Beers ‘n’ Books on Omnivoracious: Delicious Pairings

(A couple of my novels accompanied by Todd Szuch’s Smashing Todd’s Ambergris Wartime Stout.)

I’ve just posted the first of two Amazon book blog posts interviewing authors about which beers they think go best with their books. In this first installment, you’ll find commentary on this important subject from Arianna Huffington, Michael Chabon, Karen Joy Fowler, Elizabeth Hand, Lauren Groff, Tim Lebbon, and many more. Installment #2 mostly focuses on dark beers and features Margo Lanagan, T.C. Boyle, James Morrow, Chip Kidd, Lydia Millet, etc. If you like the feature, please go comment on the Amazon blog or here, whatever you’d druther. All thoughts welcome.

Of course, step two will be for Ann and me to sample all of the beers while reading the books and to then report back, perhaps in video form…

Meanwhile, if you’re an author and have a photo of your book paired with a beer, send it to me as a web-quality jpeg (i.e., neither too low-res nor too high-res) to vanderworld at before Thursday morning and I’ll post the photos here on Thursday as well as link to the photos from the second half of the Amazon feature.

Swedish Public Radio on the Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals

(Image accompanying the audio link, Swedish Public Radio)

So the exchange between Ann and Evil Monkey about kosher/non-kosher imaginary animals, after being featured on Boing Boing, Bookslut, and others, is talked about on Swedish public radio, according to Henrik frÃ¥n Kvällspasset, who says: “We liked it so much–we did a story on it on Swedish Public Radio. But we got stuck on Ewok-soup. Great site!” Here’s the audio link (in Swedish). A cool-looking site! Wish I could read it!

There’s some talk now of turning the Guide into a slightly lengthier chapbook.

File Under: Stupidest Thing I’ve Read This Year

The anti-Wiscon? Free-love rampage? Empowering boob-athon? Maybe it is the end of the world, after all.


Bibliophile Stalker Interview

In which I’m interviewed by the Bibliophile Stalker

As a writer, what advice can you give to aspiring writers?
We live in uncertain times, and times in which we’re told fiction doesn’t mean anything, that we should just provide entertainment, with a kind of anti-intellectual streak to the discussion, a kind of “let’s beat the crap out of the smartest kid in the room” mentality. But ultimately if you’re not writing for yourself and because you believe that what you’re doing is in some way important—whether it’s just to convey something about a way of life you feel isn’t represented in fiction much or to recall a summer several years ago when you were in love, or whatever—then just don’t do it. There are easier ways to make money. And fiction does mean something, it is important, and entertainment is only one part of what fiction does. It’s only when we cynically tell ourselves it doesn’t that we make that reality come true.

Books Received–April 21 (can you say “various”?)

From beer to writing SF/Fantasy, art awards to fiction mags, it’s an idiosyncratic Monday!

Conversations with the Bookless: David Moles

In support of the short story, and specifically those talented writers who are currently “bookless,” which is to say those writers who are at that stage of their career where a collection or novel is a year or more away, I’m doing a new feature called Conversations with the Bookless, of which this is the latest installment. (See also: John Langan, Kelly Barnhill, Paul Jessup, Rachel Swirsky, Nathan Ballingrud, and [conducted by Rick Klaw] Paul O. Miles, Scott A. Cupp, and Chris Nakashima-Brown) The fact is, if you don’t have a book out, it’s harder to get attention and it’s harder for reader attention to crystalize around you. I hope these interviews introduce readers to some of the great talent that, in the coming years, will be amazingly and bountifully bookful.

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Hobbits May Be Kosher!

The debate continues on Evil Monkey’s Guide to Kosher Imaginary Animals, with this comment about hobbits. I am disallowing comments on this post only so that the full discussion will continue on the original post, because it’s been linked to throughout the blogosphere–thanks!

Joshua Zelinsky Says:
April 20, 2008 at 10:08 pm
The kashtrut of mythological creatures has been a pet issue of mine for sometime. I will take the time to point that this list is wrong about hobbits; sentience does not a priori make something not kosher. In fact humans are only not kosher due to a rabbinic prohibition. From a strictly torahdic perspective humans are kosher (the rabbis understandably decided this was ridiculous). This leads to a number of interesting issues like if a Jew is starving and has an option of eating a human corpse or a pig according to some opinions they should eat the corpse since that would entail breaking only a rabbinic commandment rather than one from the torah. (This has more practical consequences as well – if one is say cutting vegetables into a soup and you cut yourself and a drop of blood falls into the soup according to many opinions you don’t have to kasher the pot. However, if it were a drop of pig blood you would have to).

So the real question about whether hobbits are kosher is whether or not they are close enough to being human that they would fall under the rabbinic injunction making humans unkosher.

Tell Us About Your Life for Your First Book

Pursuant to this post, I’m officially shining a spotlight (flashlight?) out there on anyone bookless who wants to be bookful. (WHAT? You say you don’t want to be bookful? Well, then, just pretend!) This is your day to dream, the way I was dreaming before my first book came out. What do you want people to know about you? Seeing as Secret Lives is finally coming out in a month or so, one winning entry will get a copy of that book. Seems appropriate.

Funny, serious, over-the-top, minimalistic. But, it should be based on something vaguely true–after all, this is also a way for me to get to know the readers of this blog a little better. Post until Wednesday and when the dust clears, we’ll settle who won. (This isn’t really a case of one-upping each other, btw. I really want to know something unique and wonderful about you!)


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Just Another Working Saturday….

Ann: “How many liters of blood are there in the human body?”
Jeff: “I dunno. Eight?”
Ann: “Specifically in a child’s body. I need to know.”
Jeff: “Want me to look it up on the internet?”
Ann: “Please.”