Diary Of An Oxygen Thief by Anonymous

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  • this book was recommended to me in a cool way
  • 5% chance it was recommended to me by the author
  • 8% chance the author was present at the recommending
  • it’s the right length for a book
  • it’s the right size for a book
  • it’s compelling
  • there’s a coolness to it

and

  • it did send a chill down my spine.

Reminded me of another dark and mysterious book:

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The first page of DoaOT gives a good sense of where we’re headed:

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Intrigued by this article about the author’s campaign to promote the book which he originally self-published in Amsterdam in 2006:

Intent on building underground buzz for the book, the author focused on promotional efforts that would make people google the book’s title. From his limited sales in bookshops he felt confident that he could land readers by getting the book’s cover (which features a picture of a snowman whose carrot nose has been repositioned to look like a penis) seen, and its title shared.

With this in mind, the author went out into the streets of New York and put up posters. Some featured profane statements and the book’s title; others simply displayed the book’s cover. The posters of the book’s cover were placed side by side on scaffolding, in the wheat-pasting tradition, to mimic ads promoting bands and albums that often dot urban landscapes. To draw readers in another way, the author created a fake profile on a popular dating website—he declined to say which one—with photos of a beautiful woman. The profile directed potential suitors to read a book called Diary of an Oxygen Thief. “I gave the impression that, if they were to read this book, they might have more of an amorous chance with me,” he said. Again, as with the posters, the goal was to get people to plug the book’s title into their Web browsers.

Now I’ve done my part.


Wonder Trail reviewers’ guide

books in box

Books arrived!

The main character of my last book had some rough things to say about book reviewers.  That was part of the joke.  Me?  I’ve always rooted for book reviewers.  They have a tough job.  Newspapers shrinking, etc.  I am on the book reviewers side.  This site is largely amateur book reviewing.  It’s easy (and cheap) to write a bad review.  Hard to write a good one.

Let me make things as easy as possible for anyone reviewing of my book.

If you’ve been assigned the job, or if you want to pitch it and take it on freelance (her0), let me help you with this handy reviewers’ kit to The Wonder Trail:

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If you’re brave enough to volunteer?  At your local publication?  God bless.  (Happy to answer your interview questions, write me.)

Print that helpful guide out.  Download it.  All those phrases are free to use.

Start each paragraph on one and you’ll be done in no time!

* this one from actual human reader Margot B. who I don’t know but who very kindly wrote in after winning a copy in the Great Debates Newsletter contest.  

Thanks, and good luck!


Fault Fun

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Very happy with this purchase of David K. Lynch’s Field Guide To The San Andreas Fault.
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Good charts.  IMG_4002

Plus, fun style.
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Didn’t know we barely nick the top ten ever in the US!
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Reading up on author David K. Lynch I am delighted to learn:

Back in the 70’s, he was proclaimed “Frisbee Immortal” by the Wham-O company. Dave’s recreational activities include playing the fiddle in assorted southern California bands, camping, collecting rocks and rattlesnakes and reading the New Yorker.

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You wish!  Can’t wait to hit the road and start looking for scarps. scarp

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Will definitely check out Lynch’s Color and Light In Nature.

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A+ to this book

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Unauthorized excerpt:

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Lot of the feel of David Markson’s books, Boyland’s copies of which I read all in one fall in NYC.

This novel contains much information and true stories in it, which I always enjoy:

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This was so interesting was that I looked into more about Komarov:

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He successfully re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere on his 19th orbit, but the module’s drogue and main braking parachute failed to deploy correctly and the module crashed into the ground, killing Komarov. According to the 1998 bookStarman, by Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony, as Komarov sped towards his death, U.S. listening posts in Turkey picked up transmissions of him crying in rage, “cursing the people who had put him inside a botched spaceship.”

Komarov

As always, the more you read about the story the more interesting it gets.  Did they really hear his screams?

Komorov is one of the people honored in the Fallen Astronaut memorial left on the moon by David Scott on the Apollo 15 mission.

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If you’re looking for that it’s over on the Hadley Rille:

Hadley Rille

According to NASA, the origin of lunar sinuous rilles remains controversial.[1] The Hadley Rille is a 1.5 km wide and over 300 m deep sinuous rille. It is thought to be a giant conduit that carried lava from an eruptive vent far to the south. Topographic information obtained from the Apollo 15 photographs supports this possibility; however, many puzzles about the rille remain.

 


Hurray for Bookstores!

 

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Bookstores are so pretty.  Here is a bookstore I saw in Barcelona.  I mean man.

Some of my all-time favorites are The Harvard Book Store in Cambridge:

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Marfa Book Company in Marfa, TX:

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Elliot Bay Books in Seattle:

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(their Instagram is like 50% adorable dogs)

and Three Lives Books in NYC:

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LA is a great bookstore town, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  There is Book Soup, right on the Sunset Strip:

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And Skylight:

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The Last Bookstore is almost like a book theme park:

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Iliad Books in North Hollywood:

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And the granddaddy in Pasadena, Vroman’s:

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I will be coming to some bookstores to promote my new book, The Wonder Trail: True Stories From Los Angeles To The End Of The World, in June of this year.  My book cover straight up looks good:

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and will brighten any bookstore.  Can’t take the credit for that, it goes to kickass cover designer Anna Laytham, who says:

I’ve done a fair bit of traveling myself in the last couple years, and as a designer find all the vibrant color and beautifully imperfect handtype to be one of my favorite parts of being in an unfamiliar place. I was happy to express some of that feeling on your cover!
And hell yeah people judge books by their cover! I certainly do. Thats why I design them🙂

Especially looking forward to a trip down to Laguna Beach Books:

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If you work in a bookstore and want me to come visit, get at me!

helphely@gmail.com.  If at all possible I would love to do it.

And thank you for your great service to our nation!

(photo credits: Helytimes / Harvard Book Store / Marfa Book Co. Facebook / Elliot Bay insta / Google Street View / Google Street View / Skylight Twitter / Helytimes / Iliad Twitter / Helytimes / Rachel Orminston Caffoe for Vroman’s found here

World’s oldest liberry

al Qarawiyyin

The ancient al-Qarawiyyin Library in Fez isn’t just the oldest library in Africa. Founded in 859, it’s the oldest working library in the world, holding ancient manuscripts that date as far back as 12 centuries.

so I learn from this interesting thing linked by Tyler Cowen.

The al-Qarawiyyin Library was created by a woman, challenging commonly held assumptions about the contribution of women in Muslim civilization. The al-Qarawiyyin, which includes a mosque, library, and university, was founded by Fatima El-Fihriya, the daughter of a rich immigrant from al-Qayrawan (Tunisia today). Well educated and devout, she vowed to spend her entire inheritance on building a mosque and knowledge center for her community.

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picture of Fatima from this strange pseudo wikipedia: http://america.pink/fatima-fihri_1528345.html

Among the library hounds was Ibn Khaldun who wrote Muqaddim, The Introduction, which is full of interesting ideas:

Topics dealt with in this work include politics, urban life, economics, and knowledge. The work is based around Ibn Khaldun’s central concept of ‘‘aṣabiyyah, which has been translated as “social cohesion“, “group solidarity”, or “tribalism“. This social cohesion arises spontaneously in tribes and other small kinship groups; it can be intensified and enlarged by a religious ideology. Ibn Khaldun’s analysis looks at how this cohesion carries groups to power but contains within itself the seeds – psychological, sociological, economic, political – of the group’s downfall, to be replaced by a new group, dynasty or empire bound by a stronger (or at least younger and more vigorous) cohesion.

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By م ض – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6287905

Perhaps the most frequently cited observation drawn from Ibn Khaldūn’s work is the notion that when a society becomes a great civilization (and, presumably, the dominant culture in its region), its high point is followed by a period of decay. This means that the next cohesive group that conquers the diminished civilization is, by comparison, a group of barbarians. Once the barbarians solidify their control over the conquered society, however, they become attracted to its more refined aspects, such as literacy and arts, and either assimilate into or appropriate such cultural practices. Then, eventually, the former barbarians will be conquered by a new set of barbarians, who will repeat the process. Some contemporary readers of Khaldun have read this as an early business cycle theory, though set in the historical circumstances of the mature Islamic empire.

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By Khonsali – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4550966


How to pronounce Broad

Broad

If you are on Instagram in LA you have seen probably six hundred pictures of The Broad art museum downtown.

inside broad

How did Broad get so rich?  “Moving money around,” was my guess. Part right: he started a homebuilding company, KB Home, and then when that was up and going he started another company, SunAmerica, for retirement savings / mutual funds.  Learning this from the man’s book:

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which also gives a final answer on how to pronounce the name:

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To summarize: everybody has to say it weird because he didn’t like getting teased as a boy.

(photos of the Broad yanked right off LA Curbed)