Chicoan Gordon Greb, blessed with good health and self-deprecating wit in his late eighties, is emeritus professor of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at San Jose State University.
As a boy he wanted to be a cartoonist. As a young man he helped fight film censorship. As an older man he trained hundreds of students, practiced investigative journalism, quit smoking, toured China with his wife, Darlene, and indulged in a little Walter Mitty fantasy when a comely PBS reporter came to Chico a few years ago to feature him in an episode of "History's Mysteries."
Greb will be speaking Wednesday, April 14 at Lyon Books in Chico beginning at 7:00 p.m. He'll also be signing copies of his memoir, "Google Brain" ($19.95 in paperback from iUniverse).
Subtitled "Making Your Memories a 'Time Machine' on the Internet," the book's 32 chapters include links to songs (like "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"), films, interviews, columns by Greb, audio "actualities," and more. The "more" includes a YouTube video, "The Cold War Revisited - 1961" in which the author interviews a Russian girl about living in a society where the government spies on you. These links provide context for Greb's remembrances and are themselves collected online at dogatemymemoir.blogspot.com.
"Memoir writing," he writes, "is such a widespread and common affliction these days that it could easily be classified as some kind of disease." He adds: "I, too, am a victim of this Memoir Revolution. . . . Day after day I have had a persistent need to come clean, spill the whole works, and tell the world what normal people would only tell their psychiatrists." Greb divides the book into three sections. Growing up is the Id; his career takes him into Ego; and, as he reflects on his life, the Super Ego (conscience) helps readers connect with the man inside.
Greb is no stranger to strong liberal politics, yet his pointed observations are leavened with ample doses of humor, such as his diary of the life of an octogenerian. One entry reads: "7:30 a.m. Maybe one of us gets up. Then we spend a half-hour taking pills."
Want a fun book with some serious ideas? With "Google Brain," your search is over.