7) The first chapter of this former newspaper serialist’s beloved Russian Hill-based stories was pub’d in Marin’s Pacific Sun. Upon it’s first "SF Chronicle" appearance, a drunk Rock Hudson read the story aloud to friends (including the author), in his Fairmont Hotel room in (big hint) 1976. True story!
In a gloomy corner of hell reserved for readers, the damned clutch copies of the books they dislike most. The masters of scholarly misunderstanding and the critics who turned a profit on review copies fight over the armchairs in which no one may sit. Instead, they crouch in the corners, where a little light lingers, trying to decipher the notes on the backs of their hands. Sometimes they open the books they carry and gaze dumbfounded at the space between the lines. The room is lined with shelves and the shelves are crammed with books, more books than you could read if you lived to be two hundred years old, but the damned, who have all the time in the world, are not allowed to touch.
Yesterday I escaped from the bookstore (and our super-busy used book buy counter) to work an off-site event at Fort Mason Center for the annual Gambero Rosso Italian Wine tasting. And while I didn't get a chance to sample any of the hundreds of wines being poured, I did manage to talk with oodles of Italian wine fans, a cult-like crew that brimmed with excitement for the 2012 Italian Wine Guide!
Look at 9/11, the (most recent) Iraq war, the bank bailouts of 2008... What do these events have in common? Decisions made by the powers-that-be were incompetent at best, deceitful and irrepairably harmful towards the other end. Who paid, by which I mean, who got in trouble? No one. Three planes crash into landmarks, the weapons of mass destruction lie gets repeated endlessly, and the largest businesses are rewarded for going broke, taking millions of citizens with them. No one is held accountable.
As we approached the previous holiday season, a book appeared here at the store, deceptively simple, yet carrying a strong moral lesson. Thankfully, it's a kid's book -- I've given up on adults.
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (Candlewick Press) tells the story of a bear in crisis. The bear reaches out to his community, to no avail. Then, in a flash of insight, our ursine protagonist realizes a particular individual has broken the forest code. Measures are taken--radical measures, by some standards--but for sure the perpetrator will never wrong another furry friend, fish, or fowl.
Personally, I was quite taken with this title. One thing so often lacking in our society is consequences. Here is a story where the wheels of justice grind quick as well as small.
Soon I became aware of the backlash to Klassen's fine work. In this critique, the bear is equated with the victimizer. An innocent, our hero is shocked when exposed to devious behavior. The bear later utilizes these novel tactics.
Supposedly this behavior is inappropriate for children. The other day, a semi-distraught customer returned the book for this reason. Having perused the tome many times, I am convinced this interpretation is highly problematic, as well as underestimating the intellectual capabilities of youth.
The crux of the difficulty lies with adults believing children will identify with the bear. This is not the case. The bear, a sweetheart when not riled, is a simple-minded type. Being bamboozled so easily is evidence of this. The child does not identify with the bear. The book builds confidence in children by having kids perceive themselves as smarter, more worldly, than the bear. Kids would not be fooled as easily as our hero is. Likewise, the fibs so new to the bear are hardly new to children. And of course, children love seeing the villain get it.
It is protection from consequences which stunts growth and development. Denying children a chance to grapple with ethical issues, in the guise of 'protecting' them, will have the same result
No, we're not installing a cafe at Green Apple. Not with Schubert's, Toy Boat, the Blue Danube and many other fine options on Clement Street.
- Devil's Teeth Baking Company (3876 Noriega @ 45th Ave). Our first partner, a fantastic family owned bakery on a lively stretch of Noriega. The lemon bar, the $5 BLT and the sourdough bread are worth the trip!
- Beachside Coffee Bar and Kitchen (4300 Judah @ 48th Ave). From the owners of Java Beach comes this newish cafe with cutting edge coffee and a solid menu of hearty fare, like the Irish Breakfast sandwich.
- Bazaar Cafe (5927 California Street @ 21st Ave). A lovely cafe, alive with neighborhood love and frequent live music.
- Cafe Divis (359 Divisadero @ Oak). Blue Bottle coffee, a variety of panini, and a wine bar all rolled into one.
Over 200 dealers from all across the globe will be hawking their wares, and while I’m always impressed with the scope of tomes on display, it should go without saying that Booth 312 will dazzle you the most. Was that too subtle? Then how about this: Green Apple Books will bring the best of our best, and we will be at Booth 312 all weekend.
What is the best of our best, you ask? How about a batch of Arion Press titles, including The Great Gatsby and Coney Island of the Mind; The Variorum Edition of the Poems of W.B. Yeats, SIGNED by Yeats; The deluxe edition of Danny Lyon’s Knave of Hearts, limited to 50 copies, and including a SIGNED print; SIGNED first editions from Ansel Adams, Haruki Murakami, Wayne Thiebaud, Maurice Sendak, Edward Abbey, Tasha Tudor, Robert Crumb, and many others. Did I say dazzling? I do believe that I did. But without a doubt, my personal favorite is the true first edition of Ambrose Bierce’s landmark story collection, Can Such Things Be? published in 1893. Oh, wait – maybe it’s the hand-numbered copy of Raymond Pettibon’s Pig Cupid. No, it would really have to be the beautiful, SIGNED first edition of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test – man, what a way out signature. AAAAaahhhhh!
Please slide by Booth 312 and say “Hi” – show hours are from 10 to 7 on Saturday, Feb. 4th and from 11 to 5 on Sunday the 5th. Free appraisal service on-site during Sunday, and a discounted admission coupon is available HERE.