What are you giving for the holidays?

I would be giving everyone Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, but it’s still only available in expensive hardcover. The books I planning to give away this year are varied, but the ones that seem to appear most frequently are Urban Tribes, Don’t Think of an Elephant and Tobias Wolff’s Old School. I’m also recommending that anyone who wants to give me something, donate to one of the following organizations: 826 Valencia, 826 NYC, the Webb-Waring Institute, or the International Crisis Group.

Vendela Vida, Andrew Sean Greer, and ZZ Packer

I attended the City Arts & Lectures event featuring those three local authors. Andrew Sean Greer was absolutely hilarious. Greer, btw, spent the past semester teaching at CUNY’s Hunter campus in New York. Speaking of New York, Packer quoted Vida on the difference between the literary environments in San Francisco and Manhattan: “In New York people read reviews of your book. In San Francisco people read your book.” Unfortunately, the event’s moderator Oscar Villalon—the book review editor at the San Francisco Chronicle—did not seem prepared at all for the interview. His questions were general and his comments banal. Sorry, Oscar. We know you love books, but, perhaps, you should stay away from doing these literary interview things. I know, I know, I vowed not to be snarky.