Operation Water Dump (and a library of literary podcasts—updated!)

I don’t read this chapter of the Cactus Eaters live any more because it makes me so darned thirsty that I get dry spots in my throat. No kidding. The very last time I read it, I was at the Rotary Club in Sebastopol (excellent group) and I drank an unbelievable amount of water. Anyhow, this broadcast is part of the sound library at the Writer’s Block on KQED, here in SF. This program is great because it gives you a chance to hear selections from books in the authors’ voices. I want you to take this evening and listen to some of my recommendations: Junot Diaz Zoe Ferraris. Sigrid Nunez. Sloane Crosley. Kate Atkinson. Daniel Handler. Rodes Fishburne. Lysley Tenorio. Mary Roach. Amy Tan. John Wray. David Sedaris. Peter Malae. Andrew Sean Greer. Kim Addonizio. I have to run now (literally) but I’ll post more soon. http://cactuseaters.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

My lap top exploded

This explains why I’ve been mostly AWOL from your messages for the past week or so; it flashed the infamous “blue screen of death,” and became completely non-functional while I was in the middle of an intense writing session over at Coffee to the People, which is my de facto office these days. The issue has been resolved, at last, so I’ll get back to you soon, about my SF writing class and other things. http://cactuseaters.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Nature writing and hiking — in San Francisco!

Following the success of my nature writing/hiking class down in the Pogonip Meadow, in Santa Cruz, I’m setting up a hiking/nature writing seminar up here in San Francisco. Contact me directly through this blog if you’re interested, (cactus.eaters@yahoo.com) and we’ll be in contact soon. Looking forward to reading and sharing your writing this summer. http://cactuseaters.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

A great conversation

Thanks to the large, attentive crowd that showed up yesterday to the Andrew Sean Greer conversation. I hope to moderate another event soon. See you then. No one recorded the interview (as far as I know) so you just had to be there, but he talked a lot about the origins of his latest two books, his connection to old San Francisco, and his feelings about the “Benjamin Button” brouhaha. Good times. http://cactuseaters.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

We’re not the same person

Tomorrow’s Booksmith event should also clear up a bit of confusion. I have a (very vague) physical resemblance to Andrew Greer. In fact, I once went to a book store in the Marina –and the book store staff gave me a stack of his books to sign!! It happened again in another bookstore (in another city. Alos, just a couple of days ago, a friend saw Greer’s photo at the Booksmith and thought I was doing an author’s appearance there. And the weird thing is, we really don’t look that much alike. By the way, I somehow got into the Elvis Costello concert. It was great! He was in excellent voice, and did a bunch of numbers from his new, “old-time” bluesgrassy album. He also pulled out an oldie from “My Aim Is True.” It was pretty cool to see him put on a performance in, of all places, my…

A conversation with Andrew Sean Greer at the Booksmith

This coming week, I will be leading a conversation with Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Confessions of Max Tivoli and The Story of a Marriage. The event is free and takes place at the Booksmith, here in SF, at 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday. He is appearing at the Booksmith to mark the recent release of The Story of a Marriage in paperback. He is a haunting, lyrical writer who delves deeply into the strange, unsettling history of this city. P.S. — in other news, Elvis Costello is going to play the Amoeba here in the Haight tomorrow!!! Camp out early. http://cactuseaters.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Farm City

Novella Carpenter read from her hilarious and informative urban farming memoir, Farm City, in the Haight last night. I’ve only just started to read this book, but it’s a hoot so far. Carpenter has a working farm that squats on a piece of land in a rough part of Oakland. In spite of the loud traffic noise, she’s created a thriving environment for vegetables, goats and pigs; in fact, her book has a terrific scene that involves Carpenter dumpster-diving, in a tony part of Oakland, in search of victuals for her discerning, fussy porklings. That scene alone is worth the price of admission. It is clear, from reading the book, that Carpenter is no dilettante; the book is very funny, but she is dead serious about farming, food, and waging war on chicken-killing possums. http://cactuseaters.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Innovative neighborhood book stores: reader swaps and book deliveries

Every once in a while, I blog about various neighborhood bookstores doing interesting/weird/crazy stuff that runs against the grain of traditional bookstore practices. One of my favorite little shops, Cover to Cover Booksellers in Noe Valley, (on 1307 Castro Street, here in SF) now offers free delivery directly to your house (as long as your house isn’t very far from Noe Valley.) Even if you order a big fat book that is many hundreds of pages and weighs many, many pounds, such as the new one by Peter Matthiesen, which weighs 170 kilos (I’ve bench-pressed this book), they will still deliver it for free, as if your book were a pizza. Here in the Haight, another neighborhood store, The Booksmith, is having a “lit minded mixture” on the evening of Friday, June 19th. They will close the store early, dim the lights, supply the food and drinks — and if…