Posts Tagged ‘Books’

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.”

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.

Writers to see and hear

Sarah WatersTipping the Velvet author Sarah Waters will appear at Books Inc., 601 Van Ness, Wednesday at 7:00 pm to promote her new novel The Little Stranger.

The same night at 6:00 pm, Michelle Tea’s RADAR series at the SF Public Library Main Branch [map] features authors Orson Wagon (A Hole in the Rubber), Ricky Lee, and Sarah Fran Wisby appear, along with performance artist Krylon Superstar. That’s free, and there’s always cookies.

And on Thursday, Robert Arellano appears at City Lights [map] reading from his new novel Havana Lunar. Also appearing are Maggie Estep (Alice Fantastic) and Achy Obejas (Ruins). No cookies, but you’re in North Beach, there’s plenty to eat.

Writers with Drinks, Pamela Z, Easter vigils

pamela_zTonight Writers with Drinks features Pam Houston (Cowboys Are My Weakness), Stacie Boschma (Happy Rainbow Poems from the Unicorn Petting Zoo), Laurie R. King (Touchstone, The Art Of Detection), Sean Stewart (Cathy’s Key, Yoda: Dark Rendezvous), Regina Lynn (SexRev 2.0, Sexier Sex), and Minal Hajratwala (Leaving India: My Family’s Journey From Five Villages To Five Continents). As usual, it’s at the Makeout Room, 3225 22nd. St. near Mission in San Francisco, starts at 7:30 pm, and benefits the Center for Sex and Culture. I’d go just to hear Pam Houston read — she’s always terrific.

If you’d rather see something artsier, experimental music maven Pamela Z (pictured at left) is presenting the second in her ROOM series of performances, tonight at 8:00 pm at the Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa St. at Harrison.

And if you’re up for something mystical, dark and theatrical, attend one of the many Easter Vigil services held at Christian churches tonight. Classically, a congregation would meet in the “undercroft” of the church, the sub-basement where the skeletons are buried, to remind them of the tomb from which Jesus rises. Nowadays you’re more likely to find yourself in a candle-lit church basement, but the service is still great theater, with scripture readings that move from the creation to the exodus from Egypt to the passion and resurrection. Good bets are Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in North Beach, 8:00 pm; St. Gregory Nyssa Episcopal Church on Potrero Hill, 8:00 pm; Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill, 8:00 pm; or St. Francis Lutheran Church in the Castro, 7:00 pm.

Places you’re not supposed to see

This morning I’m going to the SFMOMA to meet artist and writer Trevor Paglen and interview him.
        Update: Here’s the interview on TheRumpus.net.
He may be best known because of his appearance several months ago on “The Colbert Report” talking about his short book about the unit patches worn by people working on secret military projects, I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have To Be Destroyed By Me. He’s also the author of “Blank Spots on the Map,” a geographical approach to the black world of secret military projects, and co-author of Torture Taxi, about the Bush administration’s uncharted rendition air flights.

But he’s not just an author and academic — he’s a geography professor at UC Berkeley — but a photographer whose work is hanging at both SFMOMA and the Altman Siegel Gallery in SF. His photographs, many of which use what he calls “Limit Telephotography” or the practice of taking very long range telephoto pictures, peek into places you’re not supposed to see:
Trevor Paglen: Large Hangars and Fuel Storage/Tonopah Test Range, NV/Distance ~18 miles/10:44 am

… and pick out needles — secret surveillance satellites — in the haystack of the night sky.

RADAR reading includes appearance by JT LeRoy hoaxer

Laura Albert (l.) and Savannah KnoopSavannah Knoop, who for several years played the role of JT LeRoy in public, will appear as herself in Michelle Tea’s monthly RADAR reading series tonight at 6:00 pm at the San Francisco Public Library. (Description, times and location of the event here.)

Knoop is the author of Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT LeRoy from Seven Stories Press. Tea told me Knoop would be “reading something, and that there will be elements of performance art as well” at the event.

Also appearing are filmmaker and writer Hilary Goldberg,performer Lauren LoGiudice, and Fresno poet Bana Witt — who is great. My money’s on Witt to steal the show.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.