Ayelet Waldman, Berkeley's own New York Times best selling author, reportedly took time out from her summer vacation to weigh in on the denser downtown controversy. Opponents of the City Council approved plan to raise height limits in Downtown Berkeley have 20 days left in their 30 day signature drive to force city officials to reconsider, or put the plan to a vote of the people.
The email forwarded by Waldman originated from Livable Berkeley's Erin Rhoades, an outspoken proponent of building the maximum amount of new housing possible in the city center. It's nothing new that Rhoades is calling on people to avoid signing onto the referendum drive.
But Waldman's intro to the email (that she received from a trusted architect) is notable in that she calls the current downtown a "monstrous blot on our city" and a "sinkhole desperate for some decent urban planning." Concluding with "I love our town, but I am so goddamn sick of the myopic vision of some of its more vocal (and colorfully-dressed) citizens."
No word yet on where Berkeley's other best selling scribes stand on the issue. To date neither Michael Lewis (Money Ball, Liar's Poker) nor Waldman's own husband, Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon, have issued statements to the press.
— Eric Klein
To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Moe's Books, all staff members will wear grass skirts to a Hawaiian-style open-to-the-public hula party in the store from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on July 11.
In the early pages of Glen David Gold's new novel Sunnyside, Charlie Chaplin is sighted in more than 800 places at the same time on November 12, 1916.
This just in from Berkeley author Ayelet Waldman, who while touring with her new book Bad Mother and her husband/fellow novelist/Pulitzer winner Michael Chabon, wound up performing for the president at the White House this week, and sent me this email today:
What better way to launch a new publishing imprint that's all about hardboiled crime fiction than with a brand-new cocktail that cozies up to you all sweet and suave and friendly-like before making you stagger, wondering: How the heck did I get here?
When Ariel Schrag entered Berkeley High School as a freshman, she was a geeky grunge kid with a fixation on actress Juliet Lewis, and a best friend/boy toy who followed her everywhere. She chronicled her freshman year adventures in the comic book Awkward, penning events as they happened and self-publishing the following year - she then signed to Slave Labor Graphics at age 15, and began her sophomore year comic, Definition. In eleventh grade, Schrag's life got more and more interesting. She lost her virginity to a boy, got down with a girl for the first time, and earned membership in a hip crowd of dykes and punk chicks. Meanwhile, her comic book artistry got a lot more sophisticated.
Roughly a decade after graduating high school Schrag inked a deal with Simon & Schuster, which published Awkward & Definition as a paperback memoir last April. One month later the company released a paperback version of Potential, Schrag's episodic series about junior year, when she fell for the beautiful and enigmatic Sally Jultz. It took roughly ten years for Schrag to finally complete her high school chronicles with Likewise, which came out on April 7. During that time she studied English at Columbia University, shacked up in a windowless basement in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, worked as an envelope stuffer and phone sex operator, and served as story editor for the popular Showtime series, The L Word. She also signed on with Killer Films (producers of Kids and Boys Don't Cry) to write a screenplay for Potential.
At 359 pages, Likewise is Schrag's most ambitious and expressionist book. It starts off with an insular tale of heartbreak, self-doubt, identity affirmation, and girl angst, but ultimately devolves into experimental wordplay and frameplay (what some fans would call "Joycean"). It's by far one of the best artistic attempts to document life at Berkeley High School.
Ariel Schrag appears Tues., April 28, 7:30 p.m. at San Francisco's Booksmith (1644 Haight St.) with Gabrielle Bell.Check out Schrag reading Chapter 4 of Potential:
It was a sweep for East Bay authors at the 2009 Northern California Book Awards this week.
For being so green, University of California Press has just won a SustainPrint Award from Book Business and Publishing Executive magazines, it was announced yesterday.
To launch her passionate and fact-packed new book, Crazy fror Kanji: A Student's Guide to the Wonderful World of Japanese Characters, Berkeley author Eve Kushner hosted a Kanji Festival at Albany's Kasuga Restaurant on Saturday night.
New York megapublisher Random House has just purchased Berkeley-based Ten Speed Press, the much-loved font of such classics as King & King, Fat! So?, and What Color Is Your Parachute? Ten Speed founder Philip Wood will stay on as publisher emeritus. Random House executives have announced flat-out that the acquisition will mean a round of layoffs at 38-year-old Ten Speed, most likely in its distribution and warehousing divisions, according to Mediabistro.