Literature

Bleak frames and guilt

David Lester depicts the shadowy relationship between words and actions in The Listener

|
(0)

arts@sfbg.com

LIT From the first page, an anonymous manifesto denouncing the pharmaceutical industry, to a bronze sculpture of a suppressed anti-Nazi headline from the Lippische Tages-Zeitung weighted down by a giant hammer and nails on the last, David Lester's graphic novel The Listener (Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 304 pages, $19.95) explores how words often fail their intended purpose, precipitating actions with unforeseen consequences.Read more »

This place

More than one take on the words and visions of Rebecca Solnit's award-winning Infinite City

|
(0)

arts@sfbg.com

LIT Begun in part as a series of maps accompanying public lectures, Rebecca Solnit's Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas (University of California Press, 167 pages, $24.95) is a remarkable act of gathering, one that presents myriad versions and visions of San Francisco and its surrounding areas that can inform a reader's experience.Read more »

Ghosts in the machine

Matthew Zapruder's poems are built to last

|
(0)

LIT According to the Bureau of Invented Statistics, 99.9 percent of all poetry disappears into the void. This rate remains steady throughout history, though at certain times and places the figure undergoes radical fluctuations, plummeting to as low as 99 percent. Such periods are eventually given names like the San Francisco Renaissance, or the Elizabethan Renaissance. I mention this because I think Bay Area poetry has quietly entered one of those periods. Read more »

Tome time

The 30th Northern California Book Awards honors the best in Bay Area publishing

|
(0)

Cult fiction

Introducing Taylor Stevens, your favorite new thriller author — whose own story has some twists

|
(0)

arts@sfbg.com

LIT I read a lot of thrillers. Mysteries, murder, international intrigue, weird pulp crime ... I've been addicted since I was in high school and discovered John D. McDonald, Alistair McLean, and Trevanian. These days, I live by James Patterson, Michael Connolly, Robert B. Parker, Janet Evanovich, Lee Child, and John Lescroart.Read more »

Burn this culture

"I didn't want to write a love letter": Steven T. Jones talks about his new book on Burning Man

|
(0)

Back to the streets

The Mission and the revolution, as lived and told by Roberto Vargas

|
(2)

Coronel knew an old man in Granada who said

(who often said):

"I wish I were a foreigner, so that I

Could go home

— Zero Hour, Ernesto Cardenal

I first came into contact with the work of poet Roberto Vargas a couple of years ago, when I saw his face, projected several stories tall, on a wall just off Valencia Street.Read more »

Crazy like a Mission homeboy

Barrio Bushido author Benjamin Bac Sierra reveals his code

|
(1)

caitlin@sfbg.com

LIT Benjamin Bac Sierra, San Francisco City College English composition and literature professor and author of Barrio Bushido, an ode to Mission District vato locos, picks me up in his cherry red-and-black 1972 Chevy Monte Carlo low rider. As an academic who started selling weed in the Army Street projects when he was 10, Bac Sierra is well aware that he has an attention-getting car. As it turns out, it nicely represents his world view.Read more »

Eat, pray, defend chick lit

Elizabeth Gilbert isn't as lame as you think

|
(1)

caitlin@sfbg.com

LIT I read Eat, Pray Love a while ago, and I'm nervous to tell you that I liked it. Ever since bottle blonde Julia Roberts assumed her best worried-kitten face for the book's film version, no self-respecting lit snob would ever admit to having enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert's account of her year of finances-be-damned travel, healing from divorce, and fulminations on the belabored pursuit of love.Read more »

Page street

YEAR IN LIT: A small assortment of Bay Area book highlights from 2010

|
(0)

Rebecca Solnit's Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas (University of California Press, 158 pages, $24.95) is one of the best ideas a writer has come up with in a long time. By combining private and public support, Solnit was able to give away portions of the atlas in full-color, full-spread map handouts. (My favorite tracked both famous/infamous queer public spaces and the migration of butterflies throughout the city.). Read more »