I’m not the only blogger who has bowed out during the summer. The Wall Street Journal tells all:
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
The latest evidence of media consolidation in the Bay Area screamed out all over the front pages on Wednesday.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
No one has ever suggested that Osama Bin Laden is kind or considerate. Now his former lover, the Sudanese writer Kola Boof, 37, has written a memoir, Diary of A Lost Girl, about her virtual imprisonment by the leader of Al Queda. Harpers Magazine is running an excerpt. Bin Laden was not only cruel to women, he apparently had a fixation on Whitney Houston.
“He would humiliate me by making me dance naked,” writes Boof. “It was such a strange thing, because for the most part he believed music was evil. If a guest at the estate played music, he would cover his ears until the “poison” was silenced. But other times he would become this devout party boy who wanted to hear Van Halen or some B-52's. To this day I hear the song “Rock Lobster” in my sleep. I would be jerking around like a white girl—“Dance like a Caucasoid girl!” he would say—and his eyes would track me from one side of the terrace to the other. “Your ass is too big, show me the front,” he said. Osama, you understand, did not know the difference between being vicious and being tender.”
And later on ….
“Osama kept coming back to Whitney Houston. He asked if I knew her personally when I lived in
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
This sale was just announced on Publisher’s Marketplace:
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Q: Are there any rules that guide how you sort through and pick the ones you'll review?
A: Self-published and vanity press stuff, of course, always gets tossed immediately. If a book is regional and its region has nothing to do with the Bay Area, that gets tossed. The first things I look at are: How pertinent is it to the region, and how pertinent would it be to our readers? We don't review romance novels. We do genres -- SciFi, mysteries and thrillers -- in monthly roundup columns, so those get set aside for that. Everything else I pretty much hang on to and flip through. Of course that's the other big chunk of my time -- going through those galleys and at least reading a little bit into them.
Choosing which books to review is completely subjective. You look at the catalogs and get a sense of what looks interesting, who you like. It's pretty much the same way you decide what you'll cover in a newspaper: You just go by your instincts. Clearly you pay attention to what's in the news and which books could be related to that, but for the most part, it's about picking books you would like to read. You have to trust your instincts and hope readers like to read what you're interested in. If your interests are too esoteric, you're going to alienate a lot of people, and if your interests are too broad, you're going to pique very few people. It's got to be somewhere in the middle.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen – This one sits atop the Chronicle’s best-seller list and was highly praised on its release. It’s an atmospheric book about a young man who joins a train circus in 1931. Gruen does an excellent job showing the bizarre and cruel world of the circus, where violence hides under the grin of the circus master. It’s a quick and enjoyable read. Nothing too deep or profound but fun.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
I am sorry to say they are not.
I went into their store on
The shelves looked bare.
Now Cody’s on Telegraph was the kind of place where you knew you could get almost any book, at any time. It was a place of surprises. You could walk in, browse any table in the store, and see something interesting. The shelves were crammed with books, the piles on the tables sometimes tottered over and the store had a feeling of abundance.
I didn’t get that feeling at the store on
I had driven all away across town to go to this Cody’s. (The one on Telegraph was about 5 minutes from my house) I needed to look at some books for a journalism class I will be teaching this fall, but the store didn’t have the titles I wanted. (And these are recent non-fiction titles) Worst of all, the woman behind the information desk said she couldn’t order one of the books because Cody’s currently owes money to the distributor of that title!
“Didn’t you know we have money troubles?” she asked.
I did. I naively assumed that closing the Telegraph Store would take care of Cody’s problems. Apparently it hasn’t.
Did I help the store out by buying a book? Yes, I bought a paperback for $15. But I had been prepared to buy 4-5 books. They weren’t on the shelves.