event is FREE.

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