Unusual Sunday

Yesterday evening, while we were waiting for the Chris Botti concert at Davies to begin, hubby decided to call son. Son told us it was raining in Redwood City (!!@@). San Francisco, too, was overcast, and there were a few light sprinkles. The plate-glass windows of Davies steamed up, young women in short dresses danced to the tunes of a jazz band in the lobby. (It made us sad, though, to see how many, many homeless there were, standing with their hands out, on practically every street corner, up and down Van Ness. More homeless people than self has ever seen, in all the years she’s been going to the City)

Today, though self would dearly love to just settle down with a good book, she has to give a reading. She still hasn’t decided just what to read. Hubby and son say they might go, which would be the first time either of them has attended one of self’s readings in something like 10 years–!!! No, that’s not quite right: son did go to a reading that self gave in Kaleo CafĂ© in the Inner Sunset, about three years ago (a reading organized by the resourceful and wonderful Annabelle Udo). But the last one hubby attended was at Eastwind Books in Berkeley, for an anthology called Tilting the Continent, which appeared over a decade ago.

There are both good and bad things about having family at a reading. On the one hand, you are assured of at least one person in the audience. On the other hand, you have to choose what you read more carefully. Ha ha ha ha ha!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

What Self Learned This Evening While Browsing at Books, Inc.

The Chris Botti concert at Davies was loads of fun! But first self wants to share with dear blog readers some of the things she learned while spending over an hour browsing in Books, Inc. in Opera Plaza on Van Ness.

Self decided to look at the anthologies of the O. Henry Literature Prize (2009) and Best American Short Stories (2008). After perusing the Tables of Contents of these anthologies, self came to the conclusion that the O. Henry is the more interesting collection.

BASS 2008 was guest-edited by Salman Rushdie. The eminent man ended up choosing stories from (Don’t hold your breath) The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Ploughshares, The Paris Review and several other “established” literary journals. Self might as well read The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s etc etc. Why would she need to read Best American Short Stories? Just because these stories have been further anointed by Salman Rushdie?

The O. Henry anthology at least seemed to have a wider net. At least, self distinctly remembers reading a story that was first published in Grain. There was another one from The Florida Review. And one from Third Coast that self remembers reading and being struck by. And the O. Henry still includes a section at the back where the writers talk about the genesis of their respective stories. (Only, the list of “Recommended Stories” — that is, stories that made it to the short list but not to the final published volume — has shrunk to about five???)

There was one story that was in both the Best American Short Stories 2008 and the O. Henry Prize Stories 2009. Self forgets whose story it was. Deepest apologies, dear blog readers!

There’s a section of Books, Inc. that features “Books Set in L.A.” Now, that was interesting. Of course, the display included Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays. But, self looked in vain for a section on “Books Set in San Francisco,” and there was none. How come only L.A. gets the distinction of having a separate section all to itself?

Also, self sprang for a Marie Claire with Katherine Heigl on the cover, and nearly choked when the cashier told her it was $8.99. Turns out the issue was the UK edition. The American edition (much thinner) has Fergie of the Black-Eyed Peas on the cover, and seems about only half as thick. But, at least it only costs $3.99.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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