Who doesn’t love to receive good things in the mail? Don’t you just get all warm and tingly when, amidst the Costco flyers and PG&E bills, you find something you really want? Such is the joy of the Apple-a-Month Club, from Green Apple Books in San Francisco. My first goodie arrived last week, packaged in brown paper with twine: Cervantes Street, by Jamie Manrique.
“Cervantes Street” is historical fiction at its best. Compact and intense… The characters are wonderfully draw, the environments are detailed and colorful and the feeling is genuine… a gripping, adventuresome novel with profound insight into the ways in which we choose our destiny.” –New York Journal of Books
The folks at Green Apple Books give you one more reason to shop indie in this hilarious “election year message.” Play it. Laugh. Share it. Then get thee to Green Apple, or whatever your local bookstore is, and shop with the people who know about books.
There’s a great post by Molly over at the Green Apple Core about reading while not actually reading:
Last night, though, while reading what is so far a very good book in such an environment, I suddenly sat up straighter with a startled feeling, like I’d just come around a corner in my own brain and caught myself doing something that always makes me feel guilty…
Funny, I was just talking to my husband about a similar kind of experience the other day. I’d been reading a bedtime book to my son, and at one point my son asked me, “What just happened?” and I had no idea. It was a Roald Dahl book, and though I adore Roald Dahl, I had to go back several pages to get my bearings. Even the pictures didn’t ring a bell. In my mind I’d been playing out conversations from earlier in the day, making plans, etc.
Aside from the obvious fact that I was not being at all “in the moment,” what’s strange and even a little exciting to me about this experience is the fact that the mind manages to process the printed words themselves without absorbing meaning, while simultaneously processing and analyzing an entirely different set of words and images…it’s as though there’s a parallel universe at work in the mind. The double-chambered brain. Which of course brings to mind all those theories about how little of our gray matter we actually use at any given moment. Could a single person, for example, work two jobs simultaneously–one in person and one remotely, by aid of some as-yet-undiscovered technology? Would it be possible to be completely tuned in and attentive to two different channels in the mind at the same time?
Under the tree on Christmas morning, a swell stash of books that my personal Santa picked up from Green Apple
The Jokers, by Albert Cossery
I know nothing about this book, which is precisely why I love Green Apple: Santa will always find something he didn’t know he was looking for.
A House with No Roof, by Rebecca Wilson
A memoir by the daughter of labor leader Dow Wilson, who was murdered when the author was 3. Wilson writes about growing up with and later caring for a loving but mercurial mother, in the shadow of Rebecca’s violent and much older brother, Lee, in Bolinas, California. With an introduction by Anne Lamott. I’m not sure why, but I read this book in one day. It is a coming of age tale that focuses not on the murder itself but rather on the repercussions of the father’s death on the individual members of the author’s family.
The Ice Princess, by Camilla Lackberg.
A few years ago, my husband bought me The Man on the Balcony, a Martin Beck mystery from the crime writing husband and wife team Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. I’d never read crime thrillers before, and my husband thought some easy reading might be relaxing. Well, I was hooked, and I quickly made my way through all of the Martin Beck mysteries. At the time, I thought of them as a guilty pleasure, but I’ve since dropped the “guilty” part and have come to consider a good thriller to be simply a great pleasure, guilt-free. Now, for every birthday, anniversary, and Christmas, along with a couple of novels in translation by writers I’ve never heard of , my husband gives me a crime thriller, and it’s usually the first in the stack to get read. Good writing is good writing, no matter the genre. The last great crime thriller I read, by the way, was The Boy in the Suitcase, by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis. Looking forward to diving in to The Ice Princess.
The Year of the Hare, by Arto Paasilinna
I haven’t started this one yet, but any book that the wonderful travel writer Pico Ayer wants to “live in” piques my curiosity.
If you go in for an element of surprise, join the Green Apple Book Club, whereby you receive a new book i in the mail each month, handpicked by the excellent Green Apple Guys, Pete & Kevin.
My Hollywood, by Mona Simpson: an incredibly nuanced take on the relationship between caregivers and the families who depend on them. Set in LA in the nineties, this book is a complex and thought-provoking counterpart to Kathryn Stockett’s The Help.