If you’re a true coffee lover like I am, I’m sure you get a kick out of discovering new brews. Nothing goes better with reading and writing than a good cup of java. In November I found Wicked Joe, a family owned coffee company that appears to be both socially conscious and Earth friendly. They offer several varieties. I tried their Wicked Italian (naturally!)—organic fair trade, whole bean, dark roast—and brewed it French press style as recommended. (Rating: Delish!)
While enjoying Wicked Joe’s delizioso Italian dark roast, you might as well pair it with some savory Jewish folk tales. Jonathon Keats delves into ancient Jewish lore in The Book of the Unknown: Tales of the Thirty-Six. You won’t need a course in Judaism 101 to get a kick out of these short fantasy tales of unruly magic and the truly bizarre. Just an open mind, a vivid imagination, and a willingness to suspend all manner of disbelief.
(Rating: Great fun!)
No book could be more timely than Omar El Akkad’s American War, offering a speculative glimpse into the next American Civil War (circa 2074). What will become of our society if we can’t put an end to our anger, hatred, and divisiveness? Akkad’s extrapolation, frightening as it is, is probably not the worst case scenario. If you’ve been following the decline of American politics and civil discourse lo these recent years, this novel won’t make you feel any better about it, but it’s a thought-provoking journey nonetheless.
(Rating: Go there if you dare!)
October gave me two great books. First, hats off to Mary Shelley and the 200th anniversary of the novel Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus. If you haven’t read the book in a long time, get the recent Penguin edition that reprints the original 1818 text with a new intro. Then, as a companion piece, watch the National Theatre’s live stage play on the big screen, Frankenstein, 2018 Encore. I saw it with friends at The Little Theatre during my visit upstate. You might need to hunt around for a theater that’s showing it, but it will be worth the effort. Promise!
I became a Michael Connelly fan a few years ago, and he’s now my favorite working writer of detective fiction. I’ve been knocking off his books in no particular order. I recently read The Concrete Blonde, a Harry Bosch novel, the third if you’re counting (originally pubbed in 1994). It’s one of the best I’ve read in the series so far. If you aren’t familiar with Connelly, check out his work, and read this exquisite feature piece in The Guardian.
One final note to my cherished few readers. Here are the ordering and social media links for the Nov/Dec F&SF where my Italian folktale “The Baron and His Floating Daughter” appears. It’s a great issue. Enjoy!
September 2018 has given me two great books to remember. One of them, Annex, is by my super talented science fiction pal Rich Larson.
The yoga book from DK has some surprisingly good vegetarian recipes and dietary advice in the back, along with tips on breathing and meditation. Like most yoga books I find, I try not to let all the poses I can’t do depress me. : /
Find il mio amico Rich Larson on tumblr!
I’m excited to be included with about 80 other authors in a new W.W. Norton anthology of super shorty-short stories titled New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction. No story in this collection exceeds 300 words. This is a fabulous book. A tasty gathering of microbrews!