You know he’s permeated our culture. After reading his cover story on “nutritionism” in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, I clicked on Technorati to see what bloggers had to say about the piece. I looked around 10:30 am Pacific Time, which is 1:30 pm on the East Coast. There were already dozens of links to the story, most of them praising his opening lines: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Now six hours later, Technorati reports that even more bloggers have used the term “Michael Pollan,” today. And I am one of them.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
What are they doing to children’s literature?
Newsweek has a story that says the publisher of the Little House on the Prairie series will remove the iconic, charming art of Garth Williams from the books and replace it with photos of models dressed up to look like Laura and Mary Ingalls.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Is there a certain cache associated with being a writer from a big city? Does a writer sound more provincial is she says she is from
Michael Lewis has no qualms either. He and his wife, Tabitha Soren, now a photographer but once an MTV host who interviewed Bill Clinton, also live in Berkeley. Lewis has been writing all about the birth of their third child, a son named Walker, for Salon. He was born at Alta Bates, the center of birthing in the East Bay.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
The National Book Critics Circle announced their finalists on Saturday and the West Coast is well-represented. On a personal note, I know three of the finalists, Michael Pollan, Sandy Tolan, and Jason Roberts, and feel a vicarious thrill by their nominations.
Here are the nominees. The winners will be announced March 8.
Patrick Cockburn, The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq (Verso)
Anne Fessler, The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe V. Wade (Penguin Press)
Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Penguin Press)
Simon Schama, Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution (Ecco)
Sandy Tolan, The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew and the Heart of the Middle East (Bloomsbury)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun (Knopf)
Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss (Grove/Atlantic)
Dave Eggers, What is the What (McSweeney’s)
Richard Ford, The Lay of the Land (Knopf)
Cormac McCarthy, The Road (Knopf)
Donald Antrim, The Afterlife (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (Houghton Mifflin)
Alexander Masters, Stuart: A Life Backwards (Delacorte)
Daniel Mendelsohn, The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million (HarperCollins)
Teri Jentz, Strange Piece of Paradise (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Daisy Fried, My Brother is Getting Arrested Again. (
Troy Jollimore, Tom Thomson in Purgatory. (Margie/Intuit House)
Miltos Sachtouris, Poems (1945-1971) (Archipelego Books)
Frederick Seidel, Ooga-Booga (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
W.D. Snodrass, Not for Specialists: New and Selected Poems (BOA Editions)
Bruce Bawer: While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the WestFrom Within (Doubleday)
Frederick Crews, Follies of the Wise: Dissenting Essays (Shoemaker & Hoard)
Daniel Dennett, Breaking the Spell: Religion As A Natural Phenomenon(Viking)
Lia Purpura, On Looking: Essays (Sarabande Books)
Lawrence Wechsler, Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences(McSweeney's)
The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing:
Debby Applegate: The Most Famous Man in Amerca: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher (Doubleday)
Taylor Branch, At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968 (Simon& Schuster)
Frederick Brown, Flaubert: A Biography (Little, Brown)
Julie Phillips, James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon (St.Martin's Press)
Jason Roberts, A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History's Greatest Traveler (HarperCollins)
Winner: Steven G. Kellman
The Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement:
Monday, January 15, 2007
Sunday, January 14, 2007
The Bay Area is going through a cold snap, which makes it hard to run up my front steps (there are more than 30 of them) in the mornings to get my newspapers. But it also means the sky is crystal clear and sound seems muffled. As I was coming back down my stairs yesterday morning I paused. I couldn’t hear any car noise. All I heard was the chirping of the birds. Just a few squeaks as they flew from tree to tree, but it was a lovely way to start my morning.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Vote for your least favorites.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I am in the thick of writing my book and am wrestling with all sorts of esoteric stuff, like how to manage the transitions between narrative and exposition and how to tell if a primary document like a letter or diary entry or newspaper account can be trusted.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Vikram Chandra is descending on the Bay Area this week. But since he lives part-time in
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Ericka Lutz, an Oakland writer and the granddaughter of Tillie Olsen, the author who died on New Year’s Day, has written a piece for Literary Mama about saying goodbye to her dying grandmother.
I looked at another book about dying a few days ago, although it’s not being marketed like that. It is Annie Leibovitz’s latest book and it’s called A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005.
It’s amazing how Leibovitz coveys her devotion in only a few shots. The early parts of the book have numerous snapshots of Sontag in exotic locales – on the
Friday, January 05, 2007
Heidi Benson pointed out in today’s Chronicle that Black Oak Books has put itself up for sale. A fellow bookseller told me that their expansion into
That news and the announcement that Advanced Marketing Systems has filed for bankruptcy is not a good way to start the New Year. AMS owns Publishers Group West, based in
Publishing may be headed for a shakedown, just like the newspaper business. It’s only going to get uglier.