Zia Summer by Rudolfo Anaya

Those of you who have followed my blog since its inception know of my great and abiding love for the works, and for he himself, the late, great Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya, and particularly, today's literary choice of Zia Summer. Rudy, as he was affectionately known, was not only someone I admired greatly, he was … Continue reading Zia Summer by Rudolfo Anaya

Episode 12 of “Cooking The Books” Podcast Now Available!

The latest episode of my podcast "Cooking The Books" just dropped and it's a good one! We're talking South American politics, poetry, and the joys of the humble and sensual tomato, so check it out at: https://anchor.fm/cookingthebooks/episodes/Pablo-Nerudas-Ode-to-Tomatoes-and-the-Sensual-Pleasures-of-Tuna-Stuffed-Tomatoes-eockfo https://anchor.fm/cookingthebooks/episodes/Pablo-Nerudas-Ode-to-Tomatoes-and-the-Sensual-Pleasures-of-Tuna-Stuffed-Tomatoes-eockfo

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-García

I'm as guilty as the next person of judging. I judge wine by the label on the bottle, musical artists by genre, and of course, books by their covers. In this case, can you blame me? The cover for Mexican Gothic is stunningly beautiful and hits me on all my levels: aesthetic, moody, mysterious, and … Continue reading Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-García

Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado

The connection between food and sex is one I looked at in one of my very first blog posts, which you can read here if you're so inclined. That connection is one of the major threads in this book, as well. In 1925 South America, Gabriela is a young woman from a terribly poor background … Continue reading Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado

The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I can't say enough about Carlos Ruiz Zafón's writing. It's absolutely beautiful, lyrical, lush without being overly purple, and whether describing the sensory overload of a roomful of books, the scent of tobacco, the deeply scarlet hue of a woman's lipstick, or the existential dread and horror of torture and death, the man writes like … Continue reading The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Ode to Tomatoes (A Poem) by Pablo Neruda

I don't know about you, but I've never been big on poetry. The rhythm and meters necessary to appropriately read poems just bog me down. I love hearing poetry read by someone who understands how it should be enunciated, but when I try to read poetry, either in my head or out loud, I sound … Continue reading Ode to Tomatoes (A Poem) by Pablo Neruda

Don’t Look Now by Daphne DuMaurier

Having had a long-time love affair with the books of Daphne DuMaurier, I was especially pleased to find a compilation of stories that included Don't Look Now. The story, set in Venice, which is my favorite city on earth, combines creepy supernatural elements with the gorgeous backdrop of La Serennissima. The basic story is a … Continue reading Don’t Look Now by Daphne DuMaurier

The Investigative Paranormal Society Cookbook by Charles French

French has a wonderful blog - here's the link - that I follow and enjoy so very much, in addition to his first book Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, which I blogged about last year. The book is the story of three older gentlemen who form a paranormal group and go ghost-hunting, only to find … Continue reading The Investigative Paranormal Society Cookbook by Charles French

The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols

At last, we are in New Mexico! My home state is written about beautifully in this classic, The Milagro Beanfield War. Set in the mythical village of Milagro (there is actually a Milagro, NM, but the real town is nothing like the book's version), it's the story of Joe Mondragón and his fight for water … Continue reading The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols

The Dead House by Billy O’Callaghan

What I found fascinating about The Dead House is the fact that it's narrated in first person by a character who is not the focus of the story, but whose own story is as much a part of the overall arc as the main character. Mike is an art dealer and his best friend is … Continue reading The Dead House by Billy O’Callaghan