Books by the Bay: Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull writes persuasively on "Creativity, Inc."
05/05/2014 12:00:00 PM PDT
05/09/2014 03:11:49 PM PDT
Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull shares his thoughts about the artistic impulse in "Creativity, Inc." A reclaimed novel by Don Carpenter, a Shakespearean farce by Christopher Moore, a biography of Bert Berns by Joel Selvin, and guides for Yosemite hikers and vacationing dog lovers complete May's list of new releases by Bay Area authors. "Creativity, Inc." by Ed Catmull, with Amy Wallace (Random House, $28, 330 pages) "When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are." Growing up in Salt Lake City, Ed Catmull eagerly awaited each week's Sunday broadcast of "The Wonderful World of Disney." He took the show's opening words to heart; Walt Disney became one of his lifelong heroes (Albert Einstein is the other). Years later, after earning a Ph.D. in computer science, Catmull co-founded, with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter, Pixar Animation Studios in 1986. The company produced 14 consecutive box-office hits, including "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo," and garnered 30 Academy Awards. Catmull, who lives in San Francisco, is now president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation. In "Creativity, Inc.," he discusses his role in building Pixar from unprofitable hardware company to major studio. He writes about his work with Lasseter and Jobs and outlines practical methods for setting goals, fostering teamwork, taking risks and protecting the creative process. "Originality is fragile," he writes, and his insights into nurturing new works ring true: "Creativity, Inc." contains a wealth of ideas about fusing innovation and industry. Catmull will read from the book at 7:30 a.m. June 11 in the Faculty Club at Stanford University.
"The Serpent of Venice" by Christopher Moore (William Morrow, $26.99, 336 pages) Shakespeare never envisioned Othello and Shylock popping in and out of each other's plays, but those characters -- along with Iago, Cassio, Brabantio and a bunch of other guys whose names end in "o" -- come face to face in Christopher Moore's latest merry mashup. Narrated by Pocket, the wisecracking hero of Moore's "Fool," the novel spins Shakespeare's "Othello" and "The Merchant of Venice," with bits of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," into a relentlessly punning, side-splitting farce. Moore, hip to the history and humor of Shakespeare's language, makes it all work. He will read from the book May 14 at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park. "Fridays at Enrico's" by Don Carpenter, finished and introduced by Jonathan Lethem (Counterpoint, $25, 352 pages) Here's a slice of Bay Area literary history. Don Carpenter, who was born in Berkeley in 1932, published 10 novels and established a career as a Hollywood screenwriter. His greatest claim to fame, however, may be his associations with the Beat poets and counterculture types he met in San Francisco during the 1950s and '60s. After starting -- and abandoning -- a biography of author Richard Brautigan, Carpenter began this novel about four aspiring writers. The story follows them to various West Coast sites -- San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, Sausalito and the San Fernando Valley -- and through diverse states of mind, from the exuberance of inspiration to the despair of rejection. Like Brautigan, Carpenter committed suicide. His death, in 1995, left "Fridays at Enrico's" unfinished. Best-selling author Jonathan Lethem completed the manuscript and supplied the introduction to this new volume. "Yosemite Adventures: 50 Spectacular Hikes, Climbs, and Winter Treks" by Matt Johanson (Triumph Books, $19.95, 256 pages) From Half Dome to Tuolumne Meadows, Castro Valley author, teacher and hiker Matt Johanson knows the ins and outs of Yosemite He brings 20 years of experience to this handy collection of maps, photos, and tips on the distance, difficulty and rewards of dozens of hikes. "The Dog Lover's Guide to Travel" by Kelly E. Carter (National Geographic, $22.95, 280 pages) Since 2001, San Francisco author Kelly E. Carter and her beloved Chihuahua, Lucy, have traveled together throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. In this essential guide, she covers 75 "pet-cation" destinations, with suggestions for dog-friendly activities, hotels, restaurants and events.
"Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues" by Joel Selvin (Counterpoint, $25, 320 pages) Remember "Twist and Shout"? How about "Piece of My Heart?" Those iconic rock songs, and many others, were composed by songwriter and record producer Bert Berns. In this fascinating new biography, longtime San Francisco music critic Joel Selvin tracks Berns' rise to power at Atlantic Records, his shady associations with the Mafia, his often contentious work with top artists and the factors that led to his death at the young age of 38. It's a detailed insider's look at 20th-century music.
Contact Georgia Rowe at email@example.com.