A group of powerhouse non-fiction authors will embark on a series of readings for the new book on the Korean War from the late David Halberstam.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
A new company is offering to make reading guilt-free -- for a small sum. Pay into a fund, and every time you buy a new book, the company will plant a tree.
About 20 million trees are cut down each year to make virgin paper, and founders of the company hope to offset this consumption. "Every book you read was once a tree," reads the company website. "Now you can plant a tree for every book you read."
The company, based in Novato, Ca, and Delaware was started by a group of Israelis, including "eco-entreprenuer" Raz Godelnik. He was the co-founder of Hemper Jeans, which produced jeans made from hemp. (Which is still illegal to grow in many parts of the U.S.)
I figure I read about 50 books a year. Planting 50 trees would cost me about $47.
The founders list their favorite books on their website, too.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Anyway, in another it's too good to be true story, the man who inspired the machine-gun totting yet ethical drug dealing Omar, got married this week to the woman who inspired one of the show's many drugged out characters. She was nothing but a junkie on the street when he started to call her from prison, where he was serving time for murder. The matchmaker? None other than David Simon, the show's creator.
Their marriage got a large write-up in the New York Times' wedding section:
"Among those at the wedding were Mr. Simon, the executive producer, writer and creator of “The Wire,” and the cast members Dominic West, who plays Detective James McNulty; Sonja Sohn, who plays Detective Shakima Greggs; and Andre Royo, who plays Bubbles."
Friday, August 17, 2007
Summer is almost two-thirds over and I have the uncomfortable feeling that I haven’t had enough good “summer reads” this year. When I was traveling in
Some less well-loved reads:
VisitingLife: Women Doing Time on the Outside by Bridget Kinsella.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Constance Hale, a longtime Bay area journalist and former editor of Wired and Health magazines, has just been appointed the new director of the Neiman Program on Narrative Journalism at
Monday, August 13, 2007
Two seasons ago the creators introduced one of the creepiest characters of the series. It was "Snoop," a young woman who didn't seem to have a shred of compassion for anyone. She was a gun for hire, loyal only to the drug dealer who hired her. When she killed, her face was expressionless.
I soon learned that the producers of The Wire had hired a number of Baltimore street kids and one of them Felicia Pearson, who played Snoop. Pearson's life story was as chilling as it gets. She was born addicted to crack and was thrown into the foster care system. She started to deal drugs when she was a teenager, and was sent to jail after she killed someone, apparently in self-defense. Upon her release, someone introduced her to David Simon, the creator of the show. He hired her to play a thinly-veiled version of herself.
Pearson sold her memoir, according to Publisher's Marketplace:
Actress Felicia "Snoop" Pearson and David Ritz's GRACE AFTER MIDNIGHT, about growing up on the rough streets of Baltimore, transforming from a cross-eyed crack baby to a hardened teenage drug dealer, spending her adolescence in prison after killing a woman in self-defense, and turning her life around with a role in HBO's The Wire, to Karen Thomas at Grand Central, in a good deal, by Michael Harriot at Vigliano Associates (World).
The Wire presents such a bleak portrait of urban America. The story of Pearson is a reminder there are small victories amid all the despair.
Carl Hall, local representative for the Newspaper Guild, says they won't roll over and die.
The Chronicle looks at Yusef Bey's former empire. Still, no follow-up to what Chauncey Bailey was investigating.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
When investigative journalist Don Bolles was murdered by the Mafia in 1976 in connection with a story he was reporting, dozens of his friends vowed not to let his death stand unchallenged. They convened in
Bolles’ murder and the response of his colleagues made journalism history and is now part of journalism lore. Right now reporters have another opportunity to avenge the murder of a colleague.
Chauncey Bailey’s death last week apparently came about because of his investigation into the Black Muslim Bakery in
Reporters in the Bay Area got used to seeing members of the bakery community, led by Yusef Bey, show up at meetings of the Oakland City Council or Alameda Board of Supervisors. They were always polite and remote and definitely not particularly interested in talking to white reporters.
Bailey apparently looked into the Black Muslim Bakery years ago, and was threatened for his attempts, according to Thompson. He was taking another look when he was gunned down last week by a young man connected to the bakery,
The response of the papers in the Bay Area will reveal just how damaging the recent cuts actually are. It will take time and many reporters to uncover the truth behind this story. Let's hope today's reporters and editors are as loyal as Bolles' colleagues and do justice to Bailey. Let's hope the bosses decide to spend the money it takes to do the job.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
I am up at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers conference, where aspiring authors workshop their writing and listen to authors, agents, and editors talk about the publishing business. The conference has a long tradition of inviting back alumni who have been published, and I came to hear two friends read from their work. (We attended Squaw together in 2004.) They were Julia Flynn Siler, who wrote the House of Mondavi, and Beatrice Motamedi, whose essay appears in the anthology, Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing By Women of the Iranian Diaspora.
For inspiration, someone has posted a stack of Amy Tan's rejection letters. The New Yorker rejected at least two of her stories, and a bunch of publishers, including Pantheon, rejected her book, which went on to become the bestselling Joy Luck Club.
“I am glad to have had a chance to see Amy Tan’s stories and proposal from THE JOY LUCK CLUB,” Pantheon Books Editor Sara Bershtel wrote Sandra Dykstra, Tan’s agent, in November 1987.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Here is a complete list of all the Chronicle reporters who are leaving or will be leaving the paper in the next few weeks. A few surprises: Joan Ryan, the award-wining feature writer and columnist; Karola Saekel, the longtime food writer; Neva Chonin, who writes about popular culture, and Catherine Bigelow, who has been reporting society news.
Phil Bronstein has apparently told his pared down staff that the paper will become more nimble by focusing on four key areas, which Bronstein calls master narratives. They are local politics, green living, real estate, and technology.
According to the
“Bronstein reportedly envisions a paper whose staff will not simply report, but seek to effect positive change in the community and drive public policy.
List of reporters, editors, photographers, other staff
Anna Badkhen, reporter
Colleen Benson, business editorial assistant
Catherine Bigelow, society columnist
Darryl Bush, photographer
Mark Camps, reporter sports
Neva Chonin, columnist features
Rob Collier, reporter
Karola Saekel Craib, reporter food
Will Crain, copy editor
Janine DeFao, reporter
Christine Delsol, deputy travel editor
Rick Delvecchio, reporter
Keay Davidson, science reporter
Ed Epstein, reporter Washington bureau
Chris Feldhorn, copy editor
David Finkelstein, editorial assistant metro desks
Dan Fost, technology reporter
Louis Freedberg, columnist
Blake Gray, wine reporter
Jessica Guynn, senior technology reporter
Patrick Hoge, reporter
Vanessa Hua, reporter, demographics team
Fran Irwin, copy editor food
Lance Jackson, graphic artist
Jason Johnson, reporter
Heather Jones, copy editor
Daniel King, editorial assistant features
Marshall Kirkland, Sacramento bureau editorial assistant
Christina Koci-Hernandez, photographer
David Lazarus, columnist business
Ilene Lelchuck, reporter, demographics
Greg Lucas, Sacramento bureau reporter
Kevin Lynch, reporter sports
Liz Mangelsdorf, photographer
Glen Martin, reporter, environmental issues
Mark Martin, Sacramento bureau reporter
Ross McKeon, reporter, Sharks, NHL
Scott Mattoon, nation/world editor
Laura Perkins, research librarian
Suzanne Pullen, reporter, ChronWatch
Ed Rachels, graphic artist
Rick Radin, copy editor
Wanda Ravernell, copy editor features
Joan Ryan, columnist
Steve Sande, features editorial assistant
Pia Sarkar, business reporter
Anne Schrager, photo tech
Kathy Seligman, features writer
Joe Shoulak, info graphics artist
Chuck Squatriglia, reporter
Thor Swift, photo tech
Kat Wade, photographer
Diana Walsh, reporter
Michael Weiss, features writer
Thursday, August 02, 2007
I was driving around in my car running errands today when I turned on the 2 pm news to hear the shocking headline “Prominent journalist gunned down in
The radio has teaser headlines on every broadcast, but this was the first time I felt an actual chill travel through my body. Who could this be? I thought. Was it anyone I knew?
The news was local and I had to wait five long minutes through the national news before hearing that Chauncey Bailey, a former Oakland Tribune reporter who had recently been made editor of The Oakland Post, an African-American community paper, had been shot and killed while walking downtown.