Saturday, May 8, 2010

Punks not dead (yet, anyway)

It seems that the historic Gilman Street venue in Berkeley is about to slam into hard times in the next few months, as the rent at this DIY, all-ages haven is skyrocketing an additional $31,000 a year! ZOINKS!!! I don't think that even a new Green Day 7" can make-up a difference like that... Well, maybe that can, but let's not hold our breath.

You don't have to be a rock star to be able to contribute toward keeping this landmark up and running, however. Jack Boulware, top dog of the Litquake Festival and author of various tomes has organized a grassroots benefit for Gilman Street involving his most recent release, Gimme Something Better: The Profound, Progressive, and Occasionally Pointless History of Bay Area Punk From Dead Kennedys to Green Day and various Bay Area bookstores.

During the month of May, Green Apple Books will be donating 20% from every copy we sell of Gimme Something Better to the Gilman benefit. Not only will you get the inside dope on all the dirt kicked-up during Bay Area punk's heyday, but you will be doing your part to keep the gromits off the streets and skanking in a supportive pit. Can I get an Oimen? (sorry)
Get your copy of Gimme Something Better from Green Apple HERE

Friday, May 7, 2010

Graphic Language of Today

Graphic language is the oldest, and arguably the most important form of communication in the history of humankind. It has made its transgression from caves, to pyramids, to paper to LCD screens over the course of thousands of years, depicting the world in the time which it was created, beauties and squalors alike. It is one of the most versatile and boundless forms of talk there is, with the ability to make vague to specific points without being arrested by the authority of dialect.

Of course, as with any form of media different classes will have varying voices, and as I feel is so often the case, the truest depiction coming mostly from the unsung. Those who have not yet been pressured with the fear or responsibility of the spotlight.

So without any further ado, I am proud to announce that Green Apple now presents to you a blossoming shelf of zines and otherwise small press works, generally of the art and comic variety. The display is a prominent centerpiece in the graphic novel section of our fiction annex at 520 Clement St. Come in and check it out soon. The majority of the featured items are handmade locally, make unique gifts, and are usually somewhere in the five dollar and below price range.

The pictures in this post, as you can imagine, are by a few of the artists we're supporting (and certainly more to come!). Enjoy 'em while you can. Life isn't long enough.

"What people don't realize is comics can change the world. We can end world hunger and dishonest marriages with comics. They are about as important as the Blues. They are visual spirit food and I am going to feed it to you like Moses would feed it to a mystic raven."
-Aaron Kaneshiro

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


It's been a big month for comics (well, last month). New, long awaited releases from both Peter Bagge and Dan Clowes, some tough to track down underground arrivals at Green Apple, a couple of new collections of classics, and the return of a both Old Man Logan and Dogs & Water, two books I was worried we wouldn't get back in stock. So without too much ado, here's the lowdown:

- Peter Bagge's Other Lives is a story about identity. It's focus is on the lives of three men, former outcast college students, geeks as it were, once obsessed with role playing games now living in a real world where technology has developed in a way that they may finally pursue their fantasies, albeit from behind a laptop. Perhaps that synopsis makes the book sound a bit slow (who wants to read about a bunch of losers?), but once I picked it up I couldn't put it down. The story is not truly about geeks, but more about a crippling culture over-saturated with multimedia. Bagge remains one of the best contemporary voices in graphic fiction.

- Dan Clowes' Wilson is presented in a single gag-per-page, almost Sunday strip format with an odd connectivity between strips to create the book's story arc. It is an episodic journey through the life of a middle aged egoist, masterfully illustrated in an array of different styles. I recommend this article posted on Blog Flume entitled A Few Ways to Think About Wilson if you're interested in reading more. It was written by Ken Parille, editor of the upcoming book Daniel Clowes: Conversations (Conversations With Comic Artists).

[ A quick note before continuing- Dan Clowes will be appearing at The Booksmith on Haight Street, on May 13th. I believe you need to buy tickets? I'm sure the folks at The Booksmith will be happy to give you all the information you need. ]

- Yoshihiro Tatsumi's Black Blizzard has finally been reprinted, with a new cover design by Adrian Tomine & Tim Hensley. Basically the story is a hard boiled crime kind of novel. It was written about fifty years ago, but what I'd like to highlight is the fact that it's one of the very few Manga comics I've ever found myself invested in. Tatsumi's style was groundbreaking in its time, and he's influenced generations of Japanese artists since his initial debut. Very much worth taking a look at.

- The Complete Milt Gross is not only one of the most fascinating collections of work by an original American comic genius, but it features a fold in introduction by Al Jaffe! Remember MAD fold ins?! Classic!

Okay, that's all for now. I've been away for a month and the work sure has piled up. More comic news next time. All right? Good luck.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

James Beard Awards 2010

Winners of the James Beard Foundation awards were announced Sunday night in New York City. We're proud to note that we already had at least one copy of every winning book when the awards were announced, save one (Pasta Sfoglia, which should be here in a few days).

The honorees included:

Cookbook of the Year: The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews
American Cooking: Real Cajun by Donald Link with Paula Disbrowe
Baking and Dessert:
Baking by James Peterson
Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology by Randall Grahm
Cooking from a Professional Point of View:
The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts by The French Culinary Institute with Judith Choate
General Cooking: Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
Healthy Focus:
Love Soup: 160 All-New Vegetarian Recipes by Anna Thomas
Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way, photographs by Santiago Solo Monllor
Reference and Scholarship: Encyclopedia of Pasta by Oretta Zanini de Vita, translated by Maureen B. Fant
Single Subject:
Pasta Sfoglia by Ron Suhanosky and Colleen Suhanosky
Writing and Literature:
Save the Deli by David Sax
Cookbook Hall of Fame:
A Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden

Monday, May 3, 2010

Poem of the Week by Luljeta Lleshanaku

Happy Monday. This week's poem is from Child of Nature by Luljeta Lleshanaku (New Directions Press, 2010). Translated from the Albanian by Henry Israeli and Shpresa Qatipi. Enjoy.

Shadows on the Snow

The snow comes late this year. Violet shadows
doze like shepherds around
a white fire.
The swaying shadow of a fence looks like a woman's clavicle--
a woman who dreams of her lover's journey home through the snow,
his late return.

Thin trails lead to the doorway.
A car parked for hours
compresses black earth.
Radio signals float out of earshot.
A boat with its eel fishers
in luminous raincoats skims by.
A child--his little hands trembling--
casts slanting trees across the table.

The choir kneels.
The moment has come to speak
in a voice I have never known before.

I raise my head and see a single star in the night sky
shapeless and fearful like the shard of a broken bottleneck,
a star I have for years foolishly followed.
Perhaps the shadow of my infinite persistence
looks like a large hill
on the moon, a camel bent over a puddle
preparing for a new stretch of thirst.