David Denby, author of Snark, will be at Stacey’s Books (581 Market Street at Sansome St.) at 12:30pm. Author events at Stacey’s usually last about 45 minutes, so it’s even possible to fit into a long lunch break.
From Stacey’s website:
“New Yorker critic and bestselling author David Denby takes on snark—a tone of teasing, snide, undermining abuse, nasty and knowing, that is threatening to take over how Americans converse with each other and what they can count on as true. Denby offers that Snarkers like to think they are deploying wit, but mostly they are exposing the seethe and snarl of an unhappy country, releasing bad feeling but little laughter.”
It sounds like an interesting discussion. The stand-out snark examples that come to mind for me are blog commentors and maybe, albeit to a lesser extent, Rachel Maddow. The blog example is obvious — scroll down through the comments of popular blogs and you see plenty of anonymous rants and mean-spirited comments. On the Rachel Maddow Show, the snarkiness is less mean-spirited, but it’s still marked by a knowing, sarcastic tone and a bit of undermining abuse. Maybe it’s a good thing to have Rachel, to counteract the snark coming from the snarky rightwing commentators, but I guess despite being on Rachel’s side of the political fence, I’d rather get my news without the side of snark. In any case, it’ll be interesting to hear Denby. I’m adding the book to my to-read list.
My daily calendar has informed that today is the Feast Eve of St. John Bosco, patron saint of editors. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a patron saint of writers (turns out Francis de Sales has the job), but an editor? Score! I love how many odd things have a patron saint. Check out this list. So many! Stamp collectors, abdominal pains, and (my personal favorite) leaping. Next time you leap over that puddle, say a quick prayer to Saint Venantius.
I just did a quick read of John Bosco’s life and I can’t quite figure out why he would be particularly interested in helping out editors, and I also can’t help but wonder if he has time for us, what with his other duties as the patron saint of apprentices, boys, laborers, students, and young people. Still, being an editor/writer and Catholic, I’m all for partaking in some feast business this eve.
Sad news: The Washington Post is cutting Book World, its Sunday edition’s stand-alone book section. After February 15th, Book World will be available online, and book reviews will be in the print edition’s Outlook and Style & Arts section. Read more in this NY Times article. Every article about this news seems to note that there are only a few stand-alone book sections left in the country. They mention The New York Times Book Review, and sometimes the San Francisco Chronicle’s book review section within the Sunday Insight section, but nothing else. Is that it? Are there other stand-alone stragglers?
I just found out about what looks to be a fascinating exhibit at The San Francisco Center for the Book, called Wings for Words: New Bookworks from Korea and Japan. The exhibit showcases diverse bookworks of 14 contemporary artists in South Korea and Japan, from Ryoko Adachi’s bioethical interpretation of Jack and the Beanstalk, to Haran Kim’s sculptural Striped Dictionary, to Kyung Hee Kim’s stunning bird imagery in Plus & Minus.
The featured artists: Ryoko Adachi, Sangmi Chun, Hiroko Fukumoto, Ryo Hamada, Haran Kim, Kyung Hee Kim, Narae Kim, Kahoru Otani, Eunkyung Park, Veronika Shäpers, Kanako Shibata, Hea lim Shin, Mitsutaka Tanimoto, and Young Kil Yim. For several, this will be their first US showing.
Wings for Words is open now and runs through Friday April 17. More good news: it’s free!
For ages I’ve been wanting to check out the Porchlight storytelling series in San Francisco, a spoken word event in which 6 very different people get up and tell 10-minutes stories. Every night has a different theme, such as “The One That Got Away,” “Family: The Greatest Show on Earth,” “Kitchen Confidential,” and “On The Road.” Last night it was “The New Me: Stories of Reinvention.” Despite some good moments, it wasn’t as good as I hoped and expected. Maybe the theme was partly to blame, in that it lent itself to more sober stories. I’ll give it a second shot in a few months.
Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book has been awarded the John Newbery Medal, an award bestowed on an author for an outstanding contribution to children’s literature. I’m always looking for great children’s books to give to my favorite 9-year-old, and this one (which has been on the NY Times Bestseller List for months) really caught my eye, as it’s about a boy that lives in a graveyard and who is raised by ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery inhabitants. I read and liked Gaiman’s Stardust (his writings are not at all limited to children’s literature–see his bio here) so I can’t wait to check this one out.
Heads up to all socially conscious book lovers. Donate books to Better World Books and they’ll be helping promote literacy around the world. They’ll either be sold to generate funds for literacy programs around the world or sent to non-profit partners. Learn more about donating here: