Archive for May, 2006

HERE IS TIJUANA!, by Fiamma Montezemolo, et al.
(Black Dog Publishing, $29.95; release date May 31, 2006)

Published on May 31, 2006

This hyper-intellectualized assessment of Tijuana succeeds in spite of itself. Burdened by an academic, postmodern sensibility, Here is Tijuana! over-analyzes the elusive significance of the city’s “urban space” and cultural milieu. But if you cast aside the nagging impression that the books’ editors are trying to prove some kind of esoteric political point, you can [...]

TRIANGLE, by Katharine Weber
(Farrar Straus Giroux, $23; release date June 13, 2006)

Published on

Unless you’re the type who purposely searches out snippets about disasters, you go your whole life hardly ever hearing about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire — a 1911 inferno in an overcrowded New York sweatshop which resulted in the deaths of many poor young female workers. And then suddenly, about five years ago, boom: Like the fire [...]

FUN HOME, by Alison Bechdel
(Houghton Mifflin, $19.95; release date June 8, 2006)

Published on May 30, 2006

She only ever saw her parents kiss once, and that was just a “chaste peck on the cheek.” In this engaging cartoon-as-memoir, Lambda Award-winning comics artist Bechdel searches through layers of incident and artifact for the truth about her father, a style-conscious, aesthetically inclined funeral-home director (hence the book’s title) and English teacher who was [...]

(Backbeat Books, $16.95; release date June 3, 2006)

Published on May 29, 2006

This collection of essays from the legendary Rolling Stone journalist — forever immortalized as a character in the 2000 film Almost Famous — spans decades and musical genres, from Janis Joplin to Sheryl Crow, Frank Sinatra to Al Green. Fong-Torres fans might be disappointed to see far too many essays from the ’80s and ’00s, [...]

THE ANZA TRAIL, by Vladimir Guerrero
(Heyday Books, $16.95; release date June 1, 2006)

Published on

California is so modern — so post-modern — that one hardly thinks of it as a place that needed to be discovered. But once, long ago, the land we now know of as California was unknown to anyone except for a few small bands of Native Americans. The Anza Trail tells a story that for [...]

(Plume, $13; release date May 30, 2006)

Published on May 25, 2006

To truly “get” this book, it helps to be a poker lover. Or, failing that, to have played a fair amount of poker. Or, failing that, to at least have played some sort of card game, sometime, and to know the rules — because this account by a journalist and all-around regular guy of his [...]

(Bullfight Media, $8; release date May 16, 2006)

Published on May 19, 2006

Novellas are the violas of the book world: everyone sort of knows what they are but, compared to their bigger and smaller siblings — in this case, novels and short stories — they keep such a low profile that few of us can say we’ve actually read one. Kesey, an American who lives in China [...]

STAGGER LEE, by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix
(Image Comics, $17.99; release date May 9, 2006)

Published on May 18, 2006

You’ve gotta wonder why one little murder in St. Louis, in 1895 — a guy shooting a guy in a bar — would unleash a flood of folk songs immortalizing the killer, a carriage driver whom some say was a pimp. But it did, and the legend lives on through recordings by everyone from Woody [...]

INTELLIGENT THOUGHT: Science Versus the Intelligent Design Movement, edited by John Brockman
(Vintage, $14; release date May 9, 2006)

Published on May 17, 2006

The “debate” (and even that term is overly kind) between evolution and the repackaged creationism known as “intelligent design” has been played out on local school boards and in the editorial offices of textbook publishers across the country for almost a decade now. (And for over a century before that under different euphemisms as well.) [...]

Cody’s Bookstore in Berkeley to close

Published on May 15, 2006

One of the biggest and most iconic bookstores in one of America’s biggest book-towns is soon to be no more. Cody’s Books on Berkeley’s famous Telegraph Avenue will shut down in July. Hands are wringing from coast to coast, and the wringers wail: “But why?” Well, because of money. And how not to make any. [...]